- NAME: Gabrielle Giffords
- OCCUPATION: U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: June 08, 1970 (Age: 43)
- Did You Know?: In 2007, Giffords became only the third Arizona woman to be elected to U.S. Congress.
- EDUCATION: Scripps College, Cornell University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Tucson, Arizona
- Nickname: Gabby
- Full Name: Gabrielle Dee Giffords
- AKA: Gabrielle Giffords
- ZODIAC SIGN: Gemini
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Gabrielle Giffords is a former Arizona congresswoman who made headlines when she became the victim of an assassination attempt, from which she later recovered.
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Born in Arizona in 1970, Gabrielle Giffords worked as an urban planner before winning election to the Arizona State House of Representatives in 2002. She was elected to U.S. Congress in 2007—only the third Arizona woman to do so. Giffords was the victim of an assassination attempt in 2011. She recovered in time to see her husband command the last flight of the space shuttle Endeavor, and to vote on the debt-ceiling bill, before resigning from Congress in 2012.
"The only way I ever served my district ... was by giving 100 percent."
Gabrielle Dee "Gabby" Giffords was born on June 8, 1970, in Tucson, Arizona, to mother Gloria Kay and father Spencer J. Giffords. Giffords was raised in a an upper middle-class Tucson family that included famous relatives such as director Bruce Paltrow and his daughter, actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Giffords earned her bachelor degree from Scripps College in 1993, majoring in Latin American history and sociology. Her hard work was rewarded with a coveted William Fulbright Scholarship, which she used to study in Chihuahua, Mexico. While she earned a master's degree in urban planning at Cornell University, Giffords worked as a planner at the University of San Diego, followed by a job at Price Waterhouse in 1996. She then returned to Tucson to take on the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of her family's tire company, El Campo Tire, Inc. Giffords earned a master's degree in urban planning from Cornell University in 1997, but continued working for her family's business until 2000, when she decided to form her own business. That year, she formed a commercial property management firm in Tucson, and served as its managing partner.
Also in 2000 Giffords, at one time a Republican, switched over to the Democratic party and decided to try her hand at politics. She was elected to a seat in the Arizona State House on her first try for office. After serving one term, Giffords ran for Arizona Senate in 2002, winning 74 percent of the vote after incumbent Democratic Senator Virginia Yrun decided to end her campaign due to personal issues. With her victory, Giffords became the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona Senate. She was re-elected in 2004, after defeating Republican Charles Josephson, 64 percent to 33 percent.
Her term was short-lived, however; the self-described "centrist Democrat" resigned from office in December 2005 to seek the congressional seat being vacated by Representative Jim Kolbe of the 8th Congressional Disctrict. As the first to announce her candidacy for Kolbe's seat, Giffords established herself as his natural replacement, and began an aggressive campaign for the seat. By the September 2006 primary, Giffords had rasied more than $1 million in campaign contributions. Come election time, the former state Senator defeated Republican Randy Graf by earning 54 percent of the vote.
Giffords earned re-election in 2008, defeating Republican state Senate President Timothy Bee, a childhood schoolmate, with 55 percent of the vote. She also sits on the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Science & Technology committees, and chairs both the Energy & Environment and Space & Aeronautics subcommittees.
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When the 19th Amendment was ratified, women were finally given the right to vote, and over the years many courageous women have stepped onto the national political stage as well. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress and almost a century later Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to serve on the Supreme Court. And within the last two decades, the esteemable Hillary Clinton has served as First Lady, a New York senator and Secretary of State. These women, and many more, are setting the stage for the future of female leaders in Washington.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women."
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