"Future generations will mark this morning as the turning point for real and necessary change in our nation," said California Senator Diane Feinstein during a welcoming speech Tuesday as chair of the inauguration ceremonies for 44th U.S. President Barack Obama.
"Remember this," she told the audience, "as the moment when the dream that once echoed across history, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, finally reached the White House."
In her role as chairperson, Feinstein was responsible for everything related to the day's program, including the lunchtime meal. The ceremony, she told reporters, was a carefully orchestrated event since "the president has to take the oath of office before noon."
Lunch included, seafood stew, pheasant, duck, molasses sweet potatoes and apple cinnamon sponge cake.
"This nation is in good hands," Feinstein said during a champaign toast at the meal. We salute you, Mr. President."
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) plans and executes all Inaugural activities at the United States Capitol, including the Inaugural swearing-in ceremony of the President and Vice President of the United States and the traditional Inaugural luncheon that follows, according to their website.
Upon passage of a concurrent resolution, the JCCIC is established and the members appointed. The Vice President appoints Senators and the Speaker of the House of Representatives appoints House members. The JCCIC is usually comprised of the Senate Majority Leader (at the time of appointment), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Majority and Minority Leaders of the House of Representatives.
Feinstein is the first Californian and the first woman to receive the assignment.
She is also a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and currently serves as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Interior Department and Related Agencies. Feinstein is a member of the Subcommittees on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, and Science; Defense; Energy & Water; and Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.
In addition to her official committee assignments, Senator Feinstein is also a member of several organizations and associations. Among her many affiliations, she serves as Co-Chair of the Senate Cancer Coalition, the Anti-Meth Caucus, the Congressional Dairy Caucus and the Congressional Former Mayors Caucus. She has served as a member of the Aspen Strategy Group since 1997.