Louise McIntosh Slaughter (born August 14, 1929) is the U.S. Representative for New York's 28th congressional district, serving since 1993, and Chair of the House Rules Committee from 2007 until 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district is based in Rochester and Buffalo and includes parts of Erie, Monroe, Niagara and Orleans Counties. She previously represented the 30th district from 1987 to 1993. Slaughter is the oldest female member of Congress, followed by U.S. Senator from California Dianne Feinstein.
Early life, education, and early political career
Slaughter was born Dorothy Louise McIntosh to Oscar Lewis (Mack), a blacksmith for a coal mine, and Daisy Grace McIntosh on August 14, 1929, in Lynch, Kentucky, a coal-mining town built by a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. Louise had two brothers, Philip and David as well as two sisters, Marjorie and Virginia. Her sister Virginia died of pneumonia while she was a child; Louise would later cite this as her reason for earning degrees in microbiology and public health.
The family moved to Monticello, where Louise attended high school. After graduating from high school, she enrolled at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where she studied microbiology.
After graduating with a bachelor's degree, she went on to earn a master's degree in public health, also from the University of Kentucky.
After graduate school, she went to work for a major chemicals manufacturer doing market research. Already involved in community groups like the Girl Scouts and the League of Women Voters, Slaughter became increasingly concerned with local political and community issues. She was involved in a local environmental group, the Perinton Greenlands Association, which promoted recycling and opposed development of Harts Woods. Slaughter decided to run for the Monroe County Legislature, winning on her third try. One and a half terms into her service on the County Legislature, she accepted an offer from then- New York Secretary of State Mario Cuomo to serve as his regional coordinator in the Rochester area.
When Cuomo was elected lieutenant governor, Slaughter stayed on as his Rochester regional coordinator.
In 1982 local Democrats approached Louise with a desire to see her run for the State Assembly against the Republican incumbent Tom Hanna, whom she eventually defeated by a narrow margin. She was reelected by 10 points in 1984.
U.S. House of Representatives
After four years in the state assembly, Slaughter decided to run for the Democratic nomination in New York's 30th congressional district. At the time, the district included downtown and eastern Rochester, most of eastern Monroe County as well as Genesee County and northern Livingston and Ontario counties. Moderate Republican Barber Conable had represented the district for 20 years before giving way in 1985 to a considerably more conservative Republican, Fred J.
Eckert. Slaughter managed a one-point victory in the 1986 midterm election. Slaughter was the first Democrat to represent the 30th District since 1910, first woman to represent Western New York, as well as the first Democrat ever elected to a full term from the 30th since its creation in 1893 (it had been renumbered several times in the previous century).
Redistricting after the 1990 census renumbered Slaughter's district as the 28th District. She lost her share of Genesee, Livingston, and Ontario counties, but picked up the rest of Rochester and more of Monroe County. The redistricting put her into the same district as 30-year incumbent Republican Frank Horton, a close friend of Slaughter's.
The district had already been moving away from its moderate Republican roots, but the new territory made the district solidly Democratic. Horton opted to retire, though he would have been a heavy underdog against Slaughter in any case. She has been reelected six more times since then with no substantive opposition.
After the 2000 census, much of her district was merged with the Buffalo/Niagara Falls-based 29th District of fellow Democrat John LaFalce. Original plans called for LaFalce's district to be merged with that of Republican Jack Quinn, who represented the other side of Buffalo. The new district retained Slaughter's district number, but was geographically more LaFalce's district. Only a narrow tendril in Orleans County connected Rochester to Buffalo. However, LaFalce did not seek a 15th term, effectively handing the seat to Slaughter. With her election in 2002, she became the first woman to represent a significant portion of Buffalo in the House.
Slaughter is one of the most Progressive members of the New York congressional delegation from upstate New York, and in the 110th Congress (2007–2008), was the most Progressive member of the entire House of Representatives according to National Journal. Indeed, among Congressmen from upstate, only fellow Democrat Maurice Hinchey has a lower lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. She is one of several Democratic congressmen and senators who post at Daily Kos, a Democratic-oriented blog. She is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
In early 2005, she authored the Fairness and Accountability in Broadcasting Act, or FAB Act, which would reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, which has been criticized as an attempt to silence religious and conservative broadcasters. Drawing on her experience as a microbiologist with a master’s degree in public health, Slaughter has authored legislation to protect Americans from discrimination by health insurance providers and employers based on genetic makeup. Slaughter co-authored the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 and wrote legislation to make permanent the Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Office.
As a member of the House Budget Committee in the early 1990s, she secured the first $500 million earmarked by Congress for breast cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She fought for legislation guaranteeing that women and minorities are included in all federal health trials and establishing an Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at NIH. In addition, along with Senator Christopher Dodd, she introduced the Women's Progress Commemoration Act which established the Women's Progress Commemorative Commission in 1998.
Slaughter’s efforts to secure funds for her district was recognized by the Rochester Institute of Technology, when it named its Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies facility "The Louise M. Slaughter Building."
Rep. Slaughter became Chairwoman of the House Rules Committee during the 110th Congress, after the 2006 mid-term takeover of the House by the Democratic party.
Along with John Conyers, in April 2006 Slaughter brought an action against George W. Bush and others alleging violations of the Constitution in the passing of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The case (Conyers v. Bush) was ultimately dismissed.
Slaughter declared that "the greatest thing she has done in her time in Congress" is passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. She introduced and reintroduced this bill for 12.5 years, and could claim victory when the bill was signed into law on May 21, 2008.
In 2007, Slaughter introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which would limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to counter the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Slaughter was strongly critical of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which places limits on taxpayer-funding for elective abortions in the context of the November 2009 Affordable Health Care for America Act.
In March 2010, Slaughter proposed that a House rule be passed to expedite the passage of health care reform legislation. The rule allows the House to deem the Senate version of the health care reform bill "already passed" by the House without the House holding a recorded vote on the bill. Critics, who called the strategy the "Slaughter Solution", charged this proposed strategy was an affront to democratic principles and challenged its constitutionality. Supporters observe that the courts have affirmed the rule's constitutionality, and that Republicans have used the rule repeatedly to pass major legislation such as the Patriot Act and the Tax Relief Reconciliation Act.
On March 19, 2010, two days before the health care vote, a window in Slaughter's Niagara Falls office was broken with a brick.
After the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, Slaughter suggested the Federal Communications Commission was "not working anymore", and called for better policing of incendiary language. In 2011, with the potential of a government shutdown looming, Slaughter said at a pro-choice rally, "This is probably one of the worst times that we've seen because the numbers of people who are elected to congress. I went through this as co-chair of the Arts Caucus. In '94, people were elected simply to come here to kill the National Endowment for the Arts. Now they're here to kill women".
While traveling for work, she met Bob Slaughter, in San Antonio, Texas, and later married him. After marrying, the couple moved to Fairport, New York, a suburb of Rochester, where Bob had been offered a job. However, to this day, Slaughter still speaks with a pronounced Kentucky accent. They have three daughters Megan, Amy and Robin.
Mrs. Slaughter is a distant relative, through the Boone family, of former Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton.
January 7th, 2012