Tag Archives: gabrielle giffords

Downtown Phoenix, Photo: Flickr, squeaks2569

Phoenix Makes Case to Host Democratic Convention in ’16

City and government officials in Phoenix are currently preparing for a visit Sept. 9-11 from the Democratic National Committee. Phoenix joins four other cities – New York City; Philadelphia; Columbus, Ohio; and Birmingham, Ala. – as finalists to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

The committee of Democratic officials to visit Phoenix makes up the DNC’s Technical Advisory Group, and will assess Phoenix’s viability and readiness to host the convention.

With stiff competition from the other top cities, Phoenix stands out as the only finalist from the West, and offers a host of distinguishing qualities that are sure to pique the interest of visiting officials.

Although historically a red state, Arizona is on the cusp of becoming a swing state with its growing Hispanic electorate.

Phoenix is a majority-minority city, and Latinos make up more than 40 percent of its population. By far, it has the largest Latino community of any of the five finalist cities. As a state, Arizona boasts the third-largest Native American population in the country.

Phoenix is also one of the nation’s most LGBT-friendly communities, and earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index.

Mayor Greg Stanton leads Phoenix’s effort alongside Host Committee co-chairs U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Capt. Mark Kelly, convention liaison Ann Wallack, U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, and business leaders Rick DeGraw and Martin Shultz.

Stanton said that in addition to its diversity, Phoenix’s logistical advantages, amenities and experience hosting large-scale events are important to the city’s pitch.

“We’re really the perfect host city,” Stanton said. “Downtown Phoenix, with the convention center, arena and thousands of hotel rooms, is compact and just minutes from the airport via light rail. Throughout the Valley, we have exactly the kind of venues that are important to making national party conventions a success.”

The nation’s sixth-largest city boasts more than 500 hotels, 60,000 hotel rooms, and 40 full-service resorts. With more than 900,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, the Phoenix Convention Center is one of the largest meeting facilities of its kind in the United States, and is recognized as one of the country’s top 10 convention centers. It is along the city’s light rail line and just seven miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Phoenix is a hot spot for large-scale events and in just six months will host both the Super Bowl XLIX and the NFL’s Pro Bowl. The Valley of the Sun has previously hosted two Super Bowls, the 2009 NBA All-Star Game, the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, and plays host to MLB Cactus League Spring Training and the NCAA’s Fiesta Bowl annually.

More than 16 million people visit Greater Phoenix alone each year, making tourism one of Arizona’s largest revenue generators.

The 2016 Democratic National Convention is expected to bring upwards of 50,000 visitors to the host city, and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy. Phoenix’s bid has earned bipartisan support because city and state leaders – regardless of political affiliation – understand the positive economic impact of hosting an event of this magnitude.

“The economic benefits in Phoenix would be especially key because the convention would take place before Arizona’s tourism season really kicks off,” Wallack said. “Our community is prepared to make sure convention visitors have a special experience, and we’re thrilled to show the DNC all we have to offer.”

During the site visit, the DNC’s Technical Advisory Group will tour the convention center and US Airways Center, as well as top destinations in the region. The historic Orpheum Theatre will be among the unique venues showcased as potential sites for party caucus meetings during the convention.

The Technical Advisory Group is expected to make a decision on the host city at the end of 2014 and announce its decision in 2015.

For more information on Phoenix’s bid, visit www.phx2016.com.

Senate Judiciary Committee Hears From Prominent Voices On Both Sides Of Gun Control Debate

Giffords Will Share Inspiring Story in Scottsdale

In partnership with the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts will present An Evening with Captain Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords: Endeavor to Succeed, on Friday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m.

Tickets are available for $89, $69 and $59 online at www.ScottsdalePerformingArts.org or through (480) 499-TKTS (8587).

On Jan. 8, 2011, Capt. Mark Kelly would face the toughest challenge of his life when an assassination attempt was made on his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. His dedication to family and Giffords’ road to recovery would captivate the nation. For Kelly, focus equals success – even in the face of adversity.

Personifying the best of the American spirit, Kelly is a homegrown hero who was a combat pilot in Iraq, an astronaut on four space shuttle missions and commander of the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour. He has combined teamwork, leadership, communication and family in an unwavering commitment to succeed.

Kelly will show audiences how to accomplish their mission while maintaining the love and devotion to family that is the foundation of true success. A book signing will follow. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona.

Senate Judiciary Committee Hears From Prominent Voices On Both Sides Of Gun Control Debate

Giffords Will Share Inspiring Story in Scottsdale

In partnership with the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts will present An Evening with Captain Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords: Endeavor to Succeed, on Friday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m.

Tickets are available for $89, $69 and $59 online at www.ScottsdalePerformingArts.org or through (480) 499-TKTS (8587).

On Jan. 8, 2011, Capt. Mark Kelly would face the toughest challenge of his life when an assassination attempt was made on his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. His dedication to family and Giffords’ road to recovery would captivate the nation. For Kelly, focus equals success – even in the face of adversity.

Personifying the best of the American spirit, Kelly is a homegrown hero who was a combat pilot in Iraq, an astronaut on four space shuttle missions and commander of the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour. He has combined teamwork, leadership, communication and family in an unwavering commitment to succeed.

Kelly will show audiences how to accomplish their mission while maintaining the love and devotion to family that is the foundation of true success. A book signing will follow. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona.

Gabrielle Giffords,  Ron Barber

Gabrielle Giffords named Woman of the Year

A Democratic women’s leadership group has named former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords its Woman of the Year.

Emerge Arizona honored Giffords at a ceremony Thursday night at a downtown Phoenix hotel.

The group is part of a 10-state network offering a training program to help qualified Democratic women run for public office.

The 42-year-old Giffords resigned from Congress last year as she continues to recover from injuries suffered in January 2011 during a meet-and-greet with her constituents in Tucson.

Six people died and 13 people were wounded, including Giffords, when a gunman opened fire outside a Tucson supermarket.

Giffords and her husband — former astronaut Mark Kelly — have formed a political action committee that seeks to limit the size of ammunition magazines and expand background checks for gun purchases.

Gabrielle Giffords,  Ron Barber

101st Arizona Town Hall on Civic Leadership Convenes

Arizona Town Hall may be celebrating its 50th birthday this year but the organization, which offers a forum for business, civic and academic leaders to focus on state issues and find consensus, is experiencing some firsts.

For the first time in the organization’s history, the Fall Town Hall will be held in the metro Phoenix area.  And also breaking from tradition, the public is invited to the Tuesday luncheon that will include a special awards ceremony honoring those who exemplify civic leadership.

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, will be honored with the Shirley Agnos Legacy Award at this inspiring ceremony that will feature special remarks from a number of their colleagues from the Tucson area. Native American dancers will also perform.

This special event is open to the public and sponsored by Bank of America and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Tables and tickets can be reserved at www.aztownhall.org/Gabby.

What hasn’t changed is the non-profit’s original mission: to bring together residents using civil discourse and consensus dialogue to advance solutions dealing with the state’s critical issues.

Nearly 130 hand-selected delegates will focus on “Civic Leadership for Arizona’s Future” at the 101st Arizona Town Hall, on Sunday evening, Nov. 25 through Wednesday, Nov. 28 at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is scheduled to deliver brief remarks at Monday’s luncheon. The luncheon will also feature a keynote address by Cleve Stevens, founder and president of Owl Sight Intentions, an established authority on the psychology of leadership and the technology of personal and organizational transformation. Stevens is also the author of “The Best in Us: People, Profit and the Remaking of Modern Leadership.”

Monday’s dinner will feature Marvin Henry “Mickey” Edwards, former congressman from Oklahoma (1977-1993), vice president of the Aspen Institute and director of its Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership. He’s also the author of “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans.”

Both of the speaker events are also open to the public. Individual tickets can be purchased at http://www.aztownhall.org/Events.

The 101st Arizona Town Hall is supported by: Arizona Commerce Authority; The Flinn Foundation; Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation; Snell & Wilmer; Cox Communications; Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and SCF Arizona.

Additional information is available at: http://www.aztownhall.org.

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Arizona congressional races too close to call

Arizona’s three competitive congressional races were too close to call early Wednesday, including the Tucson-centered seat Rep. Ron Barber won in June to replace his former boss, Gabrielle Giffords.

Barber saw his small lead against Republican Martha McSally in the 2nd District disappear just before midnight, with McSally taking a tiny lead.

“We knew it was going to be close and this is exactly what we expected,” she said late Tuesday.

Barber reminded supporters that Giffords’ narrow 2010 win over Republican Jesse Kelly also wasn’t known for several days.

“We’ve got a little bit further to go,” he said. “It’s going to be tomorrow or the day after that.”

Both Giffords and Barber were wounded in January 2011 when a gunman opened fire at a “Congress on Your Corner” event for the then-congresswoman and her constituents. Eleven others also were wounded and six people were killed.

Giffords stepped down from Congress earlier this year to focus on her recovery. Barber beat Kelly in the June special election to replace her.

Kelly chose not to make a third run this fall. McSally, a retired Air Force fighter pilot, won the GOP nomination in August and sought to persuade some of the women and independents who swung to Barber in the special election.

“We knew it was going to be close and this is exactly what we expected,” she said late Tuesday.

In the new Phoenix-area 9th District, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Vernon Parker were in a near dead heat.

Both Parker and Sinema acknowledged the wait would be long, and Parker urged his supporters to be patient because thousands of ballots remained uncounted.

“I am telling you all to hang in there,” Parker told supporters in Phoenix. “We will win this thing. I guarantee you.”

Republicans have a slight registration advantage in the district, which includes much of Tempe and parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa and Chandler. But both parties’ totals are exceeded by independents, and many believe it leans Democratic.

Sinema told supporters there was good reason to be optimistic.

“Right now we’re going to keep our heads high, take a deep breath and pray for every vote to be counted in this election,” she said.

In northeastern Arizona’s 1st District, Republican Jonathan Paton’s slight lead over Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick diminished as Tuesday night wore on.

Kirkpatrick told supporters she was waiting for results from the Navajo Nation and other tribal areas that she hopes will put her back on top. The district runs from Flagstaff through eastern Arizona counties and then west into parts of Pinal County.

“Our race is looking good, but we’re not going to know for quite a while,” she said.

Depending on the outcome, Democrats could end up with a majority of the delegation or Republicans could hold on or add to their current 5-3 majority. The state earned a ninth seat after the 2010 Census and will fill it for the first time in November.

Voters in six districts chose their representatives along the expected 4-2 party split in favor of Republicans.

Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva won re-election in the 3rd District, freshman GOP Rep. Paul Gosar easily won in the 4th District and former Republican Rep. Matt Salmon coasted to victory in the 5th.

Republican Reps. David Schweikert and Trent Franks were re-elected in the 6th and 8th districts while Democratic Rep. Ed Pastor cruised in the 7th District.

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot at a grocery store during a constituent event in Tucson.

A Great American Tragedy: Gabrielle Giffords the target

We live in a great country.  We have a stable government.  We have incredible wealth when compared to so many other parts of the world.  I don’t know about you, but I often take these things for granted.  When I go to bed at night, I don’t worry about enemy rebels overrunning my home.

I hear about other countries that are unstable, parliaments that have physical confrontations on the same floor where they establish laws, political systems where assassination is a political tool, and I assume that those things are third-world problems that we have gotten past.  Sure, the United States has a history of bloodshed that has built us into who we are as a nation, but the Civil War is over.  Federal politicians no longer have duels with pistols.  Although there have been unsuccessful attempts, we haven’t had a president assassinated in nearly 50 years.

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot at a grocery store during a constituent event in Tucson.  It is a stark reminder that there is evil in the world and that we are still susceptible to the worst when it comes to political dissension.

There are two things about our modern American society that scare me when it comes to politics.

The first is that we now live in a “for-profit” 24-hour news cycle.  Gone are the days of news only at 6 and 10 p.m.  Multiple networks and websites focus on reporting news, and they compete for ratings.  Ratings mean sponsors, and sponsors mean money.  People turn on the news in the morning and listen to it all day.  Our web-browsers usually always have some type of news displayed and updated.  What does it take to get them tuned in to our network or hitting our website?  This leads back to the old news principle “if it bleeds, it leads.”  It is logical to understand the desire for hard-hitting news — not just fluffy, lighthearted pieces.  Politics — basically how we choose our leaders and govern our country — are brought to us mainly through these mediums.  It is not hard to become obsessed with politics living in the information era.

And that leads to the second thing that scares me.  We now see politics as entertainment. It isn’t just about having a great debate.  It is now about satire and anger.  Don’t think I am going to point a finger at republicans or democrats.  I am going to suggest it cuts both ways.  For example, the conservatives have brought us Rush Limbaugh, who for years has made fun of the left.  I have always struggled with the way he mispronounces names just to make fun of people like a schoolyard bully.  On the other hand, the liberals have brought us Al Franken –a current U.S. Senator — who wrote a book titled “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot.”  The great debate is no longer about exchanging ideas; it is about being right at the expense of opposing ideologies and trying to embarrass and humiliate the other guy.

Adding to the fact that American politics are overexposed and confrontational is that the general public as a whole places elected officials at the same place as used car salesmen on the integrity scale.  (No offense intended to used car salesmen.  I used to be an elected official so I am only relating a popular stigma.)

So is this what led to the shooting in Tucson of Rep. Giffords?  I don’t believe it is.  But I do believe it could have been the spark that touched off a mentally imbalanced man to do the unthinkable.  Gone are the days of statesmen who present arguments and value debate.  As a nation, we should fear extremism and angry rhetoric.  We should also understand that people are listening to what we say and some of them may not be able to understand right from wrong.

My heart goes out to Rep. Giffords, Judge Roll, the five others killed, those wounded, their families and all of those who were traumatized by this massacre.

We should always engage in political debate thinking about if the next Jared Lee Loughner (the shooter) is listening and wondering how our words are helping to influence him.