The United States Congress lost one of its esteemed members after Rep. Dorothy Louise M. Slaughter passed away on Friday. The veteran congresswoman suffered a concussion after a fall a week earlier. Slaughter was 88 when she died.
Slaughter was confined at George Washington University Hospital when the liberal Democrat succumbed to an injury sustained from a fall in her home last week, as announced by her chief of staff Liam Fitzsimons, Time reported. According to Fitzsimmons, doctors have been monitoring her condition since the accident.
Slaughter was one of the most accomplished and long-tenured members of the U.S. Congress. At 88-years-old, she was the oldest member of the House at the time of her death. Slaughter has been a congresswoman for 16 terms. She has won every election handily except in 2014 when she won the seat for House District 25 by only 871 votes over Republican candidate Mark Assini. Slaughter got 50.2 percent of the votes against her rival’s 49.8 percent, according to New York Times.
Slaughter served in the U.S. Congress for a total of 31 years, the third longest tenure in the House’s history. She first served as U.S. representative in 1987. Prior to that, Slaughter was elected to the Monroe County Legislature in 1975 and the New York State Assembly in 1984.
Slaughter holds the distinction of being the first woman to become chairperson of the House Rules Committee, which she led from 2007 to 2010. The committee was formally constituted in 1789.
Slaughter is best known as an advocate for women’s rights. The congresswoman founded the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus to help promote women’s reproductive rights. She was also one of the authors of the Violence Against Women Act, which has been protecting women against domestic violence and sexual assault since 1994.
Among the laws Slaughter passed during her career is the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which aimed to ban discrimination by employers and health insurers based on a person’s genetic information. The congresswoman proposed the bill in 1995 but was only enacted in 2008 thanks to her persistence.
Slaughter also authored the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act or STOCK Act, which prohibited members of Congress and government employees from engaging in insider trading using non-public information.
Slaughter also fought against the use of antibiotics to quicken the growth of livestock particularly pigs, cattle, and chicken. The congresswoman may also be credited for saving the lives of U.S. soldiers after she asked the Department of Defense to look into the controversy of faulty body armor that led to fatalities.
“Louise was a trailblazer,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a close friend of the late congresswoman. “Her strong example inspired countless young women to know their power, and seek their rightful place at the head of the decision-making table. She took great pride in representing the area around the historic Seneca Falls Convention, and embraced the future with her forceful engagement on social media.”
Other politicians, including Vice President Mike Pence, turned to social media to offer their condolences for the loss of Slaughter. U.S. President Donald Trump, however, has yet to comment on her death on Twitter, as of this writing.
“Louise never forgot her roots as the daughter of a Kentucky blacksmith,” Pelosi said. “She brought the grace and grit of her Southern background to her leadership in the Congress, building bridges and breaking down barriers all with her beautiful accent. Louise could be fiercely debating on the floor in the morning, and singing in harmony with her colleagues across the aisle in the evening.”
The Lynch native earned degrees in microbiology and public health from the University of Kentucky. The congresswoman moved to New York after marrying Bob Slaughter in 1957. The couple settled in Rochester. Slaughter is survived by daughters Megan, Amy, and Robin. Her husband passed away in 2014.