Born in San Francisco, Feinstein graduated from Stanford University. In the 1960s she worked in city government, and in 1970 she was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. She served as the board's first female president in 1978, during which time the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk drew national attention to the city. Feinstein, who was the first to discover the shootings, succeeded Moscone as mayor. During her tenure as San Francisco's first female mayor she took a politically moderate stance, leading a revamp of the city's cable car system and overseeing the 1984 Democratic National Convention.
After a failed gubernatorial campaign in 1990, she won a 1992 special election to the U.S. Senate. Feinstein was first elected on the same ballot as her peer Barbara Boxer, and the two became California's first female U.S. Senators. Feinstein formerly chaired the Senate Rules Committee (2007 � 2009) and has chaired the Select Committee on Intelligence since 2009. She is also the first woman to have presided over a U.S. presidential inauguration.
She is currently twenty-second in seniority in the United States Senate.