Rep. Louise Slaughter, who had served in Congress since 1987, died on Friday at George Washington University Hospital. Slaughter had been hospitalized and treated for a concussion after falling at her home in Washington D.C.
The Democrat who was the representative of NY’s 25th district was 88 years old. Slaughter served the Rochester area for 15 terms and was the oldest sitting member of Congress.
A microbiologist with a master’s in public health, she was born in Kentucky and received her undergraduate and master’s degree at the University of Kentucky. Slaughter moved to New York in the ’50s, where she became increasingly concerned with local political and community issues.
In the ’70s, Slaughter decided to run for the Monroe County Legislature, winning on her third try. For the next decade, she moved from the county legislature to a regional coordinator of the Rochester area, then the New York State Assembly.
After four years in the state assembly, Slaughter ran for the Democratic nomination in New York’s 30th congressional district (now the 25th district). In 1986, she defeated the Republican incumbent by 1 point and became the first Democrat to represent the 30th District since 1910. She also became the first woman to represent Western New York.
Slaughter would hold the seat for over 30 years until her passing on Friday.
via The Washington Post
“She’s sort of a combination of Southern charm and back-room politics, a Southern belle with a cigar in her mouth,” Jane Danowitz, executive director of the Women’s Campaign Fund, told The Post in 1992.
Her hospitalization, she joked to the New York Times, had even given her an idea for a new campaign slogan: “Vote Louise. She has a leg up.”