Wounded US Congresswoman Giffords to Step Down

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Photo: AP In this photo provided by the office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Giffords and husband Mark Kelly pose outside of Tucson, Arizona, January 7, 2012.

U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has announced she will resign from Congress, a year after she was seriously wounded in a shooting spree in her home state of Arizona.

In a video statement posted on the Internet Sunday, Giffords said she is getting better, but that work remains for her recovery.  She said she is stepping down for the good of the state she represents.


Giffords said she plans to return to work for the state and the country again.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Giffords’ “cheerful presence” will be missed.  He said she embodies “the very best” of public service and will remain an inspiration to him and others whose lives she touched. He said he is confident she will return to the public sphere eventually.

In the video, Giffords’ halting speech is interspersed with photos and video from before the shooting and during her recovery. She said that she does not remember much from “that horrible day,” but that she will never forget the trust placed in her by her constituents, and she thanked them for their prayers.

Giffords was shot in the head and nearly died in the January 8, 2011 attack, which occurred outside a grocery store where she was holding a meeting with her constituents. The 41-year-old Democratic Party congresswoman has made a remarkable recovery amid a long and intensive rehabilitation process, enabling her to return to Congress last August to cast a vote on legislation raising the federal government’s debt ceiling.

Six people were killed in the same attack, including a federal judge, a member of Giffords’ staff and a nine-year-old girl. A dozen other people were wounded.

The man charged in the shooting, Jared Loughner, has pleaded not guilty.  It has been reported that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and he has been in jail since the crime.