By ceding the statehouse to Andrew Cuomo earlier this year, Representative Louise Slaughter made history as the only woman to have served in all five branches of the state government: as speaker of the House of Representatives; as governor of New York; as lieutenant governor; and most recently as the highest ranking woman in New York state history in the waning months of the Cuomo administration. It was an interesting way to leave public life – even for Slaughter, who as author of the federal Women’s Economic Security Act in the early 1990s helped engineer gains in the number of women in the workplace and as chairman of the Select Committee on Aging from 1997 to 2000, was in every sense a consummate policymaker.
Slaughter retired from the US House in 2011, and now draws more than $2 million a year as the first lady of New York and “listener in chief” to Governor Andrew Cuomo. For the past year, Sandra Lee, who served for a decade as Slaughter’s chief of staff and helped her during her distinguished career, has moved into a particularly juicy role: as one of the state’s movers and shakers at its most exclusive event of the year, the Governor’s Ball, the glitzy soiree celebrating a governor, his wives and their accompanying Cabinet secretaries.
This evening, Slaugher and Lee are the keynote speakers at a $100-a-plate ($500 for tables of eight) fundraiser for the Governor’s Ball, which will be held tonight at the Madison Square Garden Concert Hall in Manhattan. Tomorrow morning, the Governor will announce the eighth edition of New York Comic Con, which will take place at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, on October 26 and 27. All of this, of course, comes in a climate when New York City is scrambling to prepare for a potential New York state shutdown, a ploy by Governor Andrew Cuomo to force the state legislature into resolving its differences over key issues.