FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Members of Congress and the State of California are mourning the loss of long-time California Senator Dianne Feinstein, sharing fond memories of her and her contributions to the Central Valley – including Central Valley-area Congressman David Valadao.

“Senator Feinstein was truly a huge personality, a huge person for the state of California. I mean obviously, we’ve all had our disagreements with people in politics over our careers but Senator Feinstein from the very beginning when I came to Congress was always someone who was open and gracious and willing to talk,” said Congressman Valadao.

Feinstein served three decades as a senator from California. Prior to that, she was a former mayor of San Francisco and is the longest-serving member of the Senate Democratic Conference and during her Senate tenure, she left a mark on a range of issues, including national security and gun control.

Valadao added that losing Feinstein is truly a sad day for our state and our nation.

“She’s a member we’ll never forget and we obviously have her and her family in our thoughts and prayers,” said Valadao.

While Feinstein was affiliated with the Democrat party, Valadao says she never let that keep her from listening to both sides and creating unity instead of division.

“Water is such a controversial topic for us in California and we would reach out and her staff would tell us ‘just come over at the end of the day’ and we would show up and she would open a bottle of wine and we’d sit in her office and talk about issues and her staff was always really open and gracious to deal with as well, but you didn’t have that type of relationship with a lot of other members or a lot of other people and for her to be your Senator and a senior Senator at that, to take that amount of time, we were able to accomplish some great things,” said Valadao.

Valadao also shared that the WIIN Act was one of those big accomplishments that Feinstein was part of.

“The WIIN Act for us in the Central Valley is something that has actually made some real differences, gotten some water projects done, and actually helped move some water into our communities and that was something that was done only because Senator Feinstein played a vital role in that and we were able to get that across and sign it,” said Valadao.

Senator Feinstein passed away at her home in Washington, D.C., Thursday night, at the age of 90, only hours after casting the last vote of her long career: a “yes” on the motion to proceed to a funding bill to keep the government from shutting down.