NOW Bids Fond Farewell to Feminist "Dean" of Congress

by Diane Minor
Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo.,supports NOW's 1993 March Against Hate, which was held in Florida.  Photo By Beth Corbin.

 NOW leaders and activists are expressing their best wishes to Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo., after she announced in late November that she plans to retire at the end of her current term. Schroeder is a longtime ally who joined in a NOW protest just three weeks before her announcement.

 "Although we were surprised by this news, no one deserves a return to private life more than Pat Schroeder," said NOW Executive Vice President Kim Gandy. "She'll be a leader for women in whatever she chooses to pursue.

 "For nearly a quarter century Pat Schroeder has been the dean of feminists in Congress," Gandy said. "Her distinct combination of feminist passion, quick wit and political savvy are irreplaceable. Who can ever forget her calling former President Reagan, the Teflon president?' She sure made that one stick. And in typical Schroeder style, she pointed out that some men think harass' is two words."

 NOW could always count on Schroeder to defend not only reproductive rights, but also poor women's rights, women's health and lesbian and gay civil rights. She was a key player in passing the 1994 Violence Against Women Act.

 Schroeder, in turn, could count on NOW's support. "Our members raised a small fortune for her when she announced a presidential bid," said Gandy, "and we would do it again in a heartbeat."

 Gandy credits Schroeder for a great parting quip, in a CNN interview. Schroeder said she isn't concerned about her party's chances in 1996 because Newt Gingrich is trying to get Republicans to "morph" into him. (The word "morph" is video production slang for a technique that allows one image to metamorphosis into another).

 Gandy says it is a consolation to feminists, and a tribute to Schroeder's leadership, that she leaves a district with several strong feminist women who can run and win. Schroeder said she would not rule out running for office again, but had no immediate plans to pursue a Senate seat.

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