‘Age alone’ should not dominate the decision for older politicians to resign

At the age of 90, California Senator Dianne Feinstein has died. In recent months, many of her colleagues had called for the Senator to step down due to her declining health.

Elizabeth Sanders, professor emerita at Cornell University, is an American politics and government expert. She says we need to recognize and remember Feinstein’s abilities and intelligence, but that it’s also time for older politicians to begin considering the length of their careers.

Sanders says: “I think the common observation, at least for women, will be that Feinstein was a very smart and principled woman politician. We should look at her whole long life and recognize her strong abilities and intelligence, and the blessing to women created by having such a smart and principled congressional official.

“Shingles, however, is an awful disease and may have made careful thinking very difficult. It’s time for older politicians to talk about when and why to consider resignation, but age alone should not dominate the decision! There are advantages (in knowledge, experience, breadth) to age that we shouldn’t forget.”

For interviews contact Damien Sharp: cell, (540) 222-8208, drs395@cornell.edu.

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The U.S. Senate chamber (blue carpet, yellow walls) with the Senators seated at their deks
Senate Photo Studio/public domain Class photo of the 111th United States Senate inside the chamber, 2010