One of the most liberal members of the House of Representatives during the years spanning the presidencies of Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, Patricia Schroeder (D-CO) was the first female member of Congress to win election from Colorado. During her quarter century in Washington, she was an aggressive advocate for many left-wing causes (few or none of which I would have agreed with had I been her colleague back then).
I arrived in Washington just as she left Congress, but I came to know her when she became president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers. Because my portfolio covered intellectual property, she became a frequent visitor to my office. She was the one who introduced me over lunch in the Capitol restaurant to her close friend and former House colleague, Geraldine Ferraro (D-NY), the 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee.
In late 1987, Pat was an undeclared (and virtually unknown) candidate for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination. Along with six other candidates with little or no national standing, the press dubbed the group of aspirants, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." On the eve of what observers thought would be her presidential campaign kickoff, she announced that she would not seek the White House.
During one of our visit many years later, I asked Pat why she had opted out of the presidential race. With her large smile, she threw back her head and laughed. "Well," she told me, "it dawned on me that if I ran and won, I'd be like the dog who chases cars. I'd have asked myself, 'Now that I've caught it, what do I do with it?!"
A tough fighter in the trenches, but a charming lady behind the scenes, she died today at age 82. Rest in peace.