A Straight Shooting, Honest Politician

Louise Slaughter is not the usual “suit” you find in Congress. We’re quite sure, for example, that she is the only genuine coal-miner’s daughter serving in those hallowed halls. (She was born in Harlan County, Ky., and still has that distinctive twang in her speech.) We’re also reasonably sure that she is the only 77-year-old grandmother there.

And, we’re absolutely sure she is a straight shooter. A couple of examples:

On the war in Iraq: “I didn’t vote for the first Iraq war and I didn’t vote for the second one either. I don’t believe in sending people to die for oil. But I damn sure voted to give the troops everything they need while they’re there.” [...]

On the Mark Foley scandal in Congress: “Those men who knew about those emails can’t see the nose in front of their face. They should have turned is all over to a few of us grandmothers to handle.”

Slaughter got her start in public life when, as a Fairport housewife in the 1960s, she launched a campaign to get the town of Perinton to preserve a 17-acre tract called Hart’s Woods. She failed in that, but nevertheless she’s been bitten by the political bug. She went on to win a seat on the Monroe County Legislature and later Congress – the first Democrat to win in her district since 1910.

There, she’s worked hard to steer federal money to the district, especially for schools in inner-city Rochester and Buffalo, for area colleges and universities, and for health initiatives. She has also been a long-time champion of what she calls progressive stands for women’s rights, workers’ rights, health care, and public art.

He Republican challenger is Michael Donnelly, deputy supervisor of the Town of Tonawanda in Erie County. According to his Web site, he wants to preserve the Bush administration’s tax cuts, preserve Second Amendment gun rights, and focus on families and business development. However, despite numerous phone calls and e-mail messages, we were unable to reach him for an interview.

As for Slaughter: We don’t necessarily agree with all her views. But are you looking for and honest politician? There she is.

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