16-Term New York Democrat Rep. Louise Slaughter Dies

Louise Slaughter, the first woman to head the Rules Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and the oldest member of Congress, died on Friday at the age of 88.

A microbiologist with a master's degree in public health, Slaughter moved to western NY with her husband in the 1950s and entered politics two decades later, after fighting to preserve a stand of beech-maple forest near their home in the Rochester suburbs. Slaughter had been hospitalized and treated for a concussion after falling at her home in the District, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Her progressive legacy in Congress ranges from landmark government ethics legislation to health care and historic legislation to prevent discrimination. My deepest sympathies go out to her family.

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.

Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who had represented Western New York in Congress since 1987, has died. The announcement of her death came just a day after Fitzsimmons backed Slaughter to make a recovery, calling her as "tough as nails". She later moved to Monticello as a child before receiving her master's degree at the University of Kentucky where she became a microbiologist.

Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

It took 14 years for Slaughter to pass the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which bans carriers and employers from using a person's family medical history showing hereditary illness to hire or fire.

They were married for 57 years, until Bob Slaughter's death in 2014.

A major fixture in Democratic politics, she was serving her 16th term in Congress. She was a founding member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, which promotes women's reproductive rights, and she co-authored the Violence Against Women Act, which was signed into law in 1994 as the first comprehensive law to address domestic violence and sexual assault against women, including the first federal criminal law against battering. "Although we sat on different sides of the aisle, I have always considered her a partner and have the utmost respect for her". The ferocity of her advocacy was matched only by the depth of her compassion and humanity. "May it be a source of comfort to Louise's three daughters, Megan, Amy and Emily, and her beloved grandchildren and great-grandchild, that so many around the country mourn with them".

  • Rogelio Becker