Gabby Giffords is of the Democratic persuasion and represented Arizona’s 8th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Her tenure lasted from January 3, 2007, to January 25, 2012. She holds the record for the third female in the history of the State of Arizona to be elected to the US Congress.
Before her time as Congresswoman, Gabby was the CEO of her grandfather’s automotive chain business as well as an associate for regional economic development for New York’s Price Waterhouse, a multinational professional services network. Gabby Giffords also served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2001 to 2003, and the Arizona State Senate from 2003 to 2005. National issues that are dear to the former Congresswoman’s heart include healthcare reform, illegal immigration, and very personally, gun control. Her passion for the latter stems from her own experience of surviving an assassination attempt that ultimately forced her to resign from her seat in Congress in 2012.
Who is Gabby Giffords? Here’s all you need to know
Gabrielle Dee Giffords was born on June 8, 1970, and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She was born to a Christian mother, Gloria Kay Gifford, and a Jewish father, Spencer J. Giffords. The former Girl Scout attended University High School in Tucson and moved to California to pursue sociology at Scripps College. She graduated in 1993 with a B.A in sociology and Latin American history after which she spent twelve months in Chihuahua, Mexico as a Fulbright Scholar. In 1996, she obtained her Master’s degree in Regional Planning with a focus on Mexican-American relations from Cornell University.
After working at Price Waterhouse and as President and CEO of her grandfather’s business, culminating in 2000, she went into politics full time. She spent 2001 to 2005 first as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives and as a member of the Arizona State Senate.
Following the launch of her congressional campaign, Gabby Giffords eventually won the race on November 7, 2006, clinching 54 percent of the votes. She was re-elected in 2008 with 56.2 percent of the votes despite the heavy Republican presence in the house. During her tenure, Giffords notably voted in favor of increasing federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research and increasing the minimum wage. She also introduced a bill to scupper the sale of F-14 aircraft parts on the open market during the 2007 session of Congress.
Gabby Giffords’ assassination attempt. Who shot her?
The year 2011 began on a sour note for the Congresswoman. While holding her first Congress on Your Corner event for the year near a Safeway grocery store in Arizona, she was the victim of a mass shooting. A man carrying a 9mm pistol approached the crowd and started firing. He killed 6 people and injured 19 in the process. A bullet caught Gabby Giffords in the head. She was speedily rushed to the University Medical Center of Tucson in critical condition where doctors had to perform emergency surgery on her.
Luckily, the bullet had passed through her head without making contact with the midline of her brain. The surgeons had to remove a small amount of necrotic tissue as well as a bit of her skull to prevent further pressure to the brain. Giffords may have died on the scene had it not been for her intern Daniel Hernandez Jr. who immediately started issuing first-aid assistance to her the moment she was injured. He is credited for saving her life.
The Congresswoman was placed under an induced coma to allow her brain some rest. She made a remarkably quick recovery as she started physical therapy in mid-January. She underwent a cranioplasty in May 2011 and was allowed to return home for further care on June 15, 2011.
The shooter was apprehended, thanks to some bystanders, until he was arrested and taken away by the police. He was identified as Jared Lee Loughner. The US government viewed this tragedy as a federal crime, seeing as it had happened at a government event and also considering that federal employees were attacked. He was eventually charged with over 50 federal criminal charges in order to avoid a death sentence, he pled guilty to 19 of them. He was sentenced to life plus a period of 140 years in federal prison in November 2012.
On January 24, 2012, Gabby Giffords attended President Obama’s State of the Union Address and officially submitted her resignation from Congress the next day. On that day, the last bill she sponsored and brought to the house was voted on and passed unanimously.
Who is Her Husband?
Gabby’s husband is Mark E. Kelly, a Captain in the U.S Navy and a NASA astronaut. Mark piloted the Space Shuttles on the STS-108 and STS-121 missions. He has also commanded other space missions.
On November 15, 2011, the couple co-authored a memoir titled Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope with author Jeffrey Zaslow. Mark and Gabby got married on November 10, 2007. Mark came into the relationship with two daughters, Claudia and Claire. They were never really close to their stepmother Gabby, however, everything changed dramatically for the better following the shooting as the girls finally bonded with her.