Dianne Feinstein

Democratic senator from California
Born: 6/22/1933
Birthplace: San Francisco

California's senior senator is known for her no-nonsense, bipartisan approach enacting legislation. She has taken a hard line against crime, having sponsored 1994's Assault Weapons Ban, which forbids the manufacture and sale of 19 kinds of military-style assault weapons, and the Gun-Free Schools Act, which demands that public schools expel any student who is caught with a gun at school. She serves on the Senate Judiciary, Appropriations, and Rules and Administration committees.

Feinstein entered politics at age 27, when she was appointed to California's women's parole board in 1960. She served on the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors for nine years, beginning in 1969, and was the board's first woman president. She became mayor of the city in 1978, after the assassination of George Moscone. Feinstein was elected mayor in 1979, and reelected four years later. She took the helm during one of the city's most turbulent periods and is credited with revitalizing San Francisco's troubled economy and reducing the crime rate by nearly 30 percent.

After an unsuccessful bid for governor in 1990, she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 to complete the final two years of Pete Wilson's term. (He resigned to become the state's governor.) She was reelected in 1994 and again in 2000.

Feinstein graduated from Stanford University in 1955, with a degree in history. She is married to Richard Blum and has one daughter and three stepdaughters.