The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Gabrielle Giffords

b. June 8, 1970

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Gabrielle Giffords until we are able to commission a full entry.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is the first Jewish woman to be elected from Arizona.

A “Blue Dog” (conservative) Democrat with a gift for cultivating friendships and alliances on both sides of the aisle, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords fought to recover from a 2011 shooting and became a gun control activist. Giffords spent a year in Mexico as a Fulbright Scholar before earning a master’s degree in regional planning from Cornell in 1996. That year, she became president and CEO of El Campo Tire Warehouses, which her grandfather had founded. After selling the business to Goodyear in 2000, she went into politics, leading to her election as a US Senator in 2006. In the Senate, Giffords supported liberal causes like stem cell research and raising the minimum wage, but also endorsed conservative bills for stricter immigration and border patrol laws. In 2011, at a local meet–and–greet event with constituents, Giffords was shot in the head by an attacker who opened fire on the crowd. Thirteen were injured and six were killed. Giffords struggled to regain her mobility and speech, resigning her Senate seat a year later. In 2013 she and her husband, Mark Kelly founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun control political action group.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Gabrielle Giffords." (Viewed on October 16, 2021) <>.


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