Giffords has environmental cred
By now you know the basic story: Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head on Saturday while appearing at a “Congress on Your Corner” event in Tucson. The shooting killed six, among them a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl. Giffords herself seems to be responding to stimuli despite being gravely injured. The suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, is in custody, and while we don’t know anything definitive about his motives, many Democrats are pointing out that Giffords — a Blue Dog in a red state — was frequently the target of violent political rhetoric.
You’ve probably already heard about Giffords’ stance on immigration — she opposed Arizona’s controversial SB-1070 — and her vote for health care reform, which was cited as the reason for earlier threats (to which her responses now seem eerily prophetic). But now, still reeling from the tragedy, those of us outside Arizona are starting to learn more about Giffords’ stance on issues that have not been violently charged, including energy and environment. As it turns out, Giffords is way green.
Giffords hasn’t always been a legislative leader on climate — her website touts the fact that she cosponsored the 2007 Safe Climate Act, but so did practically every Democrat in the House, and Giffords didn’t sign on until more than a year after the legislation was first proposed. But she supports cap-and-trade and emissions reductions and voted for Waxman-Markey (a risky stance in her district), and she gets consistently good ratings from environmental groups, including a 100 percent score from the League of Conservation Voters in 2009. And Giffords has been a strong proponent of solar energy on a personal level (her own house sports nine solar panels), in Arizona, and in Congress. Climate Progress has rounded up some of the recent discussion of her solar-energy advocacy.
Most recently, Giffords introduced the Solar Technology Roadmap Act, which would have laid out a plan for solar R&D — she got the act through the House, but it stalled in a Senate committee. She’s tried to hold others’ feet to the solar flame, too: In June, 2010, she ticked off right-wing noisemakers by asking General David Petraeus whether he planned to use alternative energy on bases in Afghanistan in order to reduce fuel needs. Plus, Giffords seems to walk the walk on sustainable living. Her 2007 wedding to astronaut Mark Kelly was held at an organic produce farm, and her rule was that anything nonbiodegradable had to be reusable — including her wedding dress, which was borrowed from a friend. Way to be, Gabby. We’re pulling for you.