Rep. Giffords to resign from Congress this week
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizonaannounced Sunday she intends to resign from Congress this week to concentrate on recovering from wounds suffered in an assassination attempt a little more than a year ago.
According to officials in Washington, her resignation, first disclosed on the congresswoman's Facebook page, is expected to take effect on Monday.
The Democratic congresswoman was shot in the head last January as she was meeting with constituents outside a supermarket inTucson, Arizona. The shooting rampage by a lone gunman left six people dead and 13 other wounded, including Giffords.
While her progress has seemed remarkable, she said she has more work to do to recover, and it is best for her state if she resigns her seat in the House of Representatives.
Her shooting prompted an agonizing national debate about super-charged rhetoric in political campaigns.
In a two-minute video posted to her Facebook page, Giffords says: "I don't remember much from that horrible day, but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice."
She says, "I'm getting better. Every day my spirit is high. I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country."
Under state law, a special election will be called to fill out the remainder of Giffords' term.
In a statement, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said that "since the tragic events one year ago, Gabby has been an inspiring symbol of determination and courage to millions of Americans."
Democratic officials had held out hope for months that the congresswoman might recover sufficiently to run for re-election or even become a candidate to replace retiring Republican Sen. Jon Kyl.
Jared Lee Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges in the shooting. The 23-year-old, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, is being forcibly medicated at a Missouri prison facility in an effort to make him mentally ready for trial
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