Gabby Returns to Tucson (for the weekend)!

Nothing fancy, here — just the press release issued by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ office this afternoon:


Brief private visit follows release from Houston rehab hospital

TUCSON – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will return to her hometown of Tucson this weekend for a brief private visit with her family.

Giffords will make no public appearances and will grant no interviews during the visit, her first to Arizona since January.

“We’ve been dreaming of this trip for some time,” said Giffords’ husband, Navy Capt. Mark Kelly. “Gabby misses Tucson very much and her doctors have said that returning to her hometown could play an important role in her recovery. It is sure to be very emotional. For this reason, I hope the media understands our need for privacy.”

The much-anticipated visit follows her discharge from TIRR Memorial Hermann and the start of outpatient treatment.

“For five long months, Gabby has been living and working in the rehab facility in Houston,” Kelly said. “Now that she is an outpatient, her first priority is coming home to the place that is such a source of strength for her.”

Giffords, a third-generation Tucsonan, was flown to Houston on Jan. 21 in critical condition. She has undergone intensive rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann since Jan. 26. Giffords’ family selected that facility because it consistently has been recognized as one of the top-rated rehabilitation hospitals in the country.

Giffords will travel by private plane from Houston to Tucson on Friday with her husband and one of his two daughters. She will spend Father’s Day weekend with her family.

Over the past five months in Houston, the congresswoman frequently has expressed her desire to return home and said how much she misses Tucson. She has talked regularly with friends and visitors from Tucson and maintains a keen interest in events in her hometown.

Since arriving at TIRR, Giffords has left Houston twice. In late April, she flew to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the planned launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, commanded by Kelly, a NASA astronaut. Mechanical problems forced a launch delay and Giffords flew back to Florida two weeks later for the successful May 16 launch.

Kelly returned from a 16-day mission to the International Space Station on June 1 and was reunited with the congresswoman a day later. Giffords celebrated her 41st birthday on June 8.


I’ve written “Gabby-Watch” posts for recently, here and here.

Gabby Giffords: “The Time for Solar is Now”

Congresswoman Gabby Giffords at her Tucson home shows off her newly-installed solar panels, 2010.

Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords likes to call solar power “the bridge to our future.” Since taking office in January, 2006, Gabby has been both a chief engineer and a tireless construction worker on that solar bridge.

Solar is very serious. Between solar hot water, concentrating solar power, and photovoltaics, solar technologies have the potential to make a dramatic contribution to our energy challenges right now. But as they say in politics, perception is reality. That, in my view, is the number one challenge facing the solar industry in the United States.

Gabrielle Giffords, address to the Solar Economic Forum, 10 September 2009

A former Fulbright scholar with a Master’s degree in Regional Planning from Cornell University, Gabby brings a keen intellect and a solid understanding of our physical infrastructure to the debate on the nation’s energy future. She has often said that her commitment to developing renewable energy sources — solar in particular — is based on three inseparable issues:  Economic prosperity (in the form green-tech jobs), national security (energy independence), and environmental protection — especially fighting climate change.

“My mission as an elected official,” Gabby once said, “is to help move solar policy forward.”

Not that solar power has been her only mission. Gabby has taken strong stands on many other important issues, including support for veterans and active service men and women, immigration and fiscal responsibility. But it’s in working for solar energy that she truly shines.

Terrain (“A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments”) has called Gabby “the U.S.’s strongest elected representative for renewable energy.”

Given her priorities — and the fact that we share them — The Phoenix Sun will focus on providing information about “solar power and environmental news from the American Southwest” — just like it says on our masthead. We have a deep affection for and appreciation of Congresswoman Giffords, but there are many sources for news about the tragedy in Tucson and, specifically, about Gabby’s condition.

We believe that continuing to work for a renewable energy future is the best way to honor Gabby, especially if you believe, as she does, and as we do, that “the time for solar is now.

There’s more on Gabby’s rooftop array here.

Candlelight Vigil For Giffords and Other Victims of Tucson Shooting

A drum circle was part of a candlelight vigil held this evening at the Arizona statehouse grounds

Several hundred people gathered on the Arizona statehouse grounds in Phoenix for a candlelight vigil tonight after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded in Tucson by a gunman who shot seventeen people after the assassination attempt on Giffords. Six people died in the shooting, including Federal District Judge John M. Roll, and nine-year-old Christina Greene.

Giffords remains in intensive care at a Tucson hospital tonight after undergoing surgery for a single gunshot wound to the head.

Earlier today, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told reporters, “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government…the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

Tucson is in Pima County.