CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 6, 2012) — Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the tire dealer-turned-congresswoman who became a household name after surviving a would-be assassin's bullet, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance tonight at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
A native of Tucson, Ariz., Rep. Giffords was president of El Campo Tire & Service Centers Inc., an 11-store chain founded by her grandfather, from 1996 until she sold the company to Goodyear in 2000.
Rep. Giffords was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Tucson in 2006. On Jan. 8, 2011, while holding a meet-and-greet with constituents at a Tucson supermarket, she was shot in the head by a gunman who shot a total of 19 people, six fatally.
The alleged gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, pleaded guilty to 19 counts of murder and attempted murder Aug. 7 in Tucson federal district court, in exchange for a sentence of life imprisonment.
Rep. Giffords resigned from Congress in January 2012 to continue her physical rehabilitation. In August 2012, she moved back to Tucson after 17 months at a rehabilitation hospital in Houston.
Earlier this month, she and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, announced the formation of a new political action committee, Gabby PAC, to support Democratic political candidates.
The International Tire Exhibition & Conference has established the Gabrielle Giffords Inspiration Award in honor of Rep. Giffords. The award honors people within the tire industry who make inspirational comebacks after suffering catastrophic events in their lives. The first Giffords award will be presented at the 2012 ITEC, to be held in Cleveland Sept. 18-20.