Congressman Flake echoed that sentiment:
Gabby was living proof that true tolerance is not pretending you have no differences. It’s being kind and decent to each other in spite of those differences.
Dr. Gary Thrasher, a veterinarian rancher, strongly supported her and voted for her in 2010. He describes himself as a “Goldwater Republican, about as far right as there is”:
But I believe Gabby Giffords has been the best representative we ever had. We don’t always agree with her and we let her know it. You can argue with her, talk to her, and she will always listen. I trust her.
The ranchers, all hardcore Republicans, support her because she is on the front line with them in improving border security. Before Giffords, all officials, including Republicans, never took a tour of the remote areas where border security has grown much worse.
After her 2006 election, Giffords held meetings with the ranchers, visited and camped out in some of the roughest areas where the border was wide open, and set up conference calls between the ranchers and government officials in charge of border security. The ranchers said she is constantly an advocate for tighter border controls because she sees it as a national security issue.
Steve Brophy, a Republican and president of Arizona’s Cattle Growers’ Association, presented to Giffords an award in July 2010, and explained to PJ Media,
If you want to look around for people who get it and have the ability and willingness to act on it, Gabby Giffords stands in the forefront. She gives a darn about us as people.
He also cites her efforts on pushing through the 600 million dollar emergency border security funding for additional border agents and unmanned aircraft.
Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) is impressed by Congresswoman Giffords’ efforts to reach out to Republicans on the immigration issue, noting:
She is a sharp lady. She understands that you cannot secure the border without securing the workplace. It is an approach she feels more comfortable with because it does not target the illegal immigrants. It targets the illegal employers.
As a gun owner, Giffords is a big proponent of the Second Amendment. She believes that gun ownership is a tradition that should not be denied. Although she is against the sale of semi-automatic weapons, she voted to repeal the ban on hand guns to correct the D.C. law, supported measures that would bar the Interior Department from prohibiting an individual from possessing a firearm in a national park or wildlife refuge, and is in favor of carrying a concealed weapon.
Because she believes America must free itself of dependence on Arab oil, she is an advocate of solar energy. Kristin Mayes, the former Republican chairperson of Arizona’s public utilities commission and currently the director of Arizona’s new program on law and sustainability, worked closely with Giffords on solar energy issues. Mayes and Giffords disseminated information about solar energy, co-hosted solar bus tours for the community, and worked together to make Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson the largest statewide solar powered community. According to Mayes, Representative Giffords is one of the most influential members of Congress on issues related to renewable energy, including extending tax credits.
All those interviewed felt that her accessibility in helping her constituents, including small business, veterans, and military families, is second to none. She strives to make things right and appeals to both Republicans and Democrats. Mayes summed up everyone’s feelings that “Gabby is very pragmatic and results oriented. She does not just talk the talk but also walks the walk. She is very bi-partisan. We need her back here in Arizona.”
And America needs her back on Capitol Hill.