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.
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.