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Fairport post office dedicated to the late Rep. Louise Slaughter

The Fairport U.S. Post Office was named in honor of the late Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter and her husband Bob on Monday.
Noelle E. C. Evans
The Fairport U.S. Post Office was named in honor of the late Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter and her husband Bob on Monday.

The Fairport U.S. Post Office was dedicated on Monday to the late Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter and her husband, Bob.

Even though she had a Kentucky drawl, she and her husband made their home and raised their daughters just up the road from the post office.

The dedication ceremony also marked what would have been Louise Slaughter’s 94th birthday.

“She'd want us all to eat corn on the cob today,” said Robin Minerva, one of the couple’s three daughters. “That was her favorite. She loved hot summer weather.”

Slaughter served 16 consecutive terms in Congress starting in 1986. She was in office for three decades until her death in 2018. While in office, she established the Office of Research on Women’s Health and was the first woman to serve as chair of the House Committee on Rules.

“She really wasn't elected any public office until I was already in high school,” said Megan Secatore, 65, the couple’s oldest daughter. “So in a lot of ways, I think she might have been in a transitional generation, as far as women in leadership might go.”

Secatore said her father played a significant role in uplifting his wife’s career at a time when that was not the norm.

“I don't know that people really understood how much his support of my mother went beyond just, you know, allowing her to have the career that she did,” she said of her father, who died in 2014.

Both daughters remember reading old love letters their parents had sent each other.

“To see them kind of fall in love through these letters was very charming,” Minerva said. “It's really cute, but even then, they are talking about the platform for the Democratic National Committee.”

In a way, she said, the renaming of the post office in her parents' honor brings that full circle.

The late congressmember remains the only woman to chair the House rules committee. That’s a powerful position since that group determines which bills from policy and fiscal committees to consider on the House floor.

“It’s the tradition in the House of Representatives in committee rooms to have portraits of the people who have served as chair of the various committees,” said Congressman Joe Morelle, “And Louise has this beautiful portrait ... front and center above the door as you walk into the Rules Committee and … it was a daily reminder of the work at hand and how much she meant, not only in this community, but how much he meant to the House of Representatives as the only woman to have ever served to this day.”

Morelle wore cuff links to the ceremony that Rep. Slaughter had gifted him in January of 2018.

Slaughter was instrumental in acquiring $16 million in federal funds from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER program, to fill the eastern portion of the Inner Loop. The same programfunded the new train station in Rochester, which is also named after the congresswoman, and was in danger of being cut from the federal budget.

Slaughter helped push for the new integrated photonics manufacturing innovation hub for the U.S. to be located in Rochester. When Rochester was chosen in 2015, Slaughter helped make the announcementalong with then-Vice President Joe Biden.

She had been planning to run for a 17th term before her death.

“She blazed trails and shattered ceilings,” Morelle said. “Her remarkable accomplishments from shape shaping health care policy, to champion women's rights and promoting scientific inquiry, which is so desperately needed today, more than ever, will continue to inspire the work of the Congress.”

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.