Inspirational U.S. Representative and Best-Selling Author of Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope
U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was first elected to Arizona's 8th Congressional District seat in 2006 and won reelections in 2008 and 2010. Then, on January 8, 2011, a would-be assassin opened fire at a local event in Tucson, where Giffords was meeting with constituents. Six people were killed, and 13 others were injured in the attack. Among the injured was Giffords, who sustained a gunshot wound to the head and faced immediate neurosurgery to treat her life-threatening injuries.
That Gabby Giffords survived the attack is remarkable. Her return to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives less than seven months after her injury to vote on the controversial debt ceiling legislation has been described as miraculous. Her road to this unprecedented recovery speaks volumes to her strength, temerity, and indomitable will to survive.
Giffords was a Fulbright Scholar and holds a bachelor of arts degree from Scripps College and a master’s from Cornell University. Before coming to Washington, DC, she served in the Arizona state House of Representatives from 2001 until 2003 and in the Arizona state Senate from 2003 until 2005, where she was the youngest woman ever elected to that body. Her success was built upon her reliance on the old-fashioned values of kindness, candor, and hard, grueling work.
Upon entering Congress in 2007, Giffords quickly became a leading champion of border security, energy independence, and the needs of military families and veterans. Consistently ranked as one of the most centrist legislators in Congress, she has been a strong supporter of fiscal responsibility, bipartisanship, and government accountability.
Before entering public office, Giffords took over her family's tire and automotive business while in her 20s. As the President and Chief Executive Officer of El Campo Tire, Inc., she developed a keen understanding of the challenges faced by small businesses. In Washington, Giffords was a voice for those small businesses and an advocate of honest budgeting.
Having represented thousands of military families and veterans in Southern Arizona, Giffords served on the House Armed Services Committee and the Subcommittees on Air and Land Forces and Military Readiness. She worked closely with Army and Air Force officials at Southern Arizona's critical installations: Fort Huachuca, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and the 162nd Air National Guard. She took on the concerns of Southern Arizona's soldiers and airmen as her own; representing their interests and the needs of their families in Washington was her passion and privilege.
Giffords resigned her Congressional seat in January 2012, choosing to focus on her continued recovery. Upon stepping down, she announced, "I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country." She lives in Tucson and Houston with her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, a Navy Pilot and NASA astronaut.