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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials June 24, 2016

1/24/2012 1:03:00 PM
Editorial: Giffords’ decision now allows full representation for Arizona

It has been a politically and emotionally awkward situation for a year now, and ultimately U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made the right decision.

Arizona has been without a full congressional delegation ever since Giffords was shot in the head in January 2011. By her survival and tenacity, she instantly became an American hero.

And that’s where it got awkward.

Doctors made it clear from the outset that Gabby’s physical therapy would take a long, long time after such traumatic brain injury. Diane Sawyer’s ABC interview with Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly last year was both absorbing and enlightening. Her Tucson-area electorate, Democrats and Republicans alike, realized reality.

Arizonans saw then how extraordinary Giffords has been throughout this process, and we’ve cheered her on as we would any person in such a circumstance, congresswoman or not. But it was clear that Gabby could not in the near future fulfill the task she was elected for.

Democrats were reluctant to call for her resignation. This was for political reasons, a special election being dangerous, but also to avoid the appearance of surrendering to the gunman’s intentions. Republicans and those of other political leanings hesitated because no one wants to look like a callous opportunist. That would be political suicide. Even the mainstream media avoided the obvious question.

The fact is, Arizona has had seven representatives in the House for more than a year and would have had only seven representatives for the rest of Gabby Giffords term, and probably beyond.

While Giffords has represented the former District 8 by her inspirational story better than some healthy U.S. representatives, it is time for Arizona to be fully represented in Washington, D.C. It was a well thought-out decision by Giffords and Kelly.

Now she can get back to her full-time job as an American hero.

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