WASHINGTON, DC (ABC News) - Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will step down from the House this week and not seek re-election when her current term expires this year, she announced today.
Giffords has made a stunning recovery after being shot in the head when a gunman 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.
“I have more work to do on my recovery and so to do what is best for Arizona I will step down this week,” Giffords, speaking clearly but slowly and haltingly, said in a video posted online Sunday. “Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover.”
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 will also attend Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
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.”
Statement by Congressman Brian Higgins on the Departure of Rep. Giffords
“Congresswoman Giffords had long been recognized as a fighter in the House of Representatives but over the last year her strength has served as an inspiration for the entire nation. Despite her departure she will continue to be a living example of the remarkable power of perseverance when facing momentous obstacles. We will miss our colleague and our friend but wish her and her family health and happiness as she continues her great recovery.”