Gabrielle Giffords Shot

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head by a gunman at a public event in Tucson on Saturday. There are conflicting reports about whether she was killed. The Pima County, Ariz., sheriff’s office told member station KJZZ the 40-year-old Democrat was killed. A hospital spokeswoman said Giffords was in critical condition and undergoing surgery.

At least eight other people, including members of her staff, were injured. There also were conflicting reports on the number of deaths at the scene, but President Obama, in a statement, said “we know that some have passed away” and that Giffords was “gravely wounded.”

Giffords (born June 8, 1970) is an American politician and the U.S. Representative for Arizona’s 8th congressional district. She is a member of the Democratic Party, and was the third woman in Arizona’s history to be elected to serve in the U.S. Congress. The district encompasses the southeastern part of the state. It includes all of Cochise County and parts of Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz counties.

A native of Tucson, Arizona, she is a graduate of Cornell University and Scripps College. Prior to serving in the United States House of Representatives, Giffords served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2001 until 2003, and the Arizona State Senate from 2003 until 2005, when she resigned to run for the seat held by then-Congressman Jim Kolbe. She also worked as an associate for regional economic development in New York City, and as CEO of El Campo Tire Warehouses, a local automotive chain. Giffords has served two terms in the United States House of Representatives, and was narrowly elected to a third in the 2010 midterm elections. Her stance on health care reform and illegal immigration was a source of attention for those opposed to her candidacy, and has made her a recipient of criticism from various conservative groups. Giffords, who was re-elected to a third term in November, was hosting a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.

Political positions

Abortion, Giffords is pro-choice, with a 100% rating from NARAL.

Economics, Giffords voted for Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, and for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Education, Giffords argues that Americans are competing on a global level and that this competition starts in the classroom. She is a critic of the No Child Left Behind law, viewing it as an unfunded federal mandate. She supports public schools and their improved efficiency.

Energy, Giffords strongly supports renewable energy, in particular solar energy, as a top public policy priority. In September 2007 she published a report titled: The Community Solar Energy Initiative, Solar Energy in Southern Arizona, observing that Arizona has enough sunshine to power the entire United States. It reviews current energy usage and discusses how to increase the production of solar electricity.

Gun rights, Giffords supports gun rights. She opposed the Washington DC gun ban, signing an Amicus curiae brief with the US Supreme Court to support its overturn. She has a D+ rating from the NRA and a D- from the GOA.

Immigration and border security, Arizona’s 8th Congressional District is one of 10 in the country bordering Mexico. Giffords has stated that the Arizona SB1070 legislation is a “clear calling that the federal government needs to do a better job”.

The congresswoman was transported to University Medical Center in Tucson.

Giffords’ Tucson office was one of three damaged last March by vandals who targeted Democrats in advance of the U.S. House vote on the controversial health care legislation. A glass panel at her office was shattered, and at the time her staff said that it appeared the window had been damaged by a pellet gun.

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