Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will step down from the House this week to focus on her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head, but she vowed in a two-minute video announcement of her decision that she will be back.
“I have more work to do on my recovery and so to do what is best for Arizona, I will step down this week,” she said in the video (shown below) which was posted on her website and on YouTube. “I’m getting better every day. My spirit is high. I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country.”
Giffords has made a stunning recovery after being shot in the head by a gunman who opened fire while the Arizona congresswoman was meeting with constituents at a suburban Arizona supermarket in January 2011. But she said in the video today that she needs to focus on her rehabilitation.
“Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover,” she says, speaking clearly but slowly and haltingly, her eyes bright and focused.
Before leaving office, Giffords will complete the “Congress On Your Corner” event that was interrupted last January when 22-year-old gunman Jared Loughner opened fire, killing six and wounding twelve.
Giffords, a Democrat, also plans to attend President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday.
In a statement today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Giffords has been “an inspiring symbol of determination and courage to millions of Americans.”
“Gabby’s message of bipartisanship and civility is one that all in Washington and the nation should honor and emulate,” Pelosi said in the statement. “I join all my colleagues in Congress in thanking Gabby for the honor of calling her colleague and wishing Gabby and Mark great success and happiness. She will be missed in the House of Representatives, but her legacy in the Congress and her leadership for our nation will certainly continue.”
Full statement from Giffords:
“Arizona is my home, always will be. A lot has happened over the past year. We need to not change that but I know on the issues we fought for we can change things for the better. We can do so much more by working together. I don’t remember much from that horrible day but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice. Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover. I have more work to do on my recovery and so to do what is best for Arizona I will step down this week I’m getting better every day. My spirit is high. I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country.”