In November 2004, Congresswoman Louise McIntosh Slaughter was elected to her tenth term as U. S. Representative for the 28th Congressional District of New York State, including the cities of Rochester, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls. Prior to entering Congress, she 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 strong proponent of progressive causes and a fighter for the employment concerns and the economic development of Western New York, and in her eighteen years in Congress has earned a reputation for her dedication to constituent service.
One of the most powerful women in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Slaughter is the Ranking Member of the influential House Committee on Rules. A member of the House Democratic Leadership, she serves on the Democratic Steering & Policy Committee and the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, and is former Co-chair of the Congressional Women's Caucus.
As longtime co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, Rep. Slaughter leads the annual fight to increase budgets for the arts and humanities. In 2004, she successfully authored an amendment to increase the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts by $10 million and the National Endowment for the Humanities by $3.5 million. In January 1998, Rep. Slaughter received the Award for Outstanding Arts Leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts.
She was the first member of Congress to receive the Sidney R. Yates National Arts Advocacy Award, presented by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. In 2003 she was awarded the Humane Legislator of the Year by the American Humane Association. In January 1999, she was named "Lay Educator of the Year" by the Rochester chapter of Phi Delta Kappa International, the professional fraternity for men and women in education. In 2004, Women in Film and Vision honored her with its Woman of Vision award for her work on women's and arts issues.
Rep. Slaughter holds a Bachelor of Science degree (1951) in Microbiology and a Master of Science degree (1953) in Public Health from the University of Kentucky. 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.
The 2006 Commencement marked the first presentation of the Eastman Luminary Award, given to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter for her many years of outstanding work with the Congressional Arts Caucus.