Before reading Congresswoman Giffords' story, I will suggest the following: I recommend that this highly intelligent Arizona native, Gabrielle Giffords, direct her Chief of Staff in the House of Representatives, to place her name in the political arena for US Senator of Arizona. Sen Jon Kyl, R-AZ, recently reported that he would retire at the end of his term in 2012. Representative Giffords will be recovered and well enough to campaign around the state of Arizona a year before the General Election in November 6, 2012. She would win by a landslide.
Giffords was born in Tucson, Arizona, to Gloria Kay (nйe Fraser) and Spencer J. Giffords. She was raised in a mixed religious environment by her Jewish father and Christian Science-practicing mother. She has identified herself solely with Judaism since 2001, belonging to Congregation Chaverim, a Reform synagogue, in Tucson. She is Arizona's first Jewish Congresswoman.
Giffords worked as an associate for regional economic development at Price Waterhouse in New York City. In 1996, she became president and CEO of El Campo Tire Warehouses, a local automotive chain founded by her grandfather. The business was sold to Goodyear Tire in 2000. At the time of the sale she commented on the difficulties local businesses face when competing against large national firms.
Arizona state representative and senator
Giffords was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives and served from 2001 to 2003. She was elected to the Arizona Senate in the fall of 2002, and at the time was the youngest woman elected to that body. She took office in January 2003 and was re-elected in 2004. She resigned from the Arizona Senate on December 1, 2005, in preparation for her congressional campaign.
Following the November 2006 election, Giffords was sworn in as a congresswoman on January 3, 2007. She was the third woman in Arizona's history to be elected to serve in the U.S. Congress. In her inaugural speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, Giffords advocated a comprehensive immigration reform package, including modern technology to secure the border, more border patrol agents, tough employer sanctions for businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants, and a guest-worker program. In her first month in office, Giffords voted in favor of increased federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, raising the minimum wage, endorsing the 9/11 Commission recommendations, new rules for the House of Representatives targeting ethical issues, and the repeal of $14 billion of subsidies to big oil companies, in favor of renewable energy subsidies and the founding of the Strategic Renewable Energy Reserve.
Giffords launched her first candidacy for the U.S. Congress on January 24, 2006. The campaign received national attention early on as a likely pick-up for the Democratic Party. Prominent Democrats endorsed Giffords including Tom Daschle, Robert Reich, Janet Napolitano, and Bill Clinton. EMILY's List endorsed Giffords early in the campaign cycle. The Sierra Club and the Arizona Education Association also endorsed her. On September 12, 2006, Giffords won her party's nomination in the primary election.
In 2008, Giffords was elected to a second term. Republican Tim Bee, a childhood classmate and former colleague in the Arizona State Senate, ran against her. Bee was then the Arizona State Senate President and was considered a strong challenger in this race. Despite the presence of McCain atop the ticket as the Republican presidential candidate, Giffords was reelected with 56.20 percent of the vote to Bee's 41.45 percent.
On January 8, 2011, Giffords was shot in the head outside a Safeway grocery store in Casas Adobes, Arizona, a suburban area northwest of Tucson, during her first "Congress on Your Corner" gathering of the year. Twenty people were shot, of whom six died, when a man ran up to the crowd and began firing. The suspect, identified as Jared Lee Loughner, was detained by bystanders until he was taken into police custody. Federal officials charged Loughner on the next day with killing federal government employees, attempting to assassinate a member of Congress and attempting to kill federal employees.
Giffords initially was placed in a medically-induced coma to allow her brain to rest. She was able to respond to simple commands when periodically awoken, but was unable to speak as she was on a ventilator. Nancy Pelosi said Giffords' husband Mark Kelly acknowledged that there is a "rough road ahead" for his wife's recovery, but was encouraged by her responsiveness, which included the ability to signal with her hand and move both arms. U.S. Army neurologist Geoffrey Ling of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, was sent to Tucson to consult on Giffords' condition. Ling stated, "Her prognosis for maintaining the function that she has is very good. It's over 50 percent." On January 11, neurosurgeon G. Michael Lemole Jr. said that Giffords' sedation had been reduced and that she could breathe on her own. On January 12, President Barack Obama visited Giffords at the medical center and publicly stated in an evening memorial ceremony that she had "opened her eyes for the first time" that day.