WATCH: Padilla Delivers Floor Remarks Honoring Feinstein
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) delivered floor remarks honoring the life and legacy of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. In his remarks, Padilla paid tribute to her leadership, her grace, and her unparalleled dedication and contributions to California and the United States. Padilla also remembered the special memories he had of her, including the moments he shared with her after she escorted him into the Senate chamber to be sworn in to the United States Senate for the first time in 2021.
Video of Padilla’s full remarks can be found here.
A full transcript of his remarks as delivered can be found here.
- As we’ve been hearing today, she was a towering figure. But to be clear, she was a towering figure, not just in modern California history, but in the history of our state and our nation. Yes, she broke barriers throughout her career. You’ve heard about that from Leader Schumer. How many firsts? Her leadership though as the City of San Francisco’s first female mayor, in the aftermath of the tragic assassination of Mayor George Moscone, and supervisor Harvey Milk, showcase her unique ability to lead with grace and strength in the face of adversity. And it wouldn’t be her last time.
- Now long before being able to serve together here in the Senate, Dianne gave me one of my first jobs in politics in her Los Angeles office. At a time early in my career, when I was looking to make a difference for my community, and for our state. It’s in part thanks to her groundbreaking career that a Latino son of immigrants could one day not just work for her, but work alongside her to keep up the fight for the American Dream.
- For the decades of a relationship that we had, every time I came to Washington, I made it a point to reach out at a minimum, we’d call a lot of times, a quick meeting in her office, and I always came away with something. More often than not it was a book, she has quite a library, read her collection.
- I too, Senator Collins, have a watercolor [painting]. It’s hanging at home in Los Angeles. My wife’s favorite. So I don’t have it here to display. What I do have though, is a photo that she said, from back in the day, that she sent me just a year ago, periodically going through her files her archives, a picture from the San Francisco AIDS Walk in 1987 — but personalized, no auto pen here, personal note from Senator Feinstein.
- The last story I’ll share, which I do think is unique. Another example of her generosity is the day I was sworn into the Senate in 2021, under the most trying of circumstances, COVID, pre-vaccine, two weeks after January 6. 40,000 National Guardswomen and men on the perimeter of a fenced off Capitol Complex. She honored me by escorting me, down the center aisle, to the rostrum, stood behind me as I was sworn in. Big day for me. Tough day not having Angela and my boys by my side. As soon as votes were over, session was over, she grabbed me by the hand. She said come with me.
- Sorry, not sorry to say that I had staff interviews lined up. We marched right past reporters to her hideaway. Immediately wanted to continue the dialogue of “How can I help you? How can I help you?” Mustered up a little bit of courage and said, “Dianne, I love you, but I want to call my wife. I’ve just been sworn into the Senate.” So, I call my wife, Angela answers, we immediately start FaceTiming each other. We’re by the window, so I can make sure the signal doesn’t drop. And my boys are there. And Dianne says, “Give me the phone.”
- I’ve just been sworn into United States Senate, and I’m watching Senator Feinstein FaceTime with my kids. “So proud of your dad. When are you coming to Washington. I will buy you lunch.” That was Dianne Feinstein. May she rest in peace, and may her legacy continue to inspire us all.