17 March, 2018
Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, the first female chair of the House Rules Committee and one of the longest-serving Democrats in Congress, died Friday at age 88, her office announced.
Slaughter served in Congress in 1987 and represented the Rochester area of NY. She was one of only 67 Members of Congress to vote against the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, earned a flawless 100 score on HRC's most recent Congressional Scorecard, and spoke out strongly against Donald Trump's attempts to implement a transgender military ban.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who visited Slaughter at George Washington University Hospital on Thursday, called her "a trailblazer". Louise was a fearless leader, deeply committed to her constituents, and a dear friend.
But she is more likely to be remembered both for her legislative legacy and her feisty fight for progressive values, delivered on the House floor and in the Capitol hallways in a lilting drawl that echoed of her native Kentucky.
Likewise, many of Slaughter's other colleagues - including House Speaker Paul Ryan, who described the Democratic congresswoman as "tough" and "unfailingly gracious" - paid tribute to her on Twitter. However, Slaughter did break ranks with her fellow Democrats on a number of issues, specifically with her vote against the North America Free Trade Agreement. She received a bachelor's degree in microbiology and a master's degree in public health from the University of Kentucky.More news: Kentucky basketball: 5 rushed reactions vs. Georgia in SEC Tournament
"For 25 years, the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) has improved the lives of women across the country and improved the way our nation conducts biomedical research", she said when marking the 25th anniversary of the office in 2015.
After graduate school, she and her husband, Robert "Bob" Slaughter, moved to the village of Fairport, N.Y. Together they had three daughters, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Slaughter served the Rochester area in Congress for 15 terms and planned a run for a 16th term this year. She was the only woman to hold that position and remained the committee's ranking minority member at the time of her death.
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.
Among the legislation she co-authored was 1994's landmark Violence Against Women Act. "Although we sat on different sides of the aisle, I have always considered her a partner and have the utmost respect for her".