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"A role model to young women": California leaders reflect on Sen. Dianne Feinstein's legacy

Sacramento-area politicians remember Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Sacramento-area politicians remember Sen. Dianne Feinstein 02:18

SACRAMENTO – Across the Golden State, many elected leaders paid tribute to the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died at her home in Washington on Thursday night. She was 90.

In a rare showing of unity, lawmakers from across the aisle are also offering their condolences.

In 1978, the world came to know the public servant upon announcing the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. She immediately became the city's acting mayor.

The history-maker later stormed the national stage by winning a senate seat alongside former Sen. Barbara Boxer.

While many knew her as a trailblazer, some referred to her as a friend such as Mayor Darrell Steinberg. Their paths crossed during his time as Senate President pro-Tempore in the California legislature while they worked on water conservation.

The late senator helped shape California's politics. Despite being a national figure, her influence was also seen in Sacramento.

"She's a role model to young women," Steinberg said. "Not only can you lead, but you have the responsibility to step and lead as well."

The current political climate is searing hot. Yet, Feinstein's passing cooled tensions within a divisive Congress. 

"I believe at the end of the day, the trailblazer of the first woman-elected mayor — even coming from a different party — inspired women both sides of the aisle to seek elected office," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said.

In the backdrop of her death, a looming federal government shutdown hovers over Washington, D.C., which is something Feinstein wanted to avoid. 

Thursday marked her final senate roll call. Now, elected leaders are calling for unity to keep the government funded. 

"Let's do this for the American people," Rep. Ami Bera, a Democrat representing Sacramento, said.  "Let's do this for the memory of Sen. Feinstein because nobody wins in a government shutdown."

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