Our Honorary ChairsMember, U.S. House of Representatives, AZ
A third generation Arizonan and the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, Gabrielle Giffords represented her hometown of Tucson in the Arizona Legislature from 2000-2005. During her service in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, Gabrielle worked on legislation to expand health care coverage for Arizona families; to create and attract high wage jobs to Arizona; and to protect Arizona’s environment and open spaces. She served on the Appropriations, Commerce and Economic Development and Finance Committees. In 2006, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona’s Eighth District.
As former President and Chief Executive Officer of El Campo Tire, Inc., Gabrielle was able to utilize her experience as a small businesswoman with a broad background in national and international economic development. A 1996 graduate of Cornell University with a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning, she is also a graduate of Scripps College where she was awarded a William Fulbright Scholarship to study for a year in Chihuahua, Mexico. Between her undergraduate work and her masters she worked as a researcher in San Diego studying the effects of Operation Gatekeeper II on the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Experienced in international relations, Gabrielle serves as President of the Atlantic Association of Young Political Leaders, represents the National Committee on China-US Relations as a Young Leader’s Forum Fellow and is a German Marshall Fund Manfred-Worner Fellow. In 2005 Gabrielle was selected for the inaugural two-year class of the Aspen-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership.
For combining her strong business background with a powerful commitment to public service, Gabrielle was named Woman of the Year by Tucson Business Edge in 2005; the YWCA named her Woman on the Move the same year. For her commitment to protecting the environment, she was named Legislator of the Year by the Arizona Planning Association and Most Valuable Player by the Sierra Club. She was awarded the Top 10 Technology Legislator of the Year award by the Arizona Technology Council for three straight years – 2003, 2004, 2005. She was named the Legislator of the Year in 2004 by the Mental Health Association of Arizona. She was also recently named one of America’s Eight Young Leaders Worth Watching by Gannett News Service.
Gabrielle’s commitment to her community has not been limited to her service in the Legislature. She has devoted her time as a member of over a dozen boards including 162nd Air National Guard Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee, the Metropolitan YMCA, the Anti-Defamation League, the Breast Cancer Boot Camp and the Tohono Chul Park. Gabrielle is a member of Congregation Chaverim.
With her family living in Southern Arizona, Gabrielle has strong ties to Tucson and Sierra Vista. Her father served on the school board in Tanque Verde District and her mother is an art conservator. Her grandparents lived in Southeastern Arizona and are buried in Ft. Huachuca. Gabrielle and her fiance Mark Kelly enjoy hiking and spending time in the canyons and desert of Arizona.