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Arizona's first Jewish Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, resigned from Congress on this date in 2012, one year and two weeks after she was shot in the head by Jared Loughner, a schizophrenic who killed six people during his rampage. Giffords was in her third term as a so-called "Blue Dog Democrat." Like nearly all Arizona politicians, she was "tough on immigration," but was moderately liberal on other issues, advocating federal funding for stem-cell research, a raise in the minimum wage, protection of women's reproductive rights, and the repeal of subsidies to oil companies. In the 2010 campaign, she was especially targeted for defeat by Sara Palin's political action committee, and Palin's website portrayed Giffords in the cross-hairs of a rifle sight. Giffords' recovery from her point-blank shooting has been remarkable, but she struggles with language and has lost fifty percent of her vision. She and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, are now actively involved in raising $20 million to build a lobby for tighter gun control laws. She grew up in a religiously mixed household, with a mother who was a Christian Scientist, but has identified solely as Jewish since 2001 and is active in a Reform congregation.
"In response to a horrific series of shootings that has sown terror in our communities, victimized tens of thousands of Americans, and left one of its own bleeding and near death in a Tucson parking lot, Congress has done something quite extraordinary -- nothing at all." —Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly, USA Today