Congresswoman Louise McIntosh Slaughter is one of the most powerful and unique figures in the House of Representatives. Representing the 25th Congressional District of New York, Louise was first elected to Congress in 1986, and is now serving her 14th term in the House of Representatives.
Over the years, Louise has earned a reputation for her dedication to constituent service and for taking on the fights no one else will. She has stood up to her own party and voted against numerous free trade agreements including the North American Free Trade Agreement, authored the groundbreaking report “America for Sale” that blew the whistle on corruption amongst powerful Members of Congress, and authored the STOCK Act, which outlawed insider trading by Members of Congress and their staffs. Louise is currently fighting to apply a binding code of conduct to members of the U.S. Supreme Court- the only federal judges who are not already governed by such a code.
As the only Member of Congress with a degree in microbiology, Louise has played a central role in the major health and science issues of our time. She played a leading role in crafting and passing the Affordable Care Act, and brought the legislation to the House Floor for final passage.
She is the original author of the Genetic Information and Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), which is now Public Law No. 110-223. Called, the “first civil rights legislation of the 21st Century” by Senator Ted Kennedy GINA prevents health insurance companies from revoking an individual’s insurance or employers from terminating an employee based upon genetic information.
She is also author of the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act which would end the routine use of antibiotics on healthy animals and curb the growing threat of superbugs. In 2011, Louise confirmed with the FDA that 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are used on animals. This kind of habitual use has been linked to the growing threat of antimicrobial-resistant infections in humans. PAMTA would phase out the use of 8 important classes of antibiotics on healthy animals while allowing for their use to treat sick animals.
Louise is also a strong champion for women’s healthcare issues and equal rights. 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 also successfully fought for the passage of legislation that guarantees that women and minorities are included in all federal health trials, and established an Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at NIH. Ten years after the creation of ORWH, the National Institute of Health awarded Louise the “Visionary for Women’s Health Research” award.
Louise is the current co-chair and a founding member of the Congressional Pro-Choice caucus, and famously led a group of 7 Congresswomen in a march to the United States Senate in a successful effort to allow Professor Anita Hill to testify at the confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas.
Louise co-authored the historic Violence Against Women Act in 1994, and wrote legislation that made permanent the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Currently, Louise is leading the fight against sexual assault in the military. In March 2004, she organized hearing on the issue, and presented the findings of the hearing to then-Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.
In May 2004, she successfully championed the passage of requiring the Pentagon to develop a comprehensive and uniform policy to prevent and respond to sexual assault of women in the military. In the years since, Louise has continued to successfully pass legislation into the law that has improved the military’s prevention and treatment efforts, and provided our servicemen and women with greater protections in an effort to end the prevalence of sexual assault in our armed forces.
In 2007, Louise became the first woman to serve as Chairwoman of the influential House Committee on Rules. Louise also serves on the prestigious Democratic Steering & Policy Committee, and is Chair of two congressional caucuses: the Congressional Arts Caucus and the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, of which she is a founding member.
Louise was first elected to Congress in 1986, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree (1951) in Microbiology and a Master of Science degree (1953) in Public Health from the University of Kentucky. Prior to entering Congress, Louise served in the New York State Assembly (1982-86) and the Monroe County (N.Y.) Legislature (1976-79); and as regional coordinator to then-Secretary of State Mario Cuomo (1976-78) and to then-Lt. Gov. Mario Cuomo (1979-82).
A native of Harlan County, Kentucky, Congresswoman Slaughter has lived most of her life in Rochester’s suburb of Fairport. She is married to Robert Slaughter and has three daughters and seven grandchildren.
Louise entered Congress in January 1987 and immediately went to work fighting to improve the lives of the people of Rochester, NY. Below is a partial list of Louise’s accomplishments as a Member of Congress
1987: Won inclusion of language in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, signed into law by President Reagan, allowing children to continue to attend the same school if their family became homeless and moved to a shelter out of district.
1990: Won passage of an amendment to the Immigration Act of 1990 that allowed a battered spouse who was a legal alien to file for permanent residence without the cooperation of the batterer.
1992: Won passage of the DES (diethylstilbestrol) Education and Research Amendments of 1992, providing for further research into the effects of DES – once used as an anti-miscarriage drug with devastating health consequences to mothers and their children exposed in utero.
1993: Secured the first $500 million dedicated to breast cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
1993: Ensured that all research at the NIH included women and minorities in clinical trials – previously all research was done on white males, even in predominantly female diseases such as breast cancer.
1994: Co-authored the Violence Against Women Act, signed into law by President Clinton, providing protections for victims of domestic violence for the first time and continuing to provide vital services to survivors of abuse today.
1996: Included language in pesticide legislation that became law requiring a review of all federal programs that assess or mitigate the risks to women’s health from environmental exposures.
2000: Worked with local businesses to bring Jet Blue Airlines to Rochester.
2005: Led the effort to save the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station from the Department of Defense’s Base Realignment and Closure Commission
2005: Helped secure $5 million in federal funding for ARTWalk – 2,375 linear feet of sculptures, outdoor art displays, and interactive exhibits set in downtown Rochester.
2007: Became the first woman to serve as the Chair of the influential House Committee on Rules.
2008: Won passage of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), a law that protects individuals from discrimination by employers or health insurers based on genetic predispositions to health conditions2009: Persuaded the Department of Defense to recall 16,000 pieces of body armor and replace them with safer armor to protect our troops in harm’s way.
2009: Won passage of the National Women’s Rights History Project Act – after nearly a decade of work with then-Senator Hillary Clinton – as part of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, authorizing the Votes for Women Trail, an auto route linking historical sites with importance to the struggle for women’s rights and suffrage.
2009: Brought the Affordable Care Act to the floor of the House of Representatives for an historic vote, expanding and improving health care for Americans.
2009: Secured $90.1 million in federal funds for the construction of a second railroad track between Albany and Schenectady to improve passenger service.
2010: Won passage of the Airline Safety and Pilot Training Improvement Act in the wake of the Colgan Air Flight #3407 disaster in the Buffalo area.
2010: Secured $16.5 million in federal funding for the Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center.
2010: Ushered the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2010 to the floor of the House of Representatives, providing large increases in the size of Pell grants, strengthening the Perkins loan program, and drastically lowering interest rates on federally subsidized student loans.
2010: Brought the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to the floor of the House of Representatives, ensuring that unchecked corporate greed will never again bring America to financial collapse.
2011: Brought the Department of Labor’s Deputy Secretary and local farmers together leading to necessary changes in the H-2A agricultural guestworker program.
2011: Secured $62.5 million in federal funding for the laser lab at University of Rochester.
2011: Secured $300 million in federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and $23.7 million for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
2011: Won inclusion of four key provisions of the Force Protection Readiness Act – improving the prevention and prosecution of sexual assault in the military – in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012.
2012: Won passage of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, making insider trading by Members of Congress and their staffs illegal.
2012: Secured $15 million in federal funding for the Rochester Intermodal Transportation Center.
2012: Won passage of the Stop Invasive Species Act as part of the Surface Transportation bill, protecting the Great Lakes from the threat of Asian Carp.