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Pat Schroeder

A Woman of the House

Joan A. Lowy

Publication Year: 2003

The leading feminist in Congress for nearly twenty-five years, Pat Schroeder was elected in 1972. Beloved by the left and despised by the right, she was at the forefront of a new wave of assertive women lawmakers who refused to play by the old rules. This is the first biography of the outspoken Colorado Democrat, who has remained in the limelight since leaving public office.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

Front Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-

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1: Pioneer Pat

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pp. 1-16

Pat Schroeder had been a member of Congress for less than a year when she committed an unthinkable act for a freshman: she deliberately and publicly humiliated her committee chairman. Given the seemingly unassailable power chairmen wielded at the time, it would have been an audacious act for any lawmaker, but it was an especially breathtaking move...

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2: Forging a Feminist

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pp. 17-29

Patricia Nell Scott was born in Portland, Oregon, on July 30, 1940, the first child of Lee Combs Scott and Bernice Lemoin Scott. Lee was a pilot who managed a small airport in Portland. Bernice was a first- grade teacher. The hospital bill for their daughter’s delivery came to $55.35, and the Scotts paid it in two installments....

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3: Guess Who’s Coming to Congress

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pp. 30-44

When Pat Schroeder announced her candidacy for Congress in May 1972, she was such an unknown that the Denver Post didn’t even mention her name in the headline of the short story: “Woman Attorney to Run for Congress.” United Press International’s photographer had a request. Would Mrs. Schroeder please pose for a picture holding her child, her younger...

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4: Queen of the Quip

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pp. 45-63

On the first day of Pat Schroeder’s congressional career, her husband drove up to the front of the imposing Capitol building and dropped her off while he went to park the car. “I just sat down on those steps and thought, ‘My gosh, what’s a mother like me doing here? I’m about to be sworn into Congress and I haven’t even potty-trained my...

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5: In the Trenches

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pp. 64-83

Not long after joining the House Armed Services Committee, Schroeder and navy captain Jim Bush flew from Washington to Norfolk, Virginia, for a series of special background briefings by the navy on how its ships and manpower were deployed and what its future needs would be. Schroeder had recently hired Bush to handle defense...

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6: Women and Children First

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pp. 84-110

Schroeder entered Congress determined to make government the ally of women and children just as the women’s rights movement was beginning to hit its stride. Feminists were attacking ingrained attitudes and entrenched practices that seem anachronistic today, but which were commonplace at the time, often with detrimental and far-reaching consequences...

Illustrations [includes image plates]

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pp. 111-128

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7: Madam President

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pp. 129-145

The morning of May 3, 1987, dawned to a political earthquake. “Hart Linked to Miami Woman,” screamed a headline in the Miami Herald. The story was that former Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado, the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination, had spent much of the weekend in his Washington townhouse with an attractive...

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8: The Tailhook Tale

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pp. 146-164

The year 1973 had been a milestone for both Schroeder and the U.S. armed services. For Schroeder, it marked her transition from first-time candidate to freshman congresswoman. For the military, it marked the end of the draft and the beginning of the All-Volunteer Force. It was clear from the start that the All-Volunteer Force would not be...

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9: Pat vs. Newt

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pp. 165-187

In political terms, the 1994 election was an earthquake for Democrats who had controlled the House without interruption for four decades. They had acquired a sense of permanence that seemed impregnable. Now, Schroeder and other Democrats saw dozens of their colleagues washed away overnight by the GOP tsunami. Even Speaker Tom Foley of...

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10: A Legend Bows Out

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pp. 188-201

After a year of introspection and taking stock, Pat Schroeder was leaning strongly toward ending her twenty-four-year political career and moving on to something new when she boarded a ship with her family for a Thanksgiving cruise in November 1995. The three-day cruise aboard the Fantasy from Port Canaveral, Florida, to the Bahamas was an opportunity to...

Note on Sources

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pp. 203-210

Index

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pp. 211-216

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780826331007
E-ISBN-10: 0826331009
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826330987
Print-ISBN-10: 0826330983

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 25 halftones
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: Women's Biography Series
Series Editor Byline: Series Editor, Kristie Miller

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • United States. Congress. House -- Biography.
  • Women legislators -- United States -- Biography.
  • Legislators -- United States -- Biography.
  • Schroeder, Pat.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1989.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1989-.
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