“There isn’t a name that stirs more love, more admiration, or more respect than the name of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.” –Nancy Pelosi
As President Obama described, Gabby Giffords “embodies the very best of what public service should be;” thus, it is a great privilege to recognize former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords as our first honoree for Running Start’s 2012 Women to Watch Awards.
Only two years after beginning her career in public service in the Arizona State House, Congresswoman Giffords became the youngest woman elected to the Arizona Senate. Having championed healthcare reform and higher educational standards, Congresswoman Giffords went on to serve Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District in Congress, where her work on border security, clean energy, and rights for military families led her to win all of the elections in which she ran. Congresswoman Giffords prioritized collaboration at every step in her career of public service, making her “the brightest start Congress had ever seen,” in the words of House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi.
On January 8th, 2011, Congresswoman Giffords was the victim of an assassination attempt that took six lives and injured twelve others. Having sustained life-threatening injuries, Congresswoman Giffords pursued her recovery with extraordinary strength, leaving the nation with great admiration and hope. While Congresswoman Giffords’s career reminded all Americans of the importance of partnership and collaboration, her bravery and determination to recover evidenced the best of the human spirit.
At the 2012 Women to Watch Awards, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who described meeting and serving with Gabby as “one of the great treasures of [her] life,” will join Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in recognizing Congresswoman Gifford’s extraordinary achievements.
In a political climate in which polarization and division often obstruct progress, Congresswoman Giffords has consistently reminded us of the importance of cooperation. As Congresswoman Giffords explained in her resignation video, “We can do so much more by working together.”
Please join Running Start on May 9th in welcoming Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in honoring this extraordinary public servant and American hero.