Entries in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (10)


Obama to Sign Gabbrielle Giffords’ Last Piece of Legislation

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will be joined by Gabrielle Giffords in the Oval Office Friday when he signs the Arizona representative’s last piece of legislation.

The Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2012, which gives law enforcement broader authority to counter illicit drug trafficking on U.S. borders, was the last bill that Giffords sponsored in the House.

Giffords, who is retiring to focus on her ongoing recovery from last year’s assassination attempt in Tucson, Ariz., will be joined by her husband retired astronaut Mark Kelly. Vice President Joe Biden will also attend the signing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gabrielle Giffords' Aide Reportedly Ready to Run for Her Seat

Tom Williams/Roll Call(PHOENIX) -- Ron Barber, a longtime aide of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, will throw his hat in the ring for her House seat now that Giffords has decided not to run for election this year, reports say.

Barber, who served as Giffords' district manager, was among those wounded in Tucson, Ariz., last January when a lone gunman went on a shooting rampage that nearly took the life of Giffords while killing six people.

Pima County Democratic Party chairman Jeff Rogers said he was authorized, "to announce Barber’s likely candidacy" for the primary to be held on April 17.  If Barber gets the Democratic nod, he'd face the Republican candidate in a special election this June.

However, Barber's intention would only be to fill out the rest of Giffords' term.  He is believed to have no desire to stay in Washington beyond next January.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gabrielle Giffords Resigns from Congress

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., resigned from Congress on Wednesday morning, a little more than a year after being shot in the head at close range.

“This past year my colleagues and staff have worked to make sure my constituents were represented in Congress,” Giffords wrote in her letter of resignation. “But If I can’t return, my district deserves to elect a U.S. Representative who can give 100 percent to the job now.”

Giffords slowly made her way to the House floor, walking with a slight limp as she was surrounded by the House Democratic leadership team, including her close friend Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“Everyday, I am working hard,” Giffords wrote as she concluded her letter. “I will recover and will return, and we will work together again, for Arizona and for all Americans.”

The moment carried great emotion as a number of House leaders paid tribute to Giffords. Members shed tears on the House floor, and Giffords hugged her chief of staff, Pia Carusone, who has led constituent services since the congresswoman’s injury.

Giffords’ appearance on the floor was just the third since her injury. She returned Aug. 2 to vote in favor of the debt limit and attended President Obama’s State of the Union address last night.

“I love Gabby Giffords,” Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said. “Gabby’s beauty is in the heart, in the soul, in the spirit. The House of Representatives of America has been made prod by this extraordinary daughter of this House, who served so well during her tenure here, who felt so deeply about her constituents and cared so much for her country. Gabby, we love you. We have missed you.”

Giffords looked on as Hoyer paid tribute and responded, “and I miss you.”

“We focus on her, she is our friend. We look at her remarkable recovery with great pride,” Pelosi said. “She also carries in her need for recovery, the sorrow of so many others who lost their lives. The apparent physical recovery that we see is something even more than we could ever imagine for the challenge that Congresswoman Giffords has faced. God gave her a very special mission. He gave it to Gabby Giffords because He knew she could carry that burden because he had bless her with so many, many gifts and a very loving family to make her the person that she is.”

The Arizona delegation surrounded Giffords in the well of the House as Debbie Wasserman Schultz cried when she spoke, her arm around Giffords.

“I’m so proud of my friend and it will always be one of the great treasures of my life to have met Gabby Giffords and to have served with her in this body,” Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said. “We have all been through such a tumultuous year. The nation has been through a tumultuous year, no one more tumultuous than Gabby, and her family and her constituents in her beloved home city of Tucson, Arizona, and I know being able to be Gabby’s voice today, that knowing her as well as I do, that the one thing that has not been said is that Gabby wants her constituents to know, her constituents who she loves so much in southern Arizona, that it has been the greatest professional privilege of her life to represent them.”

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“This is only a pause in that public service, and she will return one day to public service, to represent them, as she has so capably for the last five and a half years,” Wasserman Schultz continued. “The most important thing to remember, no matter what we argue about on this floor or in this country, there is nothing more important than family and friendship, and that should be held on high above all else. And I will always carry that in my heart, and even though I know we won’t see each other every day, Gabby, we will be friends for life.”

“Yes,” Giffords whispered.

“For life,” Wasserman Schultz repeated as the two embraced.

Wasserman Schultz then read Giffords’ letter of resignation on the House floor, as Giffords listened next to her.

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Giffords then made her way to the speaker’s rostrum where she handed the House Speaker John Boehner her letter of resignation. Boehner cried as the two held hands. The entire House chamber cheered with sustained applause.

Giffords cried as she walked off the rostrum.

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Before officially resigning, Giffords voted in favor of her bill, H.R.3801 -- the Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act, which she introduced shortly before being shot Jan. 8, 2011. The bill, which amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to include “ultralight vehicle” under the aviation smuggling provisions, passed unanimously, 408-0, with 26 members missing the vote.

Giffords stood in the well of the House floor and welcomed countless colleagues as they hugged her and wished her well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Submitting Letter of Resignation

President Obama greets Rep. Gabrielle Giffords before his State of the Union address. The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will formally step down from her position as an Arizona congresswoman Wednesday morning when she submits her letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner.

In an excerpt from the letter, Giffords vows to make a comeback, saying, "Every day I am working hard.  I will recover and will return and we will work together again for Arizona and for all Americans.”

The full text of the letter will be made public after it is formally submitted.

A copy of the letter will also be sent to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who will then decide when to hold elections to fill Giffords' seat until the general elections are held in November.

Giffords first announced she was leaving office last Sunday in a two-minute video that was posted on her website and on YouTube.

In the clip, she says, "I have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for Arizona, I will step down this week."

The congresswoman was shot in the head and critically wounded last January while she was holding a “Congress On Your Corner” event at a supermarket in Tucson, Ariz.  Six people died in the shooting and 12 others were injured.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to Step Down from Congress

P.K. Weis/Giffords Campaign - P.K. Weis via Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will step down from Congress this week, her staff said Sunday, and not seek re-election when her current term expires this year.

“I have more work to do on my recovery and so to do what is best for Arizona I will step down this week,” Giffords said in a video posted online Sunday. “Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover.”

Full statement from Giffords:

“Arizona is my home, always will be. A lot has happened over the past year. We need to not change that but I know on the issues we fought for we can change things for the better. We can do so much more by working together. I don’t remember much from that horrible day but I will never forget the trust you placed in be to be your voice. Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover. I have more work to do on my recovery and so to do what is best for Arizona I will step down this week I’m getting better every day. My spirit is high. I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Giffords' Idea: Improve Mobile Communications Near Border

Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At the request of the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Texas Congressman Ted Poe introduced the “Southern Borderlands Public Safety Communications Act” Thursday, which would provide people in remote areas without cellular service near the border with cell phone service to call for help in the event of an emergency.

Giffords, D-Ariz., was apparently poised to introduce the legislation herself, but then the tragedy in Tucson struck just a few days after the 112th Congress commenced.

According to Poe, the measure would authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to make grants available for public-private partnerships that finance equipment and infrastructure to improve public safety of residents of rural areas of the United States-Mexico border by enhancing access to mobile communications.

Poe went to the House floor Thursday to highlight the need for the legislation and credited Giffords for coming up with the idea after one of her constituents, rancher Rob Krentz, was murdered by Mexican drug smugglers on his rural property where he was unable to call 911 because he was out of reach of cellphone service.

“In this remote area many times cellphones do not work,” Poe, R-Texas, said. “I am filing legislation that is the idea of Ms. Giffords. This bill is in memory of Robert Krentz, the Arizona rancher who was murdered by an illegal on his own property one year ago. Mr. Krentz is a former rancher whose family still lives in Arizona. News reports indicate Mr. Krentz was in a cellphone 'dead zone' when he was murdered, and this bill will provide people in remote areas on the dangerous border area with cellphone service to call for help.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Obama to Sign Bill Naming Courthouse After Judge Slain in Tucson

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will sign into law Thursday a bill that will honor one of the victims killed during the shooting in Tucson, Arizona on Jan. 8.

The bill will allow a new federal courthouse in Yuma, Arizona to take on the name of federal Judge John M. Roll, who was one of the six people killed in the shooting, along with 13 others who were wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The legislation was “strongly supported” by Giffords' office.

Speaking on the courthouse last week, the judge's widow, Maureen roll, said, “My husband worked very hard to secure funding for this badly needed facility.  He was proud to serve his country on the federal bench and he would be honored to have his name on this courthouse.”

Pia Carusone, chief of staff for Giffords, is expected to attend the signing ceremony.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Giffords' Friends In Congress Hosting Re-Election Fundraiser

Photo Courtesy - Bill Clark/Roll Call via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ., continues her recovery from last month’s shooting in Tucson, some of her closest friends in Congress are hosting a March 15 fundraiser in Washington, D.C., for her re-election committee.

The fundraiser is being organized by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Rep. Adam Smith, D-WA., and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL.

“We are so proud of her as she continues to make incredible strides in her recovery,” the lawmakers said in the invitation. “We look forward to seeing her again soon and to the day that she will rejoin us in the halls of Congress and resume her role as a leading advocate for solar energy, increased border security, job creation through innovation, and protecting the needs of military families and veterans.”

“But first Gabby must focus on the important work of her recovery. With that in mind, we have joined together to support Gabby, and we hope that we can count on you to join us!”

Text of the invitation is below. 

From the desks of Kirsten Gillibrand, Adam Smith & Debbie Wasserman Schultz

February 14, 2011

Dear Friend,

We have joined together with our colleagues to support our good friend and colleague, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

As we all know, Gabby suffered serious injuries in the January 8th shooting in Tucson, AZ. We are so proud of her as she continues to make incredible strides in her recovery. We look forward to seeing her again soon and to the day that she will rejoin us in the halls of Congress and resume her role as a leading advocate for solar energy, increased border security, job creation through innovation, and protecting the needs of military families and veterans.

But first Gabby must focus on the important work of her recovery. With that in mind, we have joined together to support Gabby, and we hope that we can count on you to join us!

Thank you for your friendship and support.


Kirsten Gillibrand

Adam Smith

Debbie Wasserman Schultz 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hero Intern Daniel Hernandez: ‘Call to Action for Public Service’

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' hero intern, Daniel Hernandez, caps a whirlwind of a month with a seat in first lady Michelle Obama's box for honored guests at the State of the Union address Tuesday night.

In town for the big night, Hernandez told ABC News that it's "bittersweet" to be a guest of the first lady. He said he looks forward to meeting the family of Christina Taylor Green, the slain 9-year-old whose parents are also guests of the first lady.

"I'm looking forward to being able to sit down with them and just have a conversation," Hernandez said. "I think it's going to be very cathartic for myself and I'm hoping for them as well, to be able to just talk about the events and also kind of coming together."

Hernandez –- who turned 21 years old Tuesday –- said his experience has strengthened his resolve to pursue a career in public service.

"The only thing that I want to come out of this is really two things; the first, a more positive and unified message which the president put out in Tucson at the memorial...and the other is more public service," he said.

"The events that happened in Tucson on the 8th only reinforced my desire to go into public service. So I think it should be more of a call to action for public service."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Giffords' Medical Team will Attend State of the Union

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Tucson medical team that treated Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head will be in Washington this week to attend President Obama’s State of the Union address.

ABC News has learned doctors Randall Friese, Michael Limole and Peter Rhee of Tucson’s University Medical Center, along with intensive care unit nurse Tracy Culbert are scheduled to attend the Tuesday speech, according to Giffords’ spokesman C.J. Karamargin.

The medical team cared for Giffords for nearly two weeks until she was transferred Friday from Arizona to Texas, where she will eventually enter a Houston rehabilitation facility.

ABC News previously reported that Daniel Hernandez, an intern who rushed to Giffords to apply pressure to her head wound and provide comfort after she was shot, will also attend the State of the Union speech.

President Obama called Hernandez a hero in a speech delivered in Tucson on January 12.

“You may deny it, but we have decided you are a hero, because you ran through the chaos to minister to your boss and tended to her wounds and helped keep her alive," Obama said.

The Congresswoman and 18 others were shot outside a Tucson supermarket during a constituent meet-and-greet on January 8.  Jared Loughner is accused of pulling the trigger, killing six people including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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