Giffords announces resignation from Congress

NEW YORK (JTA) — U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot by a gunman last January, announced that she will resign from Congress.

In a two-minute video released Sunday, Giffords (D-Ariz.) said she will step down as she continues her recovery.

“I have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for Arizona, I will step down this week,” she said. “I’m getting better. Every day my spirit is high. I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country.”

Speaking slowly but clearly, Giffords thanked viewers for their prayers and said that she will always remember the trust her constitutents placed in her.

Giffords, who is Jewish and a member of a local synagogue, was shot in the head at a Jan. 8, 2011 meet-the-constituents event outside a supermarket in Tucson. The gunman, Jared Loughner, who suffers from mental illness, killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords.

In the video, Giffords said she didn’t “remember much from that horrible day.”

The National Jewish Democratic Council wished Giffords, the first Jewish woman to be elected to Congress from Arizona, "continued quick healing on her path to recovery" and looked forward to "the occasion when we can welcome her back to public life."

"We are so tremendously proud of the remarkable determination and resiliency that Gabby has shown in her amazing recovery; indeed all Americans have watched in awe as she has taken her first steps and grown stronger and stronger," NJDC chair Marc Stanley and vice-chair Marc Winkelman said in a statement. "While we have all eagerly hoped for the day that Gabby would rejoin her colleagues on a daily basis on Capitol Hill, it’s a sign of how highly she values her constituents and her district that she has made this very difficult decision to step aside."

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