Students who have worked for the recently-deceased Congresswoman Louise Slaughter are remembering her as a figure who, despite her towering influence, had no hesitations about bending down to help out those on the ground level.
“She would remember the smallest details about you and follow up, sometimes months later,” senior Jacob Tyson, who worked for her during one of her re-election campaigns, told the Campus Times. “She remembered from a brief conversation that my mom was in the hospital and she asked about her wellbeing months later. Congresswoman Slaughter appreciated people and exemplified an authenticity seldom found in Congress.”
Slaughter died in George Washington University Hospital on March 16 after suffering a concussion from a fall in her home. She was 88.
Slaughter had been a Democratic representative for the Rochester area since 1987. She was not only a strong advocate for women rights, co-authoring the Violence Against Women Act, and the only microbiologist in Congress, but also the author of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. She was known on campus for her fights to secure UR funding.
“I was woken up by a call around 10 a.m. to be told and my initial reaction was disbelief — how could somebody who has become an institution here in Rochester be gone?” Tyson said. “Then, I was met with worry. The shoes left behind by the congresswoman need to be filled, and it is going to be very difficult to find somebody worthy enough to do so.”
Those who worked with her praised her personability and passion.
“Congresswoman Slaughter was incredibly sharp and funny but was very serious about the gravity of her work and her duty to her constituents,” junior Lindsay Wrobel said. “She was very down-to-earth in that sense as well, and her office referred to themselves as ‘Team Slaughter,’ which I found to be incredibly indicative of the kind of environment she fostered. She even phonebanked with us for the Georgia 6th, calling voters in that district herself.”
Students emphasized that her death had left an unforgettable emptiness in the community and that her legacy would be remembered for a long time to come.
“The congresswoman left an irreplaceable mark on this community, which is evident to anyone who lives in Rochester or to anyone who worked for her,” senior Tamar Prince said. “I attended her funeral and the entire Kodak Theater was packed. Two planes full of congresspeople were in attendance. The community adored the congresswoman, and it was evident in […] Nancy Pelosi, John Lewis, and Hillary Clinton’s speeches that Rochester was her greatest love.”
Congress plans to hold a special election in which the winner will be able to serve the remainder of Slaughter’s term.