Mr. Speaker, a little more than a year ago, America witnessed a heinous attack on Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, her staff and the citizens of Tucson. This attack took six innocent lives, including Gabe Zimmerman’s, injured thirteen and shook all of us in the Congressional community and our nation to the core.
This attack was a stark reminder that even in this country where freedom of speech and public demonstration are the cornerstones of our democracy; citizens and public officials can face violence and danger. We will never forget those who lost their lives on that fateful day, or the brave efforts of law enforcement, community members and a very special intern who responded in the emergency.
I know I speak for all of my colleagues when I say we are inspired, hopeful, and blessed for the incredible progress that Gabby has made in her recovery. Gabby’s courage, strength and her downright fortitude are an inspiration to all of us and all Americans.
As Gabby leaves the House today, she has decided to focus her energies on recovery. But she has refused to give up her fight for the people of her beloved Arizona and her country. And as such, today, we will vote on her legislation to help secure our nation’s southwestern border. Gabby’s bill gives law enforcement greater authority to penalize those who seek to do us harm by engaging in illegal activity along the border. I commend Gabby for her commitment to work on this and her unwavering commitment to a safer, more secure America.
For the past six years, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords has served Arizona’s 8th district with dedication and dignity. I want to recognize her accomplishments here, and thank her staff in their exceptional service, dedication and, yes, courage during these difficult times.
Mr. Speaker, I especially want to recognize her Chief of Staff, Pia Carusone. I know having met with Pia personally, her having worked with our office, she has demonstrated incredible dedication to her coworkers and to you, Gabby. Mr. Speaker, she has demonstrated unparalleled leadership for the people of the 8th district of Arizona and for that, I know they are and we are very grateful.
On Sunday, I received a call from Captain Mark Kelly, as we all know is Gabby’s husband, who informed me of Gabby’s decision. Mark has been steadfast in his support of his wife, and forever by her side as her best friend and partner. Though Gabby may be leaving Washington today, I know this won’t be the last we see of her or Mark.
We wish you, Gabby, and we wish Mark, the best as they continue the process of Gabby's recovery. I will say once again, Mr. Speaker, Congresswoman Gabby Gifford's strength against all odds served and will continue to serve as a daily inspiration to all of us.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)
House Floor Remarks
January 25, 2012