USOAS Political CounselorTom Lersten
October 2, 2023
Thank you Chair, for your remarks on the passing of a true American pioneer and a dedicated public servant, Senator Dianne Feinstein. President Biden aptly described her as a trailblazer, and indeed, her legacy will be etched in our country’s history.
Senator Feinstein’s journey began in San Francisco, where she displayed remarkable poise and courage in the face of adversity, ultimately becoming a powerful advocate for the values upon which my country was founded. Her indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment were exemplified in her leadership, particularly in her crusade to ban assault weapons—a testament to her skillful legislating and sheer force of will.
Throughout a storied career, Senator Feinstein left an indelible mark on issues ranging from national security to environmental protection and the safeguarding of civil liberties. Her leadership extended beyond the Senate chamber as she generously mentored countless public servants, paving the way for a new generation of leaders who now serve in various capacities, including within the current Biden Administration.
Mr. Chair, Dianne Feinstein was not just a trailblazer but a role model for many, especially young women, who saw in her a beacon of hope and opportunity. She shattered glass ceilings, demonstrated resilience, and consistently championed justice for all. In her capacity as the longest-serving female Senator, she embodied dedication, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to the betterment of our nation.
Her contributions to national security, LGBTI rights, and women’s rights have left an indelible mark on the legislative landscape. And yet, Senator Feinstein’s impact extended beyond our borders, as evidenced by her work on international narcotics control and her dedication to the security challenges in the Caribbean. Her 2012 report, “Preventing a Security Crisis in the Caribbean,” highlighted the importance of addressing drug trafficking and violence in the region, underlining her commitment to supporting our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere.
She also was a strong advocate for close ties with Mexico, a neighbor of the state she loved and served for decades. Her unwavering support of Haitian counternarcotic efforts and her tireless work on immigration issues, particularly her commitment to protecting immigrant children and advocating for comprehensive immigration reform, further demonstrated her dedication to humanitarian causes.
Chair and colleagues, thank you all for joining my country in honoring a mentor and a champion of justice. Her legacy will continue to inspire us to work together and pursue the principles of dedication, integrity, and commitment. Senator Feinstein’s legacy will continue to inspire us all as we strive for a more just and equitable hemisphere.
Thank you very much.