Boxer told News Channel 3's Peter Daut when she heard the news Friday morning that 90-year-old Feinstein had died, she was stunned.
"It's hard for me to imagine politics without her in it. We came up to the Senate together in 1992. We made history together and worked together on so many things. It's not surprising or shocking on the one hand because she wasn't well, but on the other hand, it stuns you to think she's not going to be there."
The two remained in contact throughout the years following Boxer's retirement six years ago and had just spoken on the phone last month. She said Feinstein held onto the Senate seat, despite health challenges, because she viewed it as a calling.
"She was a role model for men and women, showing that doing this work is an honor and a privilege and a responsibility and loving it. And putting one foot in front of the other, even when she wasn't well, even when she was feeling terrible, and still working for the people."