VIDEO: Gabrielle Giffords Bids Farewell—for Now

Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.)Will Seberger/UPPA/ZUMA Press

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

On Wednesday, Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) stepped down from her seat in the House of Representatives. In her farewell speech—read on the House floor by her colleague and close friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.)—Giffords thanked her colleagues and constituents, and briefly touched on key issues that have been close to her heart while in office:

In public service, I found a venue for my pursuit of a stronger America—by ensuring the safety and security of all Americans, by producing clean energy here at home instead of importing oil from abroad, and by honoring our brave men and women in uniform with the benefits they earned. I found a way to care for others. And in the past year, I have found a value that is unbreakable even by the most vicious of attacks.

Here is C-SPAN footage of the emotional goodbye (click here to read the full text of her speech, as well as her letter of resignation to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer):

Giffords—a respected Blue Dog Democrat—has been recovering for the past year from a gunshot wound to the head she sustained during a 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona. At the “Congress on Your Corner” public event held in front of a Safeway on January 8, 2011, gunman Jared Lee Loughner opened fire, killing six attendees and wounding another thirteen.

Unsurprisingly, an outpouring of support came from both sides of the aisle on Wednesday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Giffords the “brightest star among us,” and said that she “brought the word ‘dignity’ to new heights” in her recovery from the assassination attempt. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) tweeted: “Rep. Giffords is an inspirational leader who will be missed [in] #Congress. R’s, D’s wish her nothing but the best as she continues to recover.”

On Tuesday night, reverence for Giffords was also on full bipartisan display as she attended President Obama’s State of the Union address. Her arrival inside the House chamber was especially poignant.

In her formal letter of resignation, also submitted to House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, Giffords wrapped up her farewell by promising, “I will recover and will return.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest