Louise Slaughter, 'Trailblazer' In Congress, Dies At 88

UNITED STATES- JULY 28 From left New York Reps. Gregory Meeks Joe Crowley Louise Slaughter Paul Tonko and Nydia Velazquez cheer on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Pa. on the final night of the Democratic National Convention

The first woman to ever chair the powerful House Rules Committee, she used her leadership position to fight for women and working families in NY and across the country.

She was 88 and the oldest sitting member of Congress.

Congresswoman Slaughter's impact on Buffalo, her beloved home city of Rochester, and all of Western New York will be felt for generations. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor's degree in microbiology and a master's degree in public health.

She combined both her educational background, boasting her position as the only microbiologist in Congress, and the status of being a leading female voice in the House in much of the legislation she advocated for. And her energy and passion inspired us to think big, helping spur Rochester to become a national center for photonics, manufacturing, sustainability and other scientific research.

Just a few years before, she was in the group of congresswomen who marched over to the Senate and demanded that it delay confirming Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court because of sexual harassment allegations from Anita Hill. "Before we took action, it was standard practice to provide health care based on research that excluded more than half of the world's population". Slaughter had been hospitalized for a concussion after falling at her Washington residence last week.

Congresswoman Slaughter has been a champion for the LGBTQ community her entire career.

She was elected to Congress in 1986 after having served in the New York State Assembly for four years and the Monroe County Legislature for three years before that.

UNITED STATES- JANUARY 15 From left Rep. Judy Chu D-Calif. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton D-D.C. and Rep. Louise Slaughter D-N.Y. co-chairwoman of the Pro Choice Caucus participate in a news conference outside of the House Judiciary Committee on Wed
Pelosi Statement on the Passing of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

'Louise could be fiercely debating on the floor in the morning, and singing in harmony with her colleagues across the aisle in the evening'. Using an idiom she may have drawn from her upbringing in Kentucky, she replied calmly, "I appreciate that you're the bluebird of happiness".

"Her tireless leadership was invaluable to passing legislation to expand access to affordable, high-quality healthcare and to help young people climb the ladders of opportunity with a good education". She is one of the longest-serving Democrats in Congress.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, a Democrat who represented the Rochester area for more than 30 years, died on Friday. According to the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, she was doing market research for a major chemicals manufacturer in Texas in the 1950s when she met OH native Robert "Bob" Slaughter.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), right, photographed alongside House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on January 5, 2017.

Her legislative accomplishments include co-authoring the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which passed in 2008, and prohibits individuals from genetic discrimination in health insurance and employment. "May it be a comfort to her family to know that so many around the country mourn with them".

Funeral arrangements haven't been announced.

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