The recent declaration of Gabrielle Giffords’ departure from the House of Representatives may not be the end of her political career.
Anyone listening, watching, and observing the politician may view her heartfelt speech as a real goodbye. However, I think that it may just be the beginning of what may be a very interesting few years to follow. Gifford’s emotional recovery from her gun wounds in the last year has captivated Americans and international followers alike, Democrat or Republican- this was the story of a real person struggling with real life consequences. Her story brought a very public politician’s profile down to those of, well, people she serves. It was a sudden backseat for an otherwise rising and thriving Democrat politician- and even further, a young female at that.
I first met Giffords in 2007 when I interned for her Tucson office. It was my first internship after a year at Wellesley College, and at nineteen years of age, I had already found reasons to like her and want to be like her (this is my nineteen year old voice, after all). She attended Scripps, another all-women college, she called Arizona her home, and she was young, good looking politician, and a Democrat in Arizona of all states. She was on one of her short trips to Tucson and she was dressed in a baby blue suit which hugged her very perfect figure, with a very wide smile and blonde, highlighted hair. Very politician-like of course and she thanked me for all my hard work though I am sure she did not exactly know what I did there and what my name was. Either way, her team was energetic and I knew it was where I wanted to get some political exposure right before my sophomore year when I would declare a Political Science major.
The image of Giffords is very different today, but the same political flair still exists. On her Twitter she wrote: “I will return & we will work together for Arizona & this great country.” She never seemed to me like one to give up. She knows her assets, her stories, and she knows how important it is to hold onto a position in a traditionally all-boys club. “She was one of these people, one of the few left in Congress, who could work with people across the aisle and kind of rise above the bitter partisanship that you see in Washington,” said Jeff Rogers, the chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party. That is no surprise given that she comes from a traditionally red state where the last time it voted blue for a president was in 1948 for Truman. Let lone taking on the role of such a figure as a woman is admiring enough.
I hope that she does return to politics and specifically Arizona politics. I could say that she has a responsibility to do so as a female leader who has worked hard to gain the trust of traditionally-Republican constituents in a state struck my bitter debates on immigration and border control. And I do believe that the public will back her up again upon her return, whenever that may be.