Rep. Giffords -- moderate, and green


By now, we’ve all read and heard the tragic and horrifying accounts of the attempted assassination of three-term Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), which resulted in 6 dead and 14 injured, including the Congresswoman.

It’s not clear if the mentally-ill shooter also had political motivations. Giffords is known as a moderate and has voiced strong criticism of Arizona’s new immigration law.

When she first was elected in 2006, HCN writer Robert Saldin described her as the “right kind of Democrat” needed to win in the West since “traditional liberalism as offered in the policy prescriptions and candidates based on both coasts will not fly in the Rockies.”  He further noted:

Successful Mountain West Democrats embrace a respectful middle-class populism without being condescending. Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords draws on her experience running the family business when she speaks of creating an even playing field for workers … (she makes) a sincere effort to take rural concerns and people of faith seriously, something not always true of national Democrats.

An advocate for immigration reform, Giffords also wants strong border security. After Robert Krentz, an Arizona rancher, was murdered by suspected illegal immigrants, we ran a story that included Giffords’ reaction: “Within a few days of the killing, (she) asked the Department of Homeland Security to add National Guard troops. "This cold-blooded murder is a sober reminder that the safety of U.S. citizens on American soil is under attack," she wrote.”

Giffords has a strong green record as well; she and Congressman Raul Grijalva are the only two pro-environment representatives in Arizona. She’s been a staunch supporter of renewable energy and of a cap and trade program for controlling greenhouse gas emissions. This fall, we noted her environmental record in our roundup of Western elections:

She's also endeared herself to greens by sponsoring legislation to withdraw land from mining and to reform the 1872 Mining Law, receiving a perfect score from the League of Conservation Voters.

Both and Climate Progress also have good summaries of Giffords’ environmental actions. Politico also ran a piece recapping Giffords' summertime solar energy stand-off with General David Petraeus.

We join the rest of the nation in wishing for Giffords' speedy recovery - she's the kind of solid, reasonable, centrist representative the West needs, now more than ever.

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