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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Giffords to resign from Congress

Jim O’Rourke
Jim O’Rourke / Arizona Daily Wildcat A one year anniversary memorial service was held to remember those who were effected by the Jan. 8 shootings on the UofA Mall on Sunday. Among those who spoke were Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly and Peter Rhee MD.

A little more than a year after being critically wounded from a gunshot, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced that she will resign from Congress this week.

“I have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for Arizona, I will step down this week,” Giffords said in a video posted on her Facebook page.

Giffords has been an Arizona representative since the 2006 election, and was a member of the Arizona Legislature for five years prior to her time in Congress.

“This was a complete surprise, I was not expecting it at all,” said Jason Brown, a political science senior who has interned for Giffords since the fall of 2009. “She is doing what’s best for her and her district, and I hope that after she spends a lot of time recovering and focusing on herself, she will run again in the near future.”

Brown said after Giffords’ resignation on Sunday, he is unsure if his internship will carry on in some other facet. If his internship is terminated, Brown said he will have the time to volunteer on a campaign for a candidate who shares similar viewpoints with the congresswoman.

Giffords was re-elected in 2010 to a two-year term set to expire at the end of this year, and Gov. Jan Brewer will schedule special primary and general elections to find someone to fill the remainder of her term. Partisan and nonpartisan student groups on campus said they will work to ensure student voter turnout in these elections.

Lauren Bouton, president of the UA College Republicans and a political science senior, said that her club will be tabling on the UA Mall and phone banking for Republican candidates vying for the open seat. Bouton said Giffords is a “nice, nice lady” and made an “excellent choice” by stepping down.

“People in her district haven’t had proper legislation since the shooting,” she said. “She needs time to rest and recover.”

The University of Arizona Young Democrats will also support their candidates who run in the special and general elections, according to Erik J. Lundstrom, a political science junior and president of the club.

“They (the candidates) have some big shoes to fill,” Lundstrom said. “We (the club) were hoping she would be able to stay, she represents so well. We hope to see her back.”

Nonpartisan campus group leaders from the Arizona Students’ Association and the Associated Students of the University of Arizona said they will try to get students to participate in the elections and support candidates who prioritize higher education.

“We (ASA) don’t care if you’re Democrat, Republican, Green or Libertarian, we just do our best to try and convince our elected officials that our university needs their support,” said Dan Fitzgibbon, board chair of the Arizona Students’ Association.

Fitzgibbon said the association hopes to kindle a relationship with whomever takes Giffords’ seat, and that they plan on educating students on where each candidate stands regarding issues of higher education.

ASUA President James Allen said Giffords has been an “absolute inspiration” for Tucsonans, the UA community and the nation. Although her resignation is “truly regrettable,” Allen said, ASUA will continue to promote student turnout in upcoming elections.

“I don’t think her impact will ever diminish in politics,” Allen said.

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