Woman on the Move

With her election last November to the U.S. House of Representatives in Arizona’s 8th district, Gabrielle Giffords ’93 started her Congressional career with a series of impressive firsts: the first woman to represent Arizona in Congress in more than a decade, the first Democrat to win the Tucson-area district in more than 20 years—and the first Scripps College alumna elected to national office.

She is also Arizona’s first Jewish female representative, the youngest woman to be elected to the Arizona State Senate, and only the third woman in Arizona to be elected to the U.S. Congress.

At 36, Giffords was recently named one of “America’s Eight Young Leaders Worth Watching” by Gannett News Service. For her community leadership as well as her business and personal achievement, she was named one of Tucson Business Edge’s “40 Under 40” and a “Woman on the Move” by the YWCA in 2005. Both Sierra Club and the Arizona Planning Association have recognized her commitment to environmental protection. The Mental Health Association of Arizona named her “Legislator of the Year” in 2004 for her dedication to health care coverage for low-income families.

While in Congress, Giffords plans to continue these efforts on a national level by sponsoring legislation involving immigration policies, health care, education, renewable energy, and the environment.

During her first quarter in Congress she has co-sponsored legislation to increase the Federal minimum wage, to fund development of alternative energy resources, and to fund a research program to evaluate the environmental impact of former methamphetamine production laboratories.

As a student at Scripps College, Giffords studied Latin American history and sociology. After graduation, Giffords spent a year in Chihuahua, Mexico, as a Fulbright Scholar. She later attended Cornell University, to earn her master’s degree in regional planning, and an executive program at Harvard University.

The self-described moderate pro business Democrat returned to hometown Tucson in 1996 to become president and CEO of her family’s tire and automotive business. Later combining her entrepreneurial experience and an interest in national and international economic development, Giffords launched a career in politics.

Eli Winkelman ’07 helped Giffords set up her office in Washington, D.C., during winter break. When asked about her impression of the congresswoman, Eli said,” Gabrielle is thoughtful, hardworking, and concerned with how the decisions she’ll make in Washington will affect people in her district, in our country, and the world.”


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