Patricia Schroeder

Patricia Schroeder

Former Congresswoman. Trailblazer. Legend.
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Program Descriptions

  • Herstory: Women's History That no one Knows!
  • 24 years of House (Meaning U. S. House of Representatives) and the Place is Still a Mess!
  • Getting Over Getting Older
  • Legislating Under the Influence: What Money has Done to Corrupt American Politics
  • America's Work & Family Issues...Why Don't They get More Attention?
  • Celebration is Disney's Experiment with New Urbanism

Biography Read more

Former Congresswoman Patricia Scott Schroeder is the Vice Chair of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, on the Common Cause Board and the Florida State League of Women Voters Board.  Mrs. Schroeder left Congress undefeated in 1996 after representing Colorado’s First Congressional District (Denver) in the United States House of Representatives for 24 years.  For a brief period of time in 1986, she considered running for President but withdrew for lack of funds despite the fact that she ranked third in a Time magazine poll. 

From January to June 1997, she held the rank of Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. In addition to heading the AAP, Mrs. Schroeder also serves on the Marguerite Casey Foundation Board of Directors, the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights Executive Committee, and is the Chair of the Council for a Livable World’s PeacePAC. She also serves on various advisory committees dealing with literacy and issues affecting children and women.

Born in Portland, Oregon in 1940, Mrs. Schroeder graduated magna cum laude in 1961 from the University of Minnesota while working as an insurance claims adjuster to support herself through college. Mrs. Schroeder went on to Harvard Law School, one of only 15 women in a class of more than 500 men. She earned her J.D. in 1964 and moved to Denver, Colorado with her husband, James, who in 1972 encouraged her to challenge an incumbent Republican for the House seat representing Colorado's First Congressional District.

The mother of two young children at the time she was elected to the House, Mrs. Schroeder went on to serve 12 terms. During her tenure in the House, she became the Dean of Congressional Women, co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues for 10 years, and served on the House Judiciary Committee, the Post Office and Civil Service Committee, and was the first woman to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. As chair of the House Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families from 1991 to 1993, Mrs. Schroeder guided the Family and Medical Leave Act and the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act to enactment in 1993, a fitting legislative achievement for her lifetime of work on behalf of women's and family issues. She was also active on many military issues, expediting the National Security Committee's vote to allow women to fly combat missions in 1991 and working to improve the situation of military families through passage of her Military Family Act in 1985.

A leader in the cause of education and a champion of free speech, Mrs. Schroeder was never a single-issue candidate. As Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property she was one of the most knowledgeable members of Congress on copyright issues and a strong advocate for protecting intellectual property rights and for reinforcing the creative incentive for developing intellectual property. She continues this advocacy in her leadership of AAP.

Mrs. Schroeder is the author of two books: Champion of the Great American Family (Random House, 1989) and 24 Years of House Work...and the Place Is Still a Mess (Andrews McMeel, 1998). She is in the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

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