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Colleagues comment on Giffords' resignation

Statements on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' announcement Sunday that she plans to resign from Congress this week to focus on her recovery:

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"Gabby Giffords embodies the very best of what public service should be. She's universally admired for qualities that transcend party or ideology - a dedication to fairness, a willingness to listen to different ideas, and a tireless commitment to the work of perfecting our union. That's why the people of Arizona chose Gabby - to speak and fight and stand up for them. That's what brought her to a supermarket in Tucson last year - so she could carry their hopes and concerns to Washington. And we know it is with the best interests of her constituents in mind that Gabby has made the tough decision to step down from Congress.

"Over the last year, Gabby and her husband Mark have taught us the true meaning of hope in the face of despair, determination in the face of incredible odds, and now - even after she's come so far - Gabby shows us what it means to be selfless as well.

"Gabby's cheerful presence will be missed in Washington. But she will remain an inspiration to all whose lives she touched - myself included. And I'm confident that we haven't seen the last of this extraordinary American. __ President Barack Obama

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"I spoke with Gabby's husband Mark today and told him that the most important thing is Gabby's recovery. We fully support their decision. I know that Gabby will continue to make significant contributions to her state and country, and I stand with her in whatever endeavor she decides to pursue. Jill and I wish Gabby and Mark all the best as they embark on the next phase of recovery."__ Vice President Joe Biden.

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"Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been a noble public servant to the State of Arizona, and a model of what can be accomplished with persistence and determination. Her remarkable recovery over the last year is an inspiration to us all.

"As with all Americans, I will continue to hold Gabby in my thoughts and prayers as she continues on this path toward recovery.

"Upon the Congresswoman's office being officially declared vacant, I will call a special Primary and General Election in order to fill the 8th Congressional District vacancy, in accordance with Arizona law. The winner will complete the remainder of Congresswoman Giffords' term, which expires at the end of 2012." __ Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer

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"For the past year, Gabby has shown the world the person I have always known — an extraordinary woman of fierce drive, determination and courage. Gabby made the right decision for her and her family, but this is just the beginning of the next chapter of her story. I know that Gabby will find other ways to fulfill her calling of public service and continue to lead and inspire the nation.

"I feel blessed to call Gabby Giffords a dear friend and look forward to supporting her in whatever she decides to do next." __ Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

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"We understand but are deeply saddened by the news that Rep. Giffords has decided to resign her seat in Congress because of the demands of her continued rehabilitation from the gunshot wound she suffered a year ago in Tucson.

"Congress and the American people now have lost the service of another devoted public servant because of gun violence. It is sadly reminiscent of the nation's loss of Jim Brady as Presidential press secretary due to a similar gunshot injury 30 years ago.

"We hope Rep. Giffords' departure is only temporary and wish her well on her amazing and inspiring recovery." __ Dennis Henigan, acting president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

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"From the day she was first elected to the Arizona State Senate, to her three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Gabby Giffords has been a great advocate for our state.

"As she announces her resignation from Congress, I want to join with Arizonans in thanking her for her years of service and applaud her for always putting Arizona first. It has been a pleasure to get to know Gabby, Mark, and her staff and to serve alongside her.

"Joyce and I wish Gabby and Mark all the best wherever life takes them." __ Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz.

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"My expectation was that Gabby would be coming back to Congress, and everything that was done in the redistricting and all the efforts have been for her to return to Congress. But I understand that her priority at this point is to continue her rehabilitation and establish the health she desires. Still, I know she will be back.

"My hope and desire is for her to hurry back to public life in good health to once again represent the people of Arizona. I wish her the very best." __ Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz.

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"I was saddened today to learn that Congresswoman Gabby Giffords has announced that she will step down from Congress. After surviving an unspeakable tragedy, Gabby became an inspiration to so many of her colleagues as she began a relentless fight towards recovery.

"I know that the men and women in Arizona's Eighth Congressional District will miss having Gabby's strong voice working on their behalf in Congress, and I join my colleagues in offering my gratitude to Gabby and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, for their selfless service to our country." __ Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.

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"Gabby is a class act whose accomplishments and dedication to bettering our state and nation will continue in the years to come. She has been and will continue to be an effective advocate for the issues and causes that she cares deeply about.

"I want to be sure to pass along thanks to Gabby's amazing staff. They have done a remarkable job in continuing to faithfully and respectfully serve the people of Arizona's 8th District over the last year." __ Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.

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"Gabby Giffords commitment to her constituents, service to the country, tremendous strength, and message of civility is an inspiration to us all. She will be sorely missed in the House. I wish her, and her husband Mark, all the best as they focus on her recovery. I hope she will be able to return to the public service she loves soon." __ Rep. John Larson, D-Conn.

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"As a colleague I will miss Gabby's courage, her compassion and her conviction in Congress. As a friend, I know she is doing what is right for her and her family. Gabby is truly a fighter, and I know she will continue her remarkable recovery." __ Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine

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"My heart is a little heavy after hearing of Congresswoman Giffords' intentions to leave Congress. But it is also filled with the spirit of hope and optimism that she has given to everyone she has ever worked with and served.

"Congresswoman Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, have taught us all tremendous lessons in courage in the face of tragedy. They showed tremendous resolve in the midst of great challenges. Even in the months that followed that horrible day in Tucson, Congresswoman Giffords sought and found opportunities to serve the people of the United States. ...

"I hope that she continues her remarkable progress in her recovery and that she and Mark have many, many fulfilling years together. She will always be a special person to me and a true friend." __ Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force

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"Gabby Giffords' tenacity and generous spirit have always made her the example of what is best in Arizona. As she said today, nothing can change what happened last January. But in her time in public life, she has changed Arizona and America for the better.

"As she continues her work on her recovery, I have no doubt she will also continue to work for and inspire all of us in so many ways in the years to come." __ Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Andrei Cherny

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"Congresswoman Giffords deserves our support and thanks for her upstanding service in Congress. Her tenure will be marked by her strong support for border security, solar sustainability programs, and always acting in a bipartisan manner. Her service makes all Arizonans proud."__ Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton House Democrats release statement on Giffords' resignation

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"House Democrats thank Congresswoman Giffords for her service and her willingness to put her life on the line to make Arizona a better place for all families through her work on jobs, veterans and the economy.

"She humbly gave Arizona a voice in Washington and selflessly dedicated her life to her constituents. She has always been a true friend and always will be. We can't thank her enough and look forward to her swift recovery and working with her in the future." __ State Rep. Steve Farley of Tucson, assistant House Democratic leader

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"Gabby's courage is inspirational, and her enthusiasm for public service is infectious. I've never seen a public official work harder to serve their constituents than Gabby. She and I participated in a number of health care town halls together, and her strength has always been palpable.

"In addition to being a great and caring friend to all that know her, she is the model for the kind of leadership that we need in this country. I know in the months and years to come she will continue to fight hard to help others and for the values she believes in." __ Dr. Richard Carmona, former U.S. surgeon general

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"Congresswoman Giffords has been an inspiration to Arizona and the nation throughout her miraculous recovery. The grace and dignity that she has demonstrated over the past year has been a privilege to watch and has set an example that we should all strive to emulate.

"I applaud Rep. Giffords for her record of accomplishment in Congress and wish her and her husband, Mark, nothing but the best as Gabby concentrates on her rehabilitation and returning to full strength. I am confident that her time away from public service will only be temporary, and that Arizona will welcome her back with open arms when she's ready to return." — Glenn Hamer, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry president and CEO

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"Today, our prayers and thoughts of support and appreciation are extended to Representative Gabrielle Giffords for her service and most importantly, her continued recovery. Congresswoman Giffords has displayed an extraordinary spirit of hope, courage and grace that Americans across this country have fully embraced. All Arizonans are supportive of her decision to do what is best for her and her family and will continue to lift prayers for her healing and full recovery."__Arizona Republican Party

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From Twitter:

"We salute Rep. Giffords for her service, & for the courage & perseverance she has shown in the face of tragedy. She will be missed." __ House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio

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"I want to thank Congresswoman Gabby Giffords for her bravery, courage and service. She will be missed. All the very best to her and Mark." __ Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz.

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"The entire nation has felt like one of Gabrielle Giffords' constituents. She will be deeply missed by her friends and colleagues in Congress." __ Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y.

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"Best Wishes to (at)Rep_Giffords — she continues to inspire and unite Americans everywhere with her strength and resolve." __ House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.