Rep. Gabrielle Giffords bid farewell to the House of Representatives Wednesday morning receiving an emotional standing ovation from her colleagues.
The Arizona congresswoman submitted her resignation to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) just over a year after a horrific shooting in Tucson that left six people dead and Giffords critically wounded. Since that time, Giffords has made incredible progress, but she is resigning to continue focusing on her recovery. The House met Wednesday morning to take up Giffords final piece of legislation, designed to give stiffer sentences to smugglers who use small, ultralight aircraft to bring drugs into the U.S. from Mexico.
House leaders paid tribute to Giffords’ public service ahead of her resignation. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Giffords is “the brightest start this Congress has ever seen,” adding that Giffords will be missed.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who is close friends with Giffords, spoke on the resigning congresswoman’s behalf. Holding Giffords’ hand as she talked, Wasserman Schultz said she is “so proud of her friend” after the “tumultuous year” Congress and Giffords have been through. Through tears, Wasserman Schultz read Giffords’ resignation letter.
Giffords in her resignation letter thanked supporters for their patience, cards, wishes of support and ended with a message of hope: that Americans can come together and set a course toward greatness.
“I will recover and will return, and we will work together again, for Arizona and for all Americans,” Giffords wrote.
Watch video from the House floor:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com