Facing a crowd of cheering supporters, Dianne Feinstein took her oath of office in the Senate chamber on Tuesday afternoon, becoming the first Jewish woman to serve in the upper house of Congress.
Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) swore in the California Democrat, who was elected last week to a special two-year term, replacing Republican John Seymour.
Seymour had been appointed to fill the seat left open when his predecessor, Pete Wilson, became governor. But his tenure expired with last week’s general election.
At the ceremony here Tuesday, dozens of Feinstein’s supporters sat along the Senate wall usually reserved for staff members, and others filled the overlooking galleries. They burst into cheers, applause and a standing ovation after the oath, providing an enthusiasm rarely seen in the normally somber Senate chamber.
About 30 senators and U.S. representatives attended the ceremony, including fellow California Democratic Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, George Miller and Barbara Boxer.
Boxer, who is also Jewish, was elected to the other California Senate seat last week, but will not be sworn in until Jan. 5, along with the others elected to regular six-year terms.
Come January, California will not be the only state with an all-Jewish Senate delegation. With Russell Feingold’s defeat last week of incumbent Robert Kasten, Wisconsin now also has two Jewish senators, the other being Herbert Kohl. Both are Democrats.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.