Gabrielle Giffords a Champion of Green Causes


Photo credit: Freedom To Marry via Flickr/CC BY

The shooting that rocked Tucson was an atrocious act of violence, and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, and innocent bystanders were the victims of a terrible deed. We don't need any additional reason to keep Giffords in our thoughts. But as we keep hopes high for her continued recovery, let's honor her in the green community for her sterling work advocating clean energy and beyond:While much of the recent national conversation about the tragedy is whether or not it was caused by the violent rhetoric of demagogues and politicians, let us focus for a moment on Giffords' life and achievements thus far.

Long a champion for solar power, Giffords has repeatedly fought clean energy policy -- due to the ample sunlight and strained resources of her state -- even when it may not be the popular thing to do. She supported clean energy legislation; a bold move considering the nature of her swing district. She argued that subsidies to the oil industry ought to be repealed, and redirected to clean energy research. She introduced the Solar Technology Roadmap Act, which according to Politico, dedicated "$2 billion to new research partnerships and demonstration projects for solar energy technologies." It easily passed the house.

She even drew the attention of the nation (and the ire of some conservative pundits) when she asked General Petreaus a very valid question about what he was doing to relieve the military's dependence on fossil fuels.

Politico's Morning Energy Roundup collected some of the thoughts that industry leaders and colleagues have on Giffords, and many are worth sharing here:

Solar Energy Industries Association president and chief executive Rhone Resch said in a note to the group's members over the weekend: "The attack on Congresswoman Giffords is a mindless act of violence that defies reason and explanation. I hope that Gabby is able to make a full recovery and return to her duties in Washington, not only because she has been a tireless advocate for solar, but because she has been an excellent public servant for Arizona's 8th District and the American people."
Morning Energy also notes that her dedication to renewable energy has been a hallmark of her entire career: "Giffords has been a vocal supporter of the solar industry, as well as renewable energy as a whole, for her entire congressional career. She used her inaugural floor speech after she was elected for the first time in 2006 to call for the repeal of billions in tax incentives for oil companies in favor of renewable energy subsidies and the founding of a Strategic Renewable Energy Reserve."

Needless to say, Giffords has done a tremendous job in helping the nation move towards a brighter, cleaner energy future. Here's to hoping she makes a full recovery -- we wish her all the best.

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