Gabby Giffords Resigns From Congress

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ): Arizona is my home, always will be. A lot has happened over the past year. We cannot change that. But I know on the issues we fought for we can change things for the better. Jobs, border security, veterans. 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 me 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 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. Thank you very much.”

Reaction from NJDC after the jump.
 The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) reacted today to the news that Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) will be stepping down from her seat in Congress representing Arizona’s Eighth District. NJDC Chair Marc R. Stanley and Vice-Chair Marc Winkelman said:

“We are so tremendously proud of the remarkable determination and resiliency that Gabby has shown in her amazing recovery; indeed all Americans have watched in awe as she has taken her first steps and grown stronger and stronger. While we have all eagerly hoped for the day that Gabby would rejoin her colleagues on a daily basis on Capitol Hill, it’s a sign of how highly she values her constituents and her district that she has made this very difficult decision to step aside. We thank Gabby for her more than ten years of public service representing Arizona’s needs and progressive values — first in the Arizona legislature and then in Congress since 2007. We wish her continued quick healing on her path to recovery, and we look forward to the occasion when we can welcome her back to public life.”

 

Jewish Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) Shot


Rep. Giffords recites portion of the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing the “right of the people peaceably to assemble”.

Marc R. Stanley and Marc Winkelman

We are stunned and horrified by the attack today on Gabby Giffords, Arizona’s first Jewish Congresswoman. Representative Giffords is a courageous and vibrant leader dedicated to advancing the causes and values we care so deeply about. Beyond being an advocate for health care reform and immigration reform, as well as the people of Arizona, she is our close friend. Gabby, those who were murdered and injured, and their families all remain in our thoughts and prayers.

The tragic attack on Representative Giffords, her staff, and citizens participating in the practice of democracy in Arizona is beyond reprehensible. One suspect, now in custody, may be directly responsible for this crime. But it is fair to say – in today’s political climate, and given today’s political rhetoric – that many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse that have surely contributed to the atmosphere in which this event transpired. Throughout the health care reform debate, we saw an ever-worsening level of political discourse – frequently pointing fingers at Democratic members of Congress who were supposedly directly threatening our country and our way of life. As elections approached, members of Congress increasingly received death threats, even as our public debate became more and more coarse.

Image from SarahPAC.com showing Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as one of Sarah Palin’s targets.

As we learned in Israel through the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, words – and an eroding public discourse – can have profound consequences. The rhetoric of hate and anger must be banished from our political discourse before the next calamity takes place.

The loss of any life – and the injury of any American – is unacceptable. While we do not yet know exactly what motivated this deranged gunman, improving the tenor of our public debate can only help. It is up to us to act now. Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.

Video of Rep. Giffords response to vandalism at her office follows the jump.