Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a portrait in courage.
It’s not every day you encounter someone who went from running a family business to running for office—winning over voters of all stripes as a member of the Arizona legislature and then as a member of Congress. And that’s just a small part of Gabby’s story.
A Life Dedicated to Public Service
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has dedicated her life to public service. As the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, she represented her community in the Arizona Legislature from 2000 to 2005, and then in Congress from 2006 to 2012.
In Washington DC, during the the 2008 financial crash and other crises, Gabby never shied away from tough decisions. That spirit of resiliency, perseverance, and courage is one that resonates around the world. It helped her overcome tragedy, work tirelessly to recover when the odds were stacked against her, and become one of the foremost leaders in the movement to end gun violence. In the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Giffords represented a diverse area that covered 9,000 square miles, including a 114-mile border with Mexico. Considered a rising star by many, she quickly became a leading champion for energy independence and the needs of military families and veterans.
Turning Outrage into Action
On January 8, 2011, at a “Congress On Your Corner” constituent event in Tucson, Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head by a gunman who killed six people and injured 12 others. Gabby stepped down from Congress in January 2012 to focus on her recovery. As the nation’s eyes were upon her, Gabby embarked on a courageous journey to regain her ability to speak and walk, inspiring the country with her resilience and optimistic spirit.
In 2013, after the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, Congresswoman Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, founded the organization today known as Giffords. Over the past several years, the organization has led the national gun safety movement, making gun safety a kitchen table issue for voters. Giffords has helped gun safety champions win up and down the ballot in local, state, and federal races and worked hard to pass lifesaving legislation in states across the country and in the US House of Representatives.
As she leads Giffords, Gabby continues to make remarkable progress in her recovery. She helps raise awareness about aphasia, the language impairment she has suffered from since her shooting. She enjoys spending her free time playing the French horn, biking, practicing yoga, and learning Spanish. Throughout her life, Gabby has sought to improve her community and country by using her extraordinary ability to bring people together to focus on how we can make things better. This trait has made her a powerful public figure in this moment and inspires people every day to take actions of their own to make a difference.
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