Thanks, Gabby!

Since it is local news and political news, I wanted to write and give my thoughts on the resignation of Gabrielle Giffords today. If you haven’t checked it out already, read her resignation letter here. It got me a little choked up. Thinking about the events of Jan. 8, 2011 is strange to me. I’ve lived in Tucson less than four years, and yet I knew people who were victims of the shooting. Folks I knew were present that day at the event. One of those that died was someone I recognized from around the neighborhood, and who I once spoke to in passing. I also know many others who were connected to people who were killed or wounded. I’d like to think that says something about Tucson and the kind of community we have. In the days after the shooting, I have never felt more connected to others as I did attending the memorials and standing outside Giffords’ office with others paying tribute.

Gabby’s survival and recovery so far is really a miracle to me, and an inspiration to this community. Sometimes things happen that are just beyond our ability to explain them. I’m both happy and sad that she has made the decision to resign at this time. I know it will be good for her to have the pressure off (she needed to make a decision soon about running for re-election), but I think she was truly a great representative for us. That she was so popular as a Democrat in this district, even before the attacks, says something about the type of person she was and how well she connected to people. Beyond that, Gabby is also a great role model for young women interested in politics, and it’s sad to see her leaving public life at a time when her example is so needed. Congress is currently about 17% women, and it’s just not enough. Especially with women’s issues so much in the headlines, more female voices should be present (and, yes, I think in both parties) to be a part of these debates.

In her resignation letter, Gabby says that she clings to “[h]ope that our government can represent the best of a nation, not the worst” and “[f]aith that Americans working together–in their communities, in our Congress– can succeed without qualification.” I hope she is right, and I hope that our society can live up to the vision she has for us. Tucson is certainly better for having had her in office, and she will be missed. Best wishes, Gabby, for your recovery and (hopefully) return!

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