Longtime Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter, who represented New York districts for more than three decades, died early Friday of injuries sustained in a fall last week at her Washington, D.C., home, her chief of staff announced. Slaughter was 88 years old.
Slaughter, who has represented the 25th district since 2013, was surrounded by family at the time of her death, Chief of Staff Liam Fitzsimmons said in a statement. She first took office in 1987, representing the 30th district, then was elected to represent the 28th district in 1993 before taking her final post in the 25th district.
One of the longest serving Democrats in the House, Slaughter became the first woman to chair the powerful House Rules Committee since it was formally constituted in 1789 and was serving as the Democrats' ranking member. She fought tirelessly for families in Monroe County and across the nation, authoring the landmark Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, among other accomplishments.
"Louise was a trailblazer," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "Her strong example inspired countless young women to know their power, and seek their rightful place at the head of the decision-making table."
Slaughter, who was the dean of the New York congressional delegation, was serving her 16th congressional term.
Fitzsimmons described her as a "force of nature."
"She was a relentless advocate for western New York whose visionary leadership brought infrastructure upgrades, technology and research investments, and two federal manufacturing institutes to Rochester that will transform the local economy for generations to come. As the first chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, Louise blazed a path that many women continue to follow," Fitzsimmons said. "It is difficult to find a segment of society that Louise didn’t help shape over the course of more than thirty years in Congress, from health care to genetic nondiscrimination to historic ethics reforms. The Slaughter family is incredibly grateful for all the support during this difficult time."
Details on funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time.
Slaughter was born in Harlan County, Kentucky, and graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor's degree in microbiology and a master's in public health. After graduate school, she and her husband, Robert “Bob” Slaughter, moved to the village of Fairport, New York.
She and Bob were married for 57 years, until his passing in 2014. They had three daughters, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Before she was elected to Congress, Slaughter served in the New York State Assembly from 1982 to 1986 and the Monroe County Legislature between 1976 and 1979. While holding elected office, she was regional coordinator to Mario Cuomo from 1976 to 1978 while he served as secretary of state and from 1979 to 1982 while he served as lieutenant governor.