Connections: Remembering Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

Bill Clark  CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
Louise Slaughter was first elected to Congress in 1986. She died Friday

Bill Clark CQ Roll Call via Getty Images Louise Slaughter was first elected to Congress in 1986. She died Friday

She was the oldest sitting member of Congress, and was first elected to Congress in 1986.

- An aide to Rep. Louise Slaughter says the 88-year old Democratic congresswoman from upstate NY has died.

After House Democrats won the majority in the 2006 midterm election, Slaughter became the first woman to chair the powerful House Rules Committee.

"To have met Louise Slaughter is to have known a force of nature", Slaughter's chief of staff Liam Fitzsimmons said in a statement. They were married for 57 years. "She was simply great", Ryan said in a statement.

"I turned down an offer to intern for Senator (Ted) Kennedy in order to work for Louise because I thought I would get more responsibility and be closer to the action, and I was right", Hurwitz said. To me, that is the essence of great public service.

"There's no monolithic way that women respond to this", she said at the time, referring to the harassment allegations. "From her leadership on issues from marriage equality to comprehensive nondiscrimination protections, Representative Slaughter fought arm in arm with our community every day". And of course, she loved NTID and we loved her. "Today we set aside politics to celebrate the life of Congresswoman Slaughter".

Slaughter had a degree in microbiology and was originally from Harlan County, Kentucky, and her soft, twangy accent always seemed out of place for someone representing a western NY district.

Slaughter described herself as the only microbiologist on Capitol Hill, and in recent years fought to establish stringent restrictions on the use of antibiotics in healthy cattle - a leading factor, she argued, in the rise of drug-resistant bacteria.

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State leaders are offering their condolences for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who died suddenly Friday at the age of 88, following a fall at her home. She was a distinguished and dedicated public servant who represented the Rochester region with grace, intelligence and integrity. In 2009, she secured the recall and replacement of 16,000 pieces of unsafe body armor from the front lines. Her unwavering commitment to the people and prosperity of our region was truly admirable.

"She brought harmony into the most raucous relationships", she said. "Her wit, passion, and depth of experience will be greatly missed in our Caucus". The Congressman played a role in restoring the history of Susan B. Anthony in Rochester and making sure there was a trail to celebrate women's history in Western New York.

Bernard Hurwitz, associate vice president of RIT for NTID Administration, served as an intern in her office in 1989, during his third year of college. "She was unrelenting in fighting for her ideas and the people back home in Western New York".

In a statement his office issued, U.S. Representative John Katko (R-Camillus) said he is "incredibly saddened" to hear of Slaughter's death.

"As Dean of the New York Congressional Delegation, her tireless leadership was invaluable to expand access to affordable education".

Say and Anderson were both from the Rochester, New York, area.

Slaughter was born in Harlan County, Kentucky. The district lost territory near Buffalo, added most of Monroe County and was renumbered as the 25th District.

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