I think we can all agree that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is an amazing woman. Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or somewhere in between, I have a feeling you’ve been rooting for the woman many of us now just call “Gabby. Her remarkable story of endurance and courage on her road to recovery following the devastating shooting and assassination attempt one year ago is truly inspirational, one which has led many people to wonder whether it just might be possible for her to resume her congressional duties and whether she might even run for re-election in 2012. There’s even been speculation that Giffords would entertain a run for U.S. Senate.
While her progress has been nothing short of remarkable, Giffords has announced that she will resign from her Arizona congressional seat after the President’s State of the Union address, allowing her to focus on her ongoing physical recovery.
In a video released this weekend, speaking much more clearly than in the TV interview she did with her husband Mark Kelly in November, Giffords said her decision was the best one for her and her constituents. She thanked supporters for their prayers, saying, “I have more work to do on my recovery, so [stepping down was] best for Arizona,” rather than waiting until her re-election filing deadline in May.
One of Giffords’ best friends, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, commented on Giffords’ decision on her own congressional website:
“Gabby has had such a positive impact on our nation. Even in announcing her resignation, she reminds us that ‘we can do so much more by working together.’ We will miss Gabby’s spirit in Congress and I will miss working with my friend day-to-day, but I am confident that she will return to public service and we can all work together for America.”
Giffords did tip her hat about her future in her video, saying that she “will return.” It’s hard to know what that means, but Giffords’ best Capitol Hill friends Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have been holding fundraisers for Giffords potential future campaigns since the shooting, giving her the option of getting back into a world where a candidate needs money, as well as voter support, to win.
Giffords’ shooting prompted lawmakers to attend last year’s State of the Union address with a “date” from the opposite political party in the spirit of bipartisanship, so it’s heartening to see that Giffords will be attending this year’s event to further promote her desire for more across the aisle efforts. As she continues her recovery, I can only hope that at least a few members of each political party will take that bipartisan moment to heart.
The original version of this post was written for iVillage.com, where I’ll be working on 2012 election coverage through November!