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Louise McIntosh Slaughter (born August 14, 1929) is an Americanmarker Democratic Party politician, currently representing New York's 28th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, and serving as chair of the powerful House Rules Committee. The 28th district is based in Rochestermarker and Buffalomarker and includes parts of Eriemarker, Monroemarker, Niagaramarker and Orleansmarker Counties.

Personal background

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, Kentuckymarker, 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 Monticellomarker, where Louise attended high school. After graduating from high school, she enrolled at the University of Kentuckymarker in Lexingtonmarker, 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. In the early 1950's, she helped a friend get an illegal abortion. She is now a firm support of abortion on demand.

After graduate school, she went to work for a major chemicals manufacturer doing market research. While traveling for work, she met Bob Slaughter, in San Antonio, Texasmarker, and later married him. After marrying, the couple moved to Fairport, New Yorkmarker, a suburb of Rochestermarker, 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 relation, through the Boone family, of Missourimarker Congressman Ike Skelton.

Early political career

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 particularly 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, finally 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. Criminal justice, women’s health and environmental legislation dominated her work in the State Legislature.

Congressional career

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 Rochester and some Monroe County suburbs 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 more conservative Republican, Fred J. Eckert. Slaughter managed a one-point victory in the 1986 midterm election, but has been reelected 11 more times without much difficulty. Slaughter was the first Democrat to represent the 30th District since 1910, 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). She has never faced another contest nearly that close, and has been reelected 10 times.

Redistricting after the 1990 census added the rest of Rochester and more of Monroe County to Slaughter's district, now renumbered the 28th District. The district no longer included portions of Genesee, Livingston, and Ontario Counties. The redistricting put her into the same district as her colleague, Republican Frank Horton. The district had already been moving away from its moderate Republican roots, but the new territory made the district solidly Democratic. Representative Horton decided to retire.

After the 2000 census, much of her district was merged with the Buffalo/Niagara Fallsmarker-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. However, geographically it was more LaFalce's district, with only a narrow tendril extending from Rochester to Buffalo. However, LaFalce did not seek a 15th term, and Slaughter was easily reelected in 2002 and became the first woman elected to Congress from Western New York. In her last two campaigns, she has been reelected with more than 70 percent of the vote.

Slaughter serves on the Democratic Steering & Policy Committee. She is the Democratic Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus and the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus. Louise also serves as Co-Chair of the Future of American Media Caucus and is former Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues. After Martin Frost, the ranking member on the House Rules Committee, was defeated for reelection, Slaughter was appointed to this position, the first female member of Congress to serve in this post. After the 2006 elections, she became the first woman to chair this committee.

Despite representing a historically Republican area, Slaughter is one of the most liberal members of the New York congressional delegation from upstate New York, and in the 110th Congress (2007-2008), was the most liberal 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 Justicemarker’s Violence Against Women Office.

Slaughter has won increases in funding for women’s health. 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 Healthmarker (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.

The Louise M.
Slaughter Building on the RIT campus.
’s efforts to secure funds for her district was recognized by the Rochester Institute of Technologymarker, 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.

Perhaps her greatest claim to fame, and a long and dedicated fight that she declared as "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 2009, Slaughter introduced, and testified in support of, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which would limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed. Overuse of antibiotics has been tied to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, which pose a threat to human health.

Slaughter was strongly critical of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which places limits on taxpayer-funded abortions in the context of the November 2009 Affordable Health Care for America Act.

Committee assignments

Leadership positions and Caucus memberships

  • At-Large Whip
  • Congressional Arts Caucus-Co-chair
  • Congressional Bipartisan Pro-Choice Caucus-Co-chair

Election results


Year Democratic Result Republican Result Other Result
2008 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 172,655 (78.00%) David W. Crimmen 48,690 (22.00%)
2006 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 111,386 (73.17%) John E. Donnelly 40,844 (26.83%)
2004 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 159,655 (72.61%) Michael D. Laba 54,543 (24.81%) Other 5,678 (2.58%)
2002 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 99,057 (62.45%) Henry F. Wojtaszek 59,547 (37.54%)
2000 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 151,688 (65.70%) Mark C. Johns 83,445 (36.14%) Other 3,820 (1.65%)
1998 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 118,856 (64.78%) Richard A. Kaplan 56,443 (30.76%) Other 8,159 (4.47%)
1996 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 133,084 (57.25%) Geoff H. Rosenberger 99,366 (42.74%)
1994 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 110,987 (56.63%) Renee Forgensi Davison 78,516 (40.06%) Other 6,464 (3.29%)
1992 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 140,908 (56.34%) William P. Polito 112,273 (44.89%) Other 7,897 (.75%)
1990 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 97,280 (59.02%) John M. Regan, Jr. 67,534 (40.97%)
1988 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 128,364 (56.87%) John D. Bouchard 89,126 (39.48%) Other 8,222 (3.64%)
1986 Louise M. Slaughter 86,777 (50.99%) Fred J. Eckert (i) 83,402 (49.00%)
Key: (i) = Incumbent

Source: New York State Board of Elections

State Assembly

Year Democratic Result Republican Result Other Result
1984 Louise M. Slaughter (i) 30,556 (54.79%) Donald S. Milcon 24,703 (44.29%) Other 506 (.90%)
1982 Louise M. Slaughter 23,236 (52.18%) Thomas A. Hanna (i) 21,289 (47.81%)
Key: (i) = Incumbent

Source: New York State Board of Elections

Monroe County Legislature

Year Democratic Result Republican Result Other Result
1975 Louise M. Slaughter 4,698 (51.45%) Walter G.A. Muench (i) 4,433 (48.54%)
1973 Louise M. Slaughter 4,082 (49.31%) Walter G.A. Muench (i) 4,195 (50.68%)
1971 Louise M. Slaughter 3,507 (43.34%) Walter G.A. Muench (i) 3,998 (49.41%) Other 585 (7.23%)
Key: (i) = Incumbent

Source: Monroe County Board of Elections


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