U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman who survived an assassination attempt in a massacre that left six others dead one year ago, has announced that she will resign from Congress this week.
Giffords, popularly known as “Gabby,” cited her continuing efforts toward recovery from the life altering head wound she suffered during the shooting as the primary reason for stepping down from her seat. Giffords, 41, was shot at close range in the head during a “Congress On Your Corner” event outside a grocery store in northwest Tucson on Januray 8, 2011.
In a video message to constituents and supporters announcing her resignation, Giffords said, “I have more work to do on my recovery so to do what is best for Arizona I will step down this week.”
“I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country,” she said.
A statement posted on her Congressional website stated that Giffords will attend President Obama’s “State of the Union Address” on Tuesday as one of her final acts as a member of the Congress — she will submit her resignation to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday.
The statement also said Giffords plans to “finish” the Congress on your Corner event where the shooting happened before she leaves office.
Giffords — who has astonished family, friends, and her doctors with her remarkable recovery — represents Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, which encompasses Pima County and the area in and around the city of Tucson.
Prior the the shooting in Tucson last year, Giffords had been considered a rising star in the Democratic party, a member of the House LGBT Equality Caucus, a strong supporter of gay rights, and had been considering a bid for Senate this fall.
During the course of her recovery, she has been absent from Capitol Hill except for a surprise return to vote in August on an agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Giffords “a true bright star — a dynamic and creative public servant.”
“Gabby’s message of bipartisanship and civility is one that all in Washington and the nation should honor and emulate.” Pelosi said in a statement following Giffords’ announcement.
“I join all my colleagues in Congress in thanking Gabby for the honor of calling her colleague and wishing Gabby and Mark great success and happiness. She will be missed in the House of Representatives, but her legacy in the Congress and her leadership for our nation will certainly continue.”