Tributes and remembrances poured in for Pat Schroeder, the first woman to represent Colorado in Congress, as friends and political figures from across the political spectrum recalled the barriers she broke, the lives she inspired and the smiles she left.
Known as much for her sharp wit and memorable phrases as for the legislation she championed, Schroeder died Monday in Flordia, where she and her husband, Jim, had retired. She was 82.
"Marlon and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat, a friend, a leader, and a champion for Colorado and our nation," Polis continued. "We send our deepest condolences to Pat’s family and all of the lives she touched and dreams she inspired across our state and country. Our daughter's future and women across our country’s future are better thanks to her service. ”
Calling Schroeder a "friend and mentor," Polis said Schroeder has been a steady influence throughout his life.
"I have known Pat since my childhood, and she was a dear friend to our family," Polis said on Facebook. "Her frequent emails always brought a smile to my face and she was so proud of the work we are doing here in Colorado."
Citing some of Schroeder's memorable turns of phrase — from calling Ronald Reagan the "Teflon president" to telling a male chauvinist “I have a brain and a uterus and I use both” — Polis concluded: "Her wit, her passion, her love for country will be missed not only by those who knew her, but by our whole state and the entire nation. Farewell Pat, and thank you for being uniquely yourself."
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, who followed Schroeder in Congress and has represented the 1st Congressional District for 14 terms, called Schroeder was a pioneer for women's rights.
"She was a trailblazer, a role model, a mentor and a friend," DeGette said in a statement. "She dedicated her life to serving her community, and to championing the well-being of women and families throughout this country."
Noting that she was in high school when Schroeder was first elected, DeGette said her forebear "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."
Like so many, DeGette conveyed condolences to Jim and their children, Scott and Jamie, adding: "Pat’s brilliance, passion and wit will never be duplicated, but will always be remembered.”
In a White House statement issued Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden called Schroeder 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," Biden said, listing landmark legislative achievements that spanned Schroeder's career, from the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and opening military roles to 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," Biden said.
The president recalled working with Schroeder on the Violence Against Women Act when he was a senator and she was the bill's primary House sponsor, crediting her "moral compass, legal mind, and political savvy," adding, "With Pat as my partner, I never doubted that we would."
Said Biden: "She inspired a generation of public servants, proved that a young mom could be a formidable Congresswoman, and did it all with legendary wit."
Others took to social media to express their sentiments.
"Pat Schroeder broke barriers as the first woman to serve on the House Armed Services Committee," Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted.
"Over her 24 years in Congress, she championed women's rights and helped secure passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Her legacy will inspire generations of leaders to come."
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Schroeder's passing was "a profound loss for our Nation" in a statement, calling her former colleague "an effective legislative force, whose bold vision and firm values helped deliver progress for America’s women, servicemembers and working families."
Added Pelosi: "Her courage and persistence leave behind a legacy of progress and have inspired countless women in public service to follow in her footsteps."
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, tweeted: "As the first woman elected to Congress from Colorado, Pat Schroeder was a trailblazer and a fierce advocate for women, families, and all Coloradans. I'm saddened to hear of her passing, and my thoughts are with her family and loved ones."
"Pat fought for all of us," said U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, Colorado's other Democratic senator, on Twitter.
"She gave us the Family and Medical Leave Act and barred employers from firing women for being pregnant — all while battling sexism in the halls of Congress," Hickenlooper continued. "We're so grateful for everything she did for Colorado. Our thoughts are with Pat’s family."
"Pat Schroeder was a champion for women — shattering glass ceilings, lifting our voices, and seizing our seat at the table," said House Minority Whip Katherine Clark of Massachusetts on Twitter. "She opened the door for the many women who have followed her footsteps into Congress, and I'm grateful for her bold leadership."
U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Boulder Democrat, hailed Schroeder's legacy.
"An incredible public servant and historic trailblazer, Pat Schroeder’s countless contributions to the State of Colorado and our country will truly have a lasting impact," Neguse tweeted.
Across the aisle, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, expressed sorrow for her passing.
"I'm sorry to learn of the passing of former Colorado Congresswoman Pat Schroeder," Buck tweeted. "Pat was a fighter and trailblazer for the causes she believed in. My prayers are with her family, friends, and loved ones."
"Her memory will live on a true blessing," Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said on Twitter. "Pat Schroeder was one of the all time greats."
Original story HERE.