Dianne Feinstein, the nation’s longest-serving female member of Congress, whose decades of activism shaped policy from gun safety to issues related to torture and terrorism in the post-9/11 world, died this week. Feinstein, a Democrat, was 90 years old, and the oldest member of Congress. She’d been in ill health in the months prior to her death, but continued serving out the remainder of her Senate term.
Northeastern political science faculty note that Feinstein will be remembered as an ardent defender of human rights, a staunch advocate for gun reform, and a pioneer who blazed a trail for women in politics for generations to come. “I find that ‘trailblazer’ is certainly an accurate description of her,” says Daniel Aldrich, a Northeastern professor, director of the university’s Security and Resilience Program and co-director at the Global Resilience Institute.