Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Dee “Gabby” Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, announced the creation of a new political action committee (PAC) on Tuesday called Gabby PAC that supports bipartisan cooperation in Washington. The announcement comes twenty months after an attempt on her life left Giffords in critical condition.
Gabby Giffords retired from her seat in Congress earlier this year and received a standing ovation from members of both parties when she briefly returned to Capitol Hill. While she may not be representing Arizona’s 8th congressional district anymore, she has not retired from politics completely.
First reported by Politico, Giffords and her husband filed a statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission last week to create Gabby PAC. The couple announced on Tuesday that the purpose of the PAC is to support candidates that promise and actively work to promote bipartisan leadership and back practical initiatives that don't solely fall on partisan lines.
Giffords and Kelly stated:
"Gabby PAC will only support candidates who are dedicated to working hard for commonsense, bi-partisan solutions that strengthen our communities and our entire country. This commitment to public service over partisanship is what guided Gabby while she was serving the people of Arizona and will be the guiding principle of Gabby PAC."
The PAC will be co-chaired by former Kentucky Secretary of State and current director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School Trey Grayson (R) and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich (D). Trey Grayson ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010, but lost to current Senator Rand Paul during the GOP primary. He denied any claim that his involvement in Gabby PAC means he has switched sides.
“I still consider myself a very proud Republican. I run a bi-partisan institution that encourages activity in both parties,” Grayson told the Washington Post. “I’d love to run again some day. If I do it, I’m obviously going to do it as a Republican. It would be nice if there were some Democrats from Gabby PAC that I could work with.”
The creation of Gabby PAC comes at a time when public approval for Congress is at historic lows. The public is frustrated because they feel too many elected officials in Washington put partisan politics above the needs and interests of the American people. The 112th Congress is one of the least productive and most polarized in modern American history.
Many people will likely go to the polls in November uncertain about the current state of the economy and where our country is headed. Bipartisan cooperation is something many voters want, especially independent voters. Gabby and her husband promise that the PAC will focus on issues important to America’s future like strengthening the economy and creating new jobs, finding alternative sources of renewable energy, and veterans’ benefits.