Rep. Louise Slaughter, who passed away on March 16, represented my upstate New York district for over 30 years. I was a big financial supporter, and a great admirer. Louise kept her disarming Kentucky accent and her winning smile while having a spine of steel and a keen political sense underneath. She was also incredibly witty and funny. She was a strong and vocal proponent of women’s rights, including reproductive freedom. She was the one who insisted that Anita Hill had a right to speak to the Senate judiciary committee after the male members — including then Senator Joe Biden — ganged up to give Clarence Thomas a pass on his pornographic behavior with women. Louise was the first female chair of the House Rules Committee, and was instrumental along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi in getting the Affordable Care Act passed.
Republicans were constantly trying to redistrict Louise out of office. But she brought home tons of money for the major educational institutions in Rochester, and for projects that contributed to the public good. The mostly Republican male power brokers in upstate New York swallowed her feminism and kept going to her for money. She kept delivering.
Louise was a prodigious fund raiser, which you have to be to remain in Congress for decades. I’m supporting Dr. Kim Schreier for the 8th Congressional District here in Washington state. I told Kim that when elected, she should look up Louise for mentoring — a role that Louise played for countless elected and aspiring women in politics.
Louise was 88 when she died after suffering a concussion after a fall in her Washington D.C. home. She was planning to run again. I think she would have won.
Accolades are pouring in, every one deserved. She was a great lady, and may she rest in peace. Job well done.