Whatever your political affiliation, there is no denying Rep. Louise Slaughter’s deep love for her adopted community.
The Kentucky native spent nearly half her life working in politics to make the Rochester region better.
Slaughter, who died a week ago at the age of 88, was a champion of many things: women, diversity, science, the arts, ethics. But mostly she was a champion of Rochester.
“She was such a tireless advocate and great public servant for our community and region throughout her tenure in Congress,” said Bob Duffy, president of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.
Slaughter worked for Rochester’s cultural institutions, its educational institutions, its infrastructure, its businesses and, most importantly, its people—no matter their stature.
And despite the increasingly bitter, partisan environment in Washington throughout her career, Slaughter advocated for her beliefs without making things personal, without making enemies.
“Whether people agreed or disagreed with her positions, I can assure you that they were established with the utmost integrity because Louise always took stands that she firmly believed in,” Duffy said. “To me, that is the essence of great public service.”
That integrity engendered a level of respect that was on clear display in the hours after her death last week. Messages of condolences came pouring in from people across the political spectrum that were generous, heartfelt and deserved.
Slaughter spent three-plus decades in Washington without a single scandal, working hard for her constituents right up to the end of her life.
While her name is going to be on the train station that she worked hard to bring to reality, her fingerprints are on buildings, organizations and institutions throughout the region.
The effect of her life’s work on Rochester will be felt for a very long time, and her deep-seated desire to see Rochester flourish will be sorely missed. Whoever takes her seat in Congress will have very big shoes to fill.