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Rep. Louise Slaughter's life, legacy honored at funeral service

Rep. Louise Slaughter was remembered for her work during Friday's funeral service.
Credit Provided
Rep. Louise Slaughter was remembered for her work during Friday's funeral service.

Thousands turned out Friday to celebrate Rep. Louise Slaughter’s life and legacy.

Rep. Slaughter’s funeral service at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre featured several high-level political officials, including former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“There was no one better to have in your corner than Louise,” Hillary Clinton said.

“She really was one of a kind. … Like a lot of women, she didn’t get into politics to make a name for herself. She got into politics to make a difference.”

Hillary Clinton also thanked her friend:

Credit Tianna Manon/WXXI News
Hillary Clinton speaks Friday at Rep. Louise Slaughter's funeral service: "You will be dearly missed, but never forgotten. God bless you, my friend,” she said.

“Thank you, Louise. Thanks for spurring us on, for setting the bar extraordinarily high when it comes to public service, for enriching our lives and our country. You will be dearly missed, but never forgotten. God bless you, my friend.”

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis also spoke.

Pelosi said it was her privilege to serve with Rep. Slaughter for more than 30 years.

“She encouraged women … to know their power,” Pelosi said, adding that Rep. Slaughter was “a patriot” and “a woman of fire and force.”

Pelosi said many people have paid tribute to Rep. Slaughter since she died, but “the one compliment she would have loved the best: She truly made a difference.”

Pelosi thanked Rep. Slaughter’s family for “sharing this beautiful soul with the world.”

“God truly blessed America with the leadership and life of Louise Slaughter,” she said.

Lewis told the audience that he was struggling with the loss.

“I want to be honest with you,” he said. “This is hard. This is tough. Louise Slaughter was one of a kind. She was generous, she was friendly, she was warm. She was determined and she stood up for her beliefs.

“She was strong. She was solid. And she didn’t take any stuff,” he said, eliciting laughter from those in attendance.

“She was my sister,” he said. “I love you and I will miss you.”

Fran Weisberg, Rep. Slaughter's one-time campaign manager, also spoke about her friend.

“Louise Slaughter spent her life fighting for this community,” Weisberg said. “She never backed down from a challenge or passed up a good idea.”

Weisberg also said Rep. Slaughter never changed during her life of service.

“What drove Louise and defined her was her personal integrity,” Weisberg said.

Members of Rep. Slaughter’s family also spoke at the funeral service. Her daughter, Amy Slaughter, noted that her mother was “not surprisingly, more liberal than most of the other moms,” and her son-in-law, Michael Minerva said, “To be in the presence of Louise was an honor. To me, to be included in her family, was a blessing.”

Her firstborn granddaughter, Lauren Secatore, said she’s “always been so proud” of Rep. Slaughter’s work.

“I’ve never thought of her as just my grandma,” Secatore said. “In fact, I could not be more proud to think of her as my grandmother, the congresswoman.

“When your grandmother is a trailblazer, your path in life doesn't look like a trail, it looks like an open road.”

Her grandson, Daniel Secatore, told family stories that made the audience laugh, including a memory of how she once cooked country ham that he described as “weaponized salt.”

But he also reflected on how much he would miss her, saying, “As greedy as it sounds, 33 years of life with her didn’t seem like it was enough."

Rep. Slaughter died March 16 at George Washington University Hospital after suffering an injury in her Washington, D.C., residence last week.

The Fairport Democrat was the first woman to chair the powerful House Committee on Rules and was serving as its ranking member.

Rep. Slaughter was serving her 16th term in Congress. She was planning on running for a 17th term in November.

She was instrumental in acquiring $16 million in federal funds from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER program, to fill a portion of the Inner Loop, creating an at-grade roadway between Charlotte Street and Monroe Avenue. The project got started in November 2014, and is nearing completion.

The same program funded the new train station in Rochester, and was in danger of being cut from the federal budget. It was announced this week that Amtrak has agreed to rename the station the Louise M. Slaughter Intermodal Station in honor of the late congresswoman. In her remarks Friday, Hillary Clinton thanked Amtrak for its decision.

WXXI Videographer Martin Kaufman edited this collection of eulogies and various scenes from the funeral: