SBE Remembers Senator Dianne Feinstein
By Leslie Ann McMillan
To the people of San Francisco, Dianne Feinstein was an elected supervisor for nine years, then the city’s trailblazing first woman mayor for another nine years.
To the people of California, Dianne Feinstein was the state’s first woman United States senator, serving for more than thirty years—longer than any previous senator from California, and longer than any other woman in senate history.
To the people of the United States, Dianne Feinstein was a respected senator who championed the Democratic party’s key issues as the chair or a member of various senate committees throughout the decades.
During her fifty years of public service as an elected official, until the day of her recent passing at age ninety, Senator Feinstein was also known as a leader who sought to work with people of differing political views in order to solve problems and accomplish significant public policy goals. Among the many bipartisan issues that Senator Feinstein cooperated across the aisle to address were matters of national security, crime, justice, natural resources, environmental protection, and immigration.
To Small Business Exchange (SBE), founded in San Francisco in 1984, Dianne Feinstein was an active, accessible, caring mayor who visited every neighborhood and attended countless events. Mayor Feinstein tackled tough issues. She also provided steady support to the concerns that continue to motivate SBE’s service to small, disadvantaged businesses from coast to coast.
In October 1995, Senator Feinstein sent a kind letter to Gerald Johnson, who is the co-founder of SBE, along with his wife and business partner, Valerie Voorhies Johnson. Senator Feinstein wrote:
I am pleased to join the Black Business Association in recognizing and congratulating you for being honored with the Outstanding Entrepreneur Award.
Your work as the founder of the Black Business Administration in San Francisco and as an advocate for minority contractors in the public and private sector has been truly inspirational. The doors that you have helped to open for African Americans in the contracting business has helped pave the way for future leaders to follow.
Everyone has benefitted from your hard work and dedication and I commend you on receiving this prestigious honor and wish you all the best in 1995 and in the years ahead.
With warmest regards,
United States Senator
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