Rep. Patricia Schroeder, Pioneering Colorado Lawmaker

UPDATE: President Joe Biden released the following statement honoring the life and service of Rep. Patricia Schroeder:

Pat Schroeder was a pioneer.

In her 24 years in Congress, she seized every opportunity to advance equality for women, and the laws she helped pass fundamentally reshaped our country for the better.

The 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which protected women from being fired for having children.

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which allowed millions of women and men to care for family members without losing their jobs.

The opening of military jobs – including flying combat missions – to women.

More access to early screening for breast and cervical cancer for lower-income women.

On issue after issue, Pat stood up for basic fairness, sensible policy, and women’s equal humanity. The result was a legislative record that changed millions of women’s lives – and men’s lives – for the better.

I saw firsthand Pat’s moral compass, legal mind, and political savvy when we worked together on the Violence Against Women Act. She was the primary sponsor in the House; I led the charge in the Senate. Together, we got it done. With Pat as my partner, I never doubted that we would.

She inspired a generation of public servants, proved that a young mom could be a formidable Congresswoman, and did it all with legendary wit.

Jill and I send our prayers to Pat’s husband James, her children Jamie and Scott, and the entire Schroeder family.


Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Denver).

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports sad news from last night:

Coloradans and people elsewhere are remembering former U.S. Rep. Pat Schroeder, a trailblazer who paved the way for women’s rights in national and local politics. She died Monday at 82.

“Representative Schroeder was a one-of-a-kind leader and barrier breaker,” said Gov. Jared Polis in a statement late Monday. “Our daughter’s future and women across our country’s future are better thanks to her service. ” [Pols emphasis]

Schroeder was the first woman to represent Colorado in Congress. She had a stroke recently and died at a hospital in Florida, where she had been living, according to her former press secretary, Andrea Camp.

Schroeder paved the way for women’s and family issues in Congress and helped push for the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Rep. Pat Schroeder’s successor in Congress Rep. Diana DeGette released the following statement:

Pat Schroeder was a pioneer for women’s rights. She was a trailblazer, a role model, a mentor and a friend. She dedicated her life to serving her community, and to championing the well-being of women and families throughout this country. Pat was elected to Congress when I was in high school and she inspired a generation of young women, like me, to dream high. She became a mentor and dear friend after I succeeded her, and I am eternally thankful, not only for all of the incredible work she did for our state, but for the guidance and friendship she provided along the way. My condolences to Jim, Scott and Jamie during this difficult time. Pat’s brilliance, passion and wit will never be duplicated, but will always be remembered.

Politically Rep. Schroeder was years ahead of her time, an uncompromising progressive decades before the rest of Colorado caught up with Denver and initiated the current era of Democratic dominance in state politics. Rep. Schroeder’s example of cheerfully challenging the “boy’s club” establishment in Washington, D.C. inspired a generation of elected officials in Colorado and elsewhere who came after her.

We’ll update with memorial information when it’s available.

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. westslope says:

    She was an incredible pioneer for women in Congress and a gift to reporters everywhere. She gave great quote. Perhaps my favorite was, If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.’’

    She also wrote the book on constituent service. A prominent Grand Junction developer and Club 20 bigwig tried during the oil shale bust to pull a piece of federal pork from Denver, a rotating class of federal executives getting advanced training. He figured it would boost hotel occupancy and help restaurants. Schroeder, of course, blocked his efforts and he grudgingly allowed that she fought like a mother cat for her district.’’

    She sent him a note thanking him for the compliment.



  2. notaskinnycook says:

    I will be forever grateful to her for the bill she ran to restore military benefits to the wives of service members who followed their husbands from pillar to post through the Cold War and then lost them in a divorce. Those benefits were bestowed on second wives, who did nothing to earn them, while the women who did struggled to make ends meet and went without medical care. Schroeder knew that was wrong and fought for years to fix it. 

  3. Washopingmylastpostwouldbemylast says:

  4. Pam Bennett says:

    I first came across her when I was at Lowry AFB, Denver, Colorado. She had just been elected to the House and was on the Armed Services Committee.  Although most personnel were on base for training, temporary life in Denver, anytime there was an issue that could not be resolved on base she could be contacted for help.  And, help she did.  We saw some of the old school officers turn purple.

    One of the big helps she did for military personnel at Lowry was to get pay issues straightened out. She was a first term rep but could get the action needed.

    Later on I would occasionally be on the same flights to and from D.C. with her. I think she was powerful because she was smarter than many of the idiots she had to deal with everyday.

  5. Representative Pat Schroeder was the one who helped John Lennon, I recieved a response from her personally & by letter, thanking for the lobbying for his citizenship. 

    12 years of service the patriarch never gave her leadership role on Committees. Her legislative career helped Families. Fiorino for Mayor will continue her legacy as he too likes the bunnies. Thankyou Pat.


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