Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Rep. Louise Slaughter, Political 'Giant' and Trailblazer, Dies at 88

Rep. Louise Slaughter, Political 'Giant' and Trailblazer, Dies at 88

Rep. Louise Slaughter, a Democrat who represented the Rochester area in Congress since 1987, has died.

Slaughter was born in the small city of Lynch, Kentucky, which is in eastern Harlan County. Born in Kentucky, Slaughter moved to NY after gaining a master's degree in public health from the University of Kentucky. Two decades later in 2014, Slaughter declared that this was "one of the most important" accomplishments of her career, but she lamented that millions of Americans per year still experienced physical or sexual assault from their partner.

As the first woman to chair the House Rules Committee, Slaughter helped shepherd the Affordable Care Act, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act.

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Slaughter's chief of staff Liam Fitzsimmons said she died at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Earlier this week, Slaughter fell at her home and sustained a concussion.

Some in Kentucky are sending their thoughts upon the news of the congresswoman's death. She also helped write the Violence Against Women Act and a 2008 law created to protect people with genetic predispositions to health conditions from facing discrimination from their employers or health insurance companies.

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.

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Slaughter was elected to Congress in 1986.

"Paul and I are heartbroken by the passing of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter", Pelosi said in a statement. She was also at the forefront of women's issues, co-authoring the Violence Against Women Act and founding the Congressional Pro-Choice caucus. "But really, the things that I keep coming back to is how she was tough, but unfailingly gracious".

"She was a relentless fighter for families in Monroe County and across the nation", her office said in a statement.

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"It was my great privilege to serve with her and to benefit from her friendship and wise counsel for 30 years", Pelosi said. Redistricting in 2012 dramatically altered Slaughter's district, fueling speculation that she might retire. Slaughter won the re-election contest by roughly 15 points. She is survived by three daughters - Megan, Amy and Emily, as well as seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

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