Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ-8)

Arizona District 8

Update January 25, 2012:

Mrs. Giffords resignation becomes official. This seat is now vacant.
End January 25, 2012 update…

Update January 23, 2012:

Mrs. Giffords will resign the week of January 23, 2012. She was shot January 8, 2011 at a constituent-service event in her district. Six people were killed that day, including a 9 year old girl.

The Congresswoman released a video announcing the resignation.

Once Mrs. Giffords resignation become official, Gov. Jan Brewer will have 72 hours to call a special election. Primaries should be held 80 to 90 days of Governor Brewers call. With the election being held with 50 to 60 days of the primary.

End January 23, 2012 update…

Gabrielle Giffords, Biography from

Biography of Congressman Gabrielle Giffords

On November 4, 2008, Gabrielle Giffords was re-elected by the people of Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District – a diverse area that covers 9,000 square miles including a 114 mile border with Mexico. For almost ten years, Giffords has dedicated herself to public service as an elected official.  A third generation Tucsonan, she represented her hometown in the Arizona Legislature from 2000-2005 where she was the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate.

Upon entering Congress, Giffords quickly became a leading champion of solar energy, immigration reform, and the needs of military families and veterans.  Consistently ranked as one of the most centrist legislators in Congress, she is a strong supporter of fiscal responsibility, bipartisanship and government accountability.

Involving southern Arizonans in shaping policies and strategically solving community problems is the cornerstone of her work.  Giffords’ inclusive and collaborative approach allows her to bring all viewpoints to the table and the best ideas to Washington.

Before entering public office, Giffords took over her family’s tire and automotive business. As the President and Chief Executive Officer of El Campo Tire, Inc, she faced the struggles that many small business owners in Arizona and America face.  In Washington, Giffords works hard to be a voice for small businesses and is a tireless advocate for spending restraint and honest budgeting.

Representing thousands of military families and veterans in southern Arizona, Giffords proudly serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Subcommittees on Air and Land Forces and Military Readiness.  She works closely with Army and Air Force officials at Southern Arizona’s outstanding installations: Fort Huachuca, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and the 162nd Air National Guard. Bringing their interests and concerns to Washington is one of her top priorities.  Click here to see a summary of Giffords’ record on military and veterans issues.

On the House Science and Technology Committee, Congresswoman Giffords promotes an agenda of energy independence and solar initiatives in an effort to make Southern Arizona the “Solar-con Valley” of the nation.  She is also Vice Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition.

In her district, Giffords launched a Community Solar Energy Initiative to mobilize support and action for the increased use of solar energy.  It includes an advisory council of university researchers, business leaders, elected officials and interested citizens to make recommendations on how solar energy could be advanced in Arizona.  This effort also led to the introduction and passage of legislation to encourage research and development and the training of a solar energy installation workforce.  Giffords also fought for an eight-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit for commercial and residential solar projects. Click here to see Giffords’ record on renewable energy.

In January of 2009, Congresswoman Giffords was selected to serve as Chair of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. In this new role, she is leading the conversation around future space exploration, including the University of Arizona’s Phoenix Mars Mission; expanding aviation research; and working to inspire the next generation of math and science pioneers.  Click here to learn more about Giffords’ work as Chair of this important subcommittee.

Combining her work on the Armed Services and Science Committees, Giffords is taking the lead in Congress to promote increased use of renewable energy at military installations throughout the country.

On the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Giffords is focused on conditions in Mexico and Central America concerning national security, economic development and immigration.  In particular, she helped reform a State Department initiative aimed at reducing drug trafficking and cartel violence along the U.S. – Mexico border.  Her legislative effort ensured coordination with state and local law enforcement officials. Giffords also serves as Vice Chair of the U.S.-Mexico Interparliamentary Group.  Click here to see Giffords’ record on immigration and foreign policy.

Giffords holds a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from Cornell University and a B.A. from Scripps College where she was awarded a William Fulbright Scholarship to study for a year in Chihuahua, Mexico. She is married to Captain Mark Kelly, a Navy Pilot and NASA astronaut, and is the only U.S. Representative with an active duty military spouse.

Biography from Giffords for Congress.

Gabrielle is a third generation Southern Arizonan who provides a strong voice for our community and superior constituency services for the citizens she represents. Whether you are a Republican rancher, an independent small business owner or a Democratic Air Force veteran, she fights for your needs every day in Congress.

Since first taking office in 2007, Gabrielle has established herself as one of the most centrist members of Congress. She is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and New Democrat Coalition working for fiscally conservative, pro-business economic policies. Click here to read more about Gabrielle’s work on job creation, deficit reduction and tax relief.

Gabrielle serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. Since taking office, she has fought to fix our broken immigration system by increasing the ‘boots on the ground’ along the border through deployment of National Guard troops; providing those forces and border residents 21st century communications technology; aggressively prosecuting border smuggling and creating a path to legalization that requires illegal immigrants to pass a criminal background check, pay back taxes and fines, learn English and go to the back of the line behind those waiting to enter the U.S. legally. Click here to read more about Gabrielle’s work for border security.

As the only member of Congress with an active-duty military spouse, Gabrielle is committed to supporting Arizona’s veterans and military families. She is the first southern Arizonan to serve on the House Committee on Armed Services, where she sits on the Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces and the Subcommittee on Readiness. In 2009, the National Guard Association of the United States awarded her the Charles Dick Medal of Merit, presented to elected representatives in state and federal government who have demonstrated positive and lasting support for the National Guard over an extended period of time. Click here to read more about Gabrielle’s work for Southern Arizona military families and facilities.

She also serves on the House Committee on Science and Technology and in 2009 was appointed Chair of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. [Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), has been the Chair since Jan 2011 Congressman Giffords is the Ranking Member now.]

Throughout her time in office, Gabrielle has dedicated herself to advancing Arizona’s solar energy industry, advocating not only for the environmental benefits of solar power, but also its great potential to create high-paying local jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Click here to read more about Gabrielle’s work for renewable energy.

Born and raised in Arizona, she is a longtime gun owner and strong supporter of the Second Amendment. In 2008, she joined in an amicus brief for District of Columbia v. Heller asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the appellate court ruling that overturned the controversial DC gun ban.

Before her election to Congress, Gabrielle represented her hometown of Tucson in the Arizona Legislature from 2001 through 2005. In 2004, she was the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate. That same year, the Mental Health Association of Arizona honored her as the Legislator of the Year.

As former president and CEO of El Campo Tire, her family’s tire and automotive business, Gabrielle experienced many of the challenges facing small business owners today. She fights hard in Congress to ensure local businesses have access to credit and other needed resources so they can keep their doors open and keep our economy going during these tough times.

Gabrielle’s commitment to her community extends far beyond her service in public office. She has devoted her time as a member of over a dozen local boards including the 162nd Air National Guard Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee, Metropolitan YMCA, Anti-Defamation League, Beat Cancer Boot Camp and Tohono Chul Park.

She was named Woman of the Year by Tucson Business Edge, Woman on the Move by the YWCA and one of America’s Eight Young Leaders Worth Watching by Gannett News Service.

Gabrielle has a strong background in domestic and international economic development. She graduated from Cornell University in 1996 with a master’s degree in regional planning after earning her B.A. from Scripps College. Between her undergraduate and graduate programs, she studied for a year in Chihuahua, Mexico on a Fulbright Scholarship and worked as a researcher in San Diego studying the effects of Operation Gatekeeper II on the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Gabrielle’s family has strong ties to Tucson and Sierra Vista. Her father served on the board of the Tanque Verde Unified School District and her mother is an art conservator. Her grandparents lived in Southeastern Arizona and are buried at Fort Huachuca. She is a member of Tucson’s Congregation Chaverim and was recently appointed one of five congressional members to serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

Gabrielle is the only member of Congress with a spouse on active duty in the military. Her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, is a Navy pilot, veteran of Desert Storm and an astronaut with the NASA space shuttle program. Gabrielle and Mark enjoy hiking and spending time with their family in the canyons and deserts of Arizona.

Gabrielle also is an avid motorcycle rider and a member of the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus. She hopes to ride her bike to Argentina one day, but for now she opts for Highway 83 between Tucson and Patagonia.

Do you know where you still on the political spectrum? See “Political Beliefs, Where Are You” to find out where you stand.

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