(b. San Francisco, 22 June 1933)
US; Mayor of San Francisco 1978–88, US Senator 1992– Feinstein was educated at Stanford University and is a criminologist by training. She was appointed to the California Parole Board 1960–6, before becoming a member of the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors. From 1970–1 she was president of the Board of Supervisors, a post she occupied again from 1974 to 1975 and in 1978. As a moderate she backed stronger law and order measures. She was able to combine this stance with more liberal views on lifestyle issues, though she has annoyed both gay and feminist groups on occasion. In 1978, she became mayor following the murder of Harvey Moscone and served for his expired term plus two full terms of her own, a period in which she displayed political skill and a high degree of administrative competence.
In 1990 Feinstein entered the gubernatorial race against Pete Wilson but was narrowly defeated. In 1992 she successfully ran for the unexpired portion of Wilson's Senate term and held the seat in 1994 against the challenge of the wealthy Michael Huffington in one of the United States' most expensive Senate campaigns. She has since been re-elected in 2000 and 2006.
Feinstein's political experience in state and local politics as well as in the Senate makes her one of the most visible female politicians in United States and a possible Democratic contender for the governorship of California in 2010.