Former Representative and feminist trailblazer Pat Schroeder passed away 2023

Andrea Camp, Schroeder’s former press secretary, stated that Schroeder had suffered a stroke and passed away in a hospital in Celebration, Florida, where she had resided in recent years.

Schroeder challenged the dominant elite for 24 years with her razor-sharp wit and pranks, shaking up staid government institutions by pushing them to accept that women had a place in government.

Schroeder stated that she wasn’t willing to join what she termed “the good old boys’ club” in order to win political points, despite the fact that her unconventional techniques lost her key committee positions. Without fear of humiliating her congressional colleagues in public, she became a feminist movement icon.

Schroeder was one of Colorado’s most powerful Democrats after she was reelected 11 times from her safe seat in Denver after being elected to Congress in 1972. Despite her seniority, she was never named committee chair.

Schroeder contributed to the formation of numerous Democratic majorities until concluding in 1997 that it was time to leave office. In 1998, her parting shot was a book titled “24 Years of Housework… and the Home Is Still a Mess.” My Life in Politics,” in which she detailed her exasperation with male dominance and the sluggish pace of change in federal institutions.

After fellow Coloradan Gary Hart withdrew from the contest in 1987, Schroeder tested the waters for the presidency by organising a fundraising campaign. Three months later, she declared that she would not compete for reelection and stated that her tears reflected compassion, not weakness. She stated that her heart was not in it, and she saw fundraising as humiliating.

As committee chairman F. Edward Hebert, D-Louisiana, constituted the panel, she was obliged to share a chair with U.S. Rep. Ron Dellums, D-Calif., the first African-American. Schroeder stated that Hebert believed neither women nor African-Americans belonged on the committee and that each was only worth a half-seat.

Republicans were incensed after Schroeder and others filed an ethics complaint against House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s broadcast college lecture series, alleging that the free cable time he got constituted an improper gift in violation of House rules. Gingrich was the first speaker to get a reprimand from Congress. Later, Gingrich expressed remorse that he did not take Schroeder and her colleagues more seriously.

Previously, she had criticised Gingrich for proposing that women should not engage in battle because they may have illnesses after 30 days in a ditch. She allegedly told Pentagon officials that if they were women, they would constantly be pregnant because they never said “no.”

When asked by a congressman how she managed to be both a mother of two young children and a member of Congress, she said, “I have a brain and a uterus, and I utilise both.”

Schroeder gave President Ronald Reagan the nickname “Teflon” due to his ability to dodge responsibility for significant policy choices, and the moniker stuck.

In 1993, Schroeder signed into law a family-leave statute that provides employment security for the care of a baby, a sick kid, or a parent.

“Pat Schroeder broke new ground. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-New York, who succeeded Schroeder as Democratic chair of the bipartisan congressional caucus on women’s issues, stated that every woman in the house follows in Schroeder’s footsteps.

Schroeder stated that politicians focused excessively on donors and special interests. In 1994, as House Republicans gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to celebrate their first 100 days in power, she and her aides scaled the building’s dome and draped a 15-foot red banner that said “Sold.”

Schroeder, a pilot, put herself through Harvard Law School by operating her own flying service. After leaving Congress, Schroeder became a professor at Princeton University, although she stated that she would continue to support politicians she believed in.

She taught a graduate-level course entitled “The Politics of Poverty” for a time. She also led the American Organization of Publishers.

After moving to Florida, Schroeder maintained his political activity by knocking on doors, addressing organisations, and coaching candidates. In 2016, she campaigned for Hillary Clinton and was politically engaged for issues and candidates around the nation. She served on the board of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, among other positions.

Schroeder was born on July 30, 1940 in Portland, Oregon. She was a pilot whose flying service paid for her college education. In 1964, after graduating from the University of Minnesota, she earned her law degree. She was a field attorney for the National Labor Relations Board from 1964 to 1966.

Her spouse, James W. Schroeder, whom she married in 1962, survives her. Their two children, Scott and Jamie, as well as her brother, Mike Scott, and four grandkids, also survive.

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