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

NY Congresswoman Louise Slaughter dies at 88 following fall

NY Congresswoman Louise Slaughter dies at 88 following fall

Chairwoman Louise Slaughter sits during the House Committee on Rules meeting Thomson Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter of NY died early Friday morning, her chief of staff said.

New York Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter died Thursday evening, according to a statement her chief of staff provided to media outlets on Friday morning.

During her tenure, Slaughter was the first woman to chair the influential House Committee on Rules.

We will miss her greatly. She had a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and a Master of Science degree in Public Health from the University of Kentucky.

Slaughter "was a living icon for women from all walks of life who wanted to get off the sidelines and make a positive change in their community", Jamie Romeo, chairwoman of the Monroe County, N.Y., Democratic Party told the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester.

They married in 1957, and he died in 2014.

Slaughter had a degree in microbiology and was originally from Harlan County, Kentucky, and her soft, twangy accent always seemed out of place for someone representing a western NY district.

Cuomo says he first met Slaughter four decades ago, when they both worked for his father, the later former Governor Mario Cuomo, and they were friends ever since.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who also took office in 1987, said she was "heartbroken" by Slaughter's death. But she was repeatedly re-elected -including a narrow victory in 2014 - and was the longest-serving member of Congress from NY when she died.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Slaughter a "champion for NY who had a larger than life presence in Rochester area politics". "I extend my deepest condolences to her family and loved ones during this hard time".

Rep. Slaughter was most recently the Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee.

Her role as Rules chair and since the Republicans regained control of the House in 2010, as the committee's senior Democrat gave her vast power over the terms of debate on the House floor.

Bernard Hurwitz, associate vice president of RIT for NTID Administration, served as an intern in her office in 1989, during his third year of college.

"In my own experience working with Representative Slaughter to protect the Great Lakes from pollution and combat the opioid epidemic, her deep knowledge of policy and profound commitment to her community always shined through", he continued.

Slaughter retained her Southern accent long after her move from her native Kentucky. Slaughter was the oldest Member of the House of Representatives at the time of her death. "We're holding you in our hearts". She spoke up for financial aid, and for federal investment in research as a means to give students a high quality education and access to emerging disciplines, such as photonics, which she embraced as an opportunity for growth in New York State.

"She was trailblazer, a partner and friend ever since we worked together for my father more than four decades ago", the younger Cuomo said in a statement, calling her a "champion for NY".

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