Why She Matters
After being reelected to a third House term by barely 4,000 votes in 2010, the 40-year-old Giffords was shot in the head Jan. 8, 2011, by deranged constituent Jared Loughner at a Tucson meeting just a few days after the 112th Congress was sworn-in.
She spent the first two weeks recovering from surgery at Tucson's University Medical Center and doctors were very optimistic about her chances given the gravity of her injuries. On Jan. 21, 2011, Giffords was moved to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center (TIRR) for a longer recovery process.
Giffords astoundingly returned to the halls of Congress and co-sponsored a bill a bill that would give federal law enforcement greater authority in combating cross-border drug trafficking.
In an emotional farewell highlighted by tributes made by members of both parties, Giffords resigned from the House on Jan. 25, 2012 — bringing a brief moment of unity to one of the most bitterly partisan and contentious Congresses in modern history.