U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) announced on Sunday that she will step down from Congress to focus on recovering from the gunshot wound she suffered a year ago.
“A lot has happened over the past year. We cannot change that,” said Giffords, 41, in a video released by her office. She continued, haltingly: “I don’t remember much from that horrible day, but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice. Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover. I have more work to do on my recovery. So to do what is best for Arizona, I will step down this week.”
According to a statement on the Congresswoman’s website, Giffords will submit her letter of resignation this week to House Speaker John Boehner and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. The governor will set a date for special primary and general elections to fill Giffords’ congressional seat for the remainder of her term, which expires at the end of 2012.
As one of her last acts as a member of Congress, Giffords will attend the State of the Union speech Tuesday evening at the Capitol.
Before she leaves office, she will also finish her Congress On Your Corner event, which was interrupted by the shooting on Jan. 8, 2011, that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Giffords. In a private gathering in Tucson, Giffords will meet with some of the people who were at that event, the statement said.
Giffords, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2006, will not seek re-election this fall, but promised to return to public service. “I’m getting better. Every day, my spirit is high,” she said. “I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country.”