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Louise Slaughter, 'Trailblazer' In Congress, Dies At 88

Louise Slaughter
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., a glass-shattering leader in Congress, died Friday after suffering a recent fall at her Washington, D.C., home, reports The Washington Post.

At age 88, she was the oldest sitting member of Congress.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi confirmed the news of Slaughter's death in a statement, calling her a "trailblazer" and adding, "It was my great privilege to serve with her and to benefit from her friendship and wise counsel for 30 years. Her loss will be deeply felt."

Slaughter's three decades in Congress saw her rise to becoming the first chairwoman of the powerful House Committee on Rules, a position she held from 2007-2011. At the time of her death, she remained ranking member.

Pelosi wrote that Slaughter "used her leadership position to fight for women and working families." 

Among the legislation she championed was the landmark Violence Against Women Act, which she co-authored.

Elected in 1986, Slaughter represented the 25th District of New York, an area that includes the city of Rochester, but her Southern origins continued to show.

"Louise never forgot her roots as the daughter of a Kentucky blacksmith," Pelosi wrote. "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."

Slaughter and her husband, Bob, had three daughters and seven grandchildren, according to her House biography.

Jonese Franklin is the WFPL Program Director and host of All Things Considered. Email Jonese at jfranklin@lpm.org.