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They All Call Her ‘Gabby’

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was wounded last month in Tucson. Her friends, neighbors, and constituents tell Pajamas Media about the woman they know as "Gabby."

by
Elise Cooper

Bio

February 10, 2011 - 12:00 am
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Most Americans did not know who Gabrielle (Gabby) Giffords was before January 8, but after the horrific events that took place on that day, all Americans, not just Arizonans, have come to recognize the congresswoman.

To get a glimpse o who she is as a person and what her stand is on certain issues, PJ Media interviewed non-family members, many of them Republicans, who spoke highly of her.

Unanimously, everyone describes her with the same multitude of adjectives: genuine, decent, hardworking, outgoing, honest, warm, personable, and energetic. Jonathan Paton, who grew up with Giffords, feels that people respond to her because “she is like the girl next door.”

She is from our area. For example, at an event, a friend of mine, a Republican state representative, as conservative as you could get, stuck her hand out to shake Gabby’s hand. Gabby said to her I am not a hand shaker; I am a hugger. She hugged her on the spot, right there.

Giffords has a strong identity with Judaism and cherishes her Jewish heritage. She is the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona. Her rabbi, Stephanie Aaron, told PJ Media that the congresswoman would meet with her to discuss how Jewish women can make an impact. While running for Congress, Giffords responded to a question by stating:

Growing up, my family’s Jewish roots and tradition played an important role in shaping my values. The women in my family served as strong role models for me as a girl.

Rabbi Aaron is impressed:

Gabby listens, pays attention, and is the female version of a mensch: someone who is truly a moral and ethical person. Young girls in the congregation looked upon her as a role model, a very successful Jewish woman to be proud of and to emulate. Gabby has the ability to transcend generations and political parties.

Paton, who ran against Giffords, and Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ) emphasized that they disagreed with her on many of the core issues of 2010. Yet, as Flake pointed out:

[B]ecause she is such a decent person and easy to talk to, even with our political disparity, we could at least discuss issues reasonably. We were able to work together on issues involving the military and aspects of border security.

Giffords considers herself a Blue Dog Democrat who tries to maintain a balance in a district that is made up of extremes on the left and right, and has a Republican majority. She voted for ObamaCare, cap and trade, and the stimulus bill. On the other hand, she is a strong proponent of ensuring Israel’s safety, supports E-Verify, favors offshore oil drilling, wants to reduce the national debt, wants to establish an alternative energy program, strongly believes in the Second Amendment, and pushes for tighter border security.

How could Congresswoman Giffords win a district with a Republican majority? Kelly Glenn-Kimbro, a staunch Republican, said:

[P]eople have asked me how can I support a Democrat?  Well, you name me one politician that you agree with 100% on their voting record.  It’s like what President Reagan said: “A person who agrees with you 80% of the time is a friend and ally, not a 20% traitor.”

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