Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Steps Down from Congress

In a message to her constituents posted to Youtube, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced Sunday that she is leaving Congress:

“I have more work to do on my recovery so to do what is best for Arizona I will step down this week,” she said.

Giffords served five years in the House of Representatives, and qualified for a congressional pension earlier this month.

She said she would return to public service.

“I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country,” she said in the two-minute video.

In a television interview broadcast in November, she said she would not return to Congress until she was “better.”

After Giffords submits a resignation letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Gov. Jan Brewer, the governor will set a date for special elections to choose who will finish out Giffords’ term, which — like all House terms — runs through the end of the year.

On January 8, 2011, Giffords was a victim of an assassination attempt wile meeting with constituents at a Tuscon supermarket. She was critically injured by a gunshot wound to the head. Thirteen people were injured and six killed in the shooting, including federal judge John Roll and Giffords aide Gabriel Zimmerman. The Congresswoman was later brought to a rehabilitation facility in Houston, Texas, where she recovered some of her ability to walk, speak, read and write. On May 16, 2011, she had recovered enough to travel to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch of the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour, commanded by her husband Mark Kelly.

Jared Lee Loughner was detained by bystanders until he was arrested by authorities and charged with 49 counts of killing federal government employees, attempting to assassinate a member of Congress, and attempting to kill federal employees.

Giffords served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2001 to 2003. She was elected to the Arizona Senate in 2002, took office in January of 2003 and was re-elected in 2004. He resigned her State Senate seat in December of 2005 to run for the U.S.Congress.

Now in her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Giffords is a member of both the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition. She sits on Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

- JP

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