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NY Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter Was Everything We Wish All Politicians Could Be. She Will Be Deeply Missed.


louise slaughter, congress, died

New York’s Louise Slaughter passed away this morning after being hospitalized due to a fall last week in which she suffered a concussion. The 88-year-old Democrat was serving her 16th consecutive term in the House of Representatives.

Slaughter was a trailblazing, ceiling-breaking politician. She was the first female chairperson and, at the time of her death, the ranking member of House Committee on Rules. She fought against the bigoted Defense of Marriage Act and was one of only 67 members of Congress to vote against DOMA in 1996. She held a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and a Master’s in Public Health. According to her House biography, she was the only microbiologist in Congress. She authored the Genetic Information and Non-Discrimination Act, which was described by Ted Kennedy as the “first civil rights legislation of the 21st Century.” She also secured the first $500 million in federal funding for breast cancer research at the National Institute of Health.

Slaughter famously co-authored the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, which not only changed our national conversation around issues of domestic violence, but saw a 67% drop in DV after its passage. She later fought to expand the law’s protection of Native Americans, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ people. On the 20th anniversary of the law’s passing, she said, “Almost two million Americans are still physically assaulted, sexually assaulted, or stalked by an intimate partner every year. I won’t stop fighting until that number is zero.”

Slaughter was the kind of person we wish all politicians could be. A fighter for the public good, committed to her constituents, who entered politics to make a real difference, and was never corrupted away from that goal. According to her colleagues, she was also the warmest, kindest, smartest, funniest person.

(image: Zack Seward / Flickr)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.