Luisa DeLauro, Pioneer Pol, Dies At 103

Sep 13, 2017 452


It’s not by accident that Luisa DeLauro made it well past her 100th birthday. She was both a pioneer in emergence of women as a force in local politics and a reminder of the Democratic Party’s survival-minded working-class past. DeLauro, who died Saturday evening at the age of 103, succeeded her husband Ted as Wooster Square’s representative on the Board of Aldermen (as it was then called) in 1965, back when politics was largely a man’s game. She remained in that seat for 35 years, serving longer than any other alder, male or female, in New Haven history.

Luisa DeLauro was born on Dec. 24, 1913, the third of six children of Cesare and Luisa Canestri. She grew up in Wooster Square; she operated a sewing machine in a neighborhood sweatshop. She got involved in local politics along with her husband. And early on, she championed the role of women.

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