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History Colorado remembers Pat Schroeder, a pioneer for women in politics

She fought for equal rights as the first woman to represent Colorado in Congress.

DENVER — On the marquee of the Mayan Theater, drivers will notice a message saying Pat Schroeder is their hero.  

"Without Pat Schroeder the Mayan theater would not be there, and I get very emotional Pat was such an exceptional extraordinary person," said Chris Citron, who lead the charge to save it from demolition back in the 80's. 

Citron said Schroeder stood on the picket lines with them, and was the one to get an anonymous phone call saying who the investors were who planned to demolish it. 

"I have a folder called heroes but this is beyond, this is personal," said Citron. 

She joined dozens of others at the History Colorado building to honor the late congresswoman who passed away on March 13.

Schroeder was the very first woman to represent Colorado in Congress, and has inspired Governor Jared Polis by her leadership from the moment he was a page in her office.  

"She served the nation with distinction," said Governor Polis, who added he would get emails from Schroeder up until she passed away congratulating him on advancing abortion rights laws. 

Representative Schroeder helped pass the Family Medical Leave Act, the Violence against Women Act, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

She was a pioneer for people like Democratic Representative Serene Gonzales-Gutierrez who follows in her footsteps. 

"She wasn’t afraid to make people uncomfortable," said Gonzales-Gutuerrez.  "These are the things that she has instilled in many of us women in this work.”

Her witty lines made the public pay attention. 

When asked how she could be a congresswoman and a mother, she reportedly said, "I have a brain and a uterus, and I use them both." 

"Even people who didn’t know Pat’s name know some of the terms that she coined, like Teflon president we all know that," said Governor Polis. 

"She was a leader for social causes for the good of America," said Citron. "And for promoting equity and fairness, and doing things that the government can do and should do for all people that makes our society function." 

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