House members pay tribute to Giffords in emotional farewell
Congresswoman officially resigns from office
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Many tears on both sides of the aisle, as U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords officially resigns from office more than a year after being shot in the head.
“This past year my colleagues and staff have worked to make sure my constituents were represented in Congress,” Giffords wrote in her resignation letter. “But if I can’t return, my district deserves to elect a U.S. Representative who can give 100 percent to the job now.”
Giffords’ colleagues took the opportunity to wish her well, paying tribute to a leader they say embodies constituent service and bipartisanship.
“You will be missed in the House of Representatives, but your legacy in this Congress and your leadership in our nation will certainly endure,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Giffords handed her resignation letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, with her mom and husband there in support.
Mark Kelly spoke to 9 On Your Side afterward, saying the moment was bittersweet.
“She did this job with every ounce of effort that she possibly could. To see that come to an end was sad, but it’s also a little inspirational to hear her colleagues reflect on her service,” Kelly said.
He said the difficult decision came after Giffords realized she will not be ready to return to work this year, much less able to run for reelection.
Constituents were the focus of Giffords’ years in office and are the same reason she decided to step down – so they can be better served.
“This is only a pause in that public service. She will one day return to public service to represent them as she has so capably for the last 5 and a half years,” said her friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a U.S. Representative from Florida.
Kelly said Giffords will focus on rehabilitation and recovery, although he said she will miss her job dearly.
“What she’ll miss the most is interacting with her constituents – the people of southern Arizona whom she really, really cares about,” Kelly said. “But she’ll be back at some point.”