Giffords First Endorsements of the Year Go to Congressional Women Running for Reelection in Key Swing Districts
In their first term, House freshmen all followed through on vow to take action on gun violence prevention, helping to pass the most robust gun safety agenda in decades
January 29, 2020 — Giffords , the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, announced its first endorsements of the year, for a slate of eight congresswomen in their reelection bids to the House of Representatives. The candidates, all women from suburban districts, vowed to take action on gun safety if elected to Congress. They followed through, helping the House majority to, among other things, pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 , the first large gun reform bill to get congressional approval in decades. Giffords is supporting their return so they can continue fighting for the initiatives that will help address America’s gun violence crisis.
Statement from former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords
“Strong women get things done and these leaders were essential to the successful effort to get gun safety legislation through Congress. Each has made clear that where others might waver, they will push ahead. These champions did not back down in the face of a gun lobby that tried to use its power and influence to block progress. Their arrival in Washington signaled the NRA’s ironclad grip on the House of Representatives was over.
“Because of this group, Congress took the historic step of passing H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. Progress in 2020 means reelecting them so they can continue being champions for a safer America. We’re proud to endorse these congressional leaders as they fight to free our country from its crisis of gun violence.”
These members of the 116th Congress took monumental steps to advance lifesaving gun violence prevention legislation. H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 , was one of the first pieces of legislation introduced in 2019, passing through the full House in the weeks after it was introduced. Congress similarly appropriated $25 million in gun violence research funding, and the House held more than a dozen hearings with gun violence as the main focus.
Today’s Giffords Endorsements include:
- Katie Porter (CA-45): Congresswoman Katie Porter was elected in 2018 to serve California’s 45th District. Before she took her oath of office, Congresswoman Porter was a consumer finance and protection expert, teaching at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law and overseeing settlement reforms totaling $9.5 billion as California’s independent bank monitor. As a congresswoman, she continues to hold special interests accountable as a member of the House Financial Services Committee and a staunch opponent of the NRA. Whether she is casting a vote for universal background checks in the House or rallying for gun safety in her district with Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Congresswoman Porter is never afraid to stand up for what is right.
- Lucy McBath (GA-06): Congresswoman Lucy McBath was a flight attendant until she turned her grief into activism after her son Jordan was shot and killed in 2012. Running for Congress in Georgia’s Sixth District in 2018, she continued her tireless advocacy for gun safety on the campaign trail, showing incredible strength by repeatedly revisiting the cause of her son’s death to emphasize the urgency of reforming gun laws. As a member of the House of Representatives, Congresswoman McBath has been a vocal leader on the issue, introducing legislation to codify extreme risk protection orders into federal law and joining Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in a June 2019 press conference to call out Senate Republicans’ inaction on universal background checks.
- Lauren Underwood (IL-14): Congresswoman Lauren Underwood represents Illinois’s 14th District, located in the Chicago suburbs, as the youngest African American woman ever to be elected to the House of Representatives. In addition to sitting on several House committees, ranging from Education and Labor to Veterans’ Affairs, Congresswoman Underwood is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the LGBT Equality Caucus, and the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Shortly after taking office, a shooting at a manufacturing plant just outside the congresswoman’s district left five people dead and six wounded, and she quickly took action eleven days later by helping pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8). With a background in healthcare, working at the US Department of Health and Human Services on projects like Affordable Care Act implementation and disaster relief, Congresswoman Underwood believes that gun violence is a public health crisis that the government must address.
- Angie Craig (MN-02): Prior to serving in Congress, Congresswoman Angie Craig worked her way through college and up through the ranks of her professional life, starting out as a newspaper reporter and ending up as the head of global resources at a major Minnesota manufacturer. In her 2018 House race, Giffords PAC ran ads against her opponent, an incumbent with an A rating from the NRA, because the urgency of the moment demanded that the Second District of Minnesota be represented by someone with the courage to stand up to the gun lobby. As a gun owner who enjoys hunting and visiting the shooting range, Congresswoman Craig understands the importance of preserving the Second Amendment and responsible gun ownership. This is why she voted in support of universal background checks and why she uses her platform in Congress to promote gun safety policies.
- Susie Lee (NV-03): Congresswoman Susie Lee is in her first term serving Nevada’s Third District. Born to a working class family in Ohio, Congresswoman Lee moved to Las Vegas over 25 years ago. She is a nonprofit leader in Nevada, where she has led efforts to boost high school graduation rates and address homelessness. In October 2017, Las Vegas became the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history when a gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest music festival. 59 people were killed and over 400 were shot. Like many Nevadans, Congresswoman Lee has friends who witnessed the shooting and are still dealing with the trauma that accompanied it. She joined Congresswoman Gabby Giffords on the campaign trail in 2018 to hear from gun violence survivors, student activists, and community organizers. In Congress, Congresswoman Lee has voted for bipartisan legislation to enact universal background checks and close the boyfriend and stalker loopholes.
- Susan Wild (PA-07): Congresswoman Susan Wild was elected in 2018 to represent the Lehigh Valley and Pennsylvania’s Seventh District. Previously, she served as the first female solicitor of the City of Allentown, where she was recognized by Governor Tom Wolf for her leadership and contributions to Pennsylvania. Born to a military family and representing a district with a large number of gun owners, Congresswoman Wild knows that it’s possible to support strong gun safety laws and the Second Amendment at the same time. She defeated an NRA-backed opponent in 2018 and has stood up for her constituents’ safety in Congress by supporting the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would close loopholes that currently allow criminals and domestic abusers to get their hands on guns with no questions asked.
- Jennifer Wexton (VA-10): Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton represents a rapidly growing suburban area of Northern Virginia. The congresswoman has a long record of service to her community, both as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney, where she prosecuted domestic abusers and sexual assaults, and as a state senator in the Virginia General Assembly. Congresswoman Wexton’s race was one of Giffords PAC’s top priorities in 2018. Congresswoman Giffords recorded an ad taking on the incumbent for accepting tens of thousands of dollars from the gun lobby and visited the 10th District to participate in a roundtable with Wexton and survivors of gun violence. Congresswoman Wexton won her race comfortably and has made gun safety one of her signature issues since being sworn into Congress.
- Kim Schrier (WA-08): Before being elected to Congress, Dr. Kim Schrier worked as a pediatrician serving the children and families of Washington’s Eighth District, outside of Seattle. She won her election in 2018 while running on a strong gun safety platform against an opponent with an A rating from the NRA. Congresswoman Schrier understands that gun violence is a public health crisis in America. She knows that extreme risk protection order laws and safe storage can save lives, and in Congress she helped secure $25 million in funding for gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health, the first time this issue has received federal funding in more than two decades.
At every step in the legislative process, this slate of endorsed candidates approached gun safety legislation with the seriousness and urgency needed to solve our country’s gun violence epidemic. In contrast, their counterparts in the Senate have stalled and obstructed any and all gun safety bills sent to them by the House. That’s why Giffords invested nearly $750,000 in ads calling out Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) for failing to support H.R. 8 last year.
Giffords is also leading the effort to make this the year the country elects a #GunSafetyPresident. We launched a video campaign this past fall that allowed the American people to hear directly from leading Democratic candidates for president about gun violence—the issue keeping people up at night and dominating discussion at kitchen tables across the country. They also joined with March For Our Lives to host a 2020 gun safety forum in Las Vegas in October.
Recently released polling showed that the issue of gun safety is becoming a major factor for voters, and one that is critical to winning elections in these areas of the country. Fifty-nine percent of suburban women in the swing states of Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas support stronger gun laws and say this issue is “very important” to their vote. An even larger group (64%) says that they would never vote for a candidate who didn’t support “requiring background checks on all gun sales,” outranking 13 other social and economic policy positions as the top voting determinant. Responses like these underscore that suburban women increasingly want a leader committed to gun safety.