Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has officially submitted her letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner and Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer.
Giffords, in her third term as a Representative in Southern Arizona's 8th Congressional District , has stepped down to continue working on her recovery after being shot in the left side of the head on Jan. 8 of last year.
In the letter, Giffords said, "The tragic Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson took the lives of six beautiful Americans and wounded 13 others, me included. Not a day goes by that I don't feel grief for the lives lost and so many others torn apart.
"I don't remember much from that terrible day, but I have never forgotten my constituents, my colleagues, or the millions of Americans with whom I share great hopes for this nation. To all of them: Thank you for your prayers, your cards, your well wishes and your support. And even as I have worked to regain my speech, thank you for your faith in my ability to be your voice."
In her last days as a District 8 representative, Giffords visited the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona on Monday, and attended the State of the Union address in Washington on Tuesday night.
Mark Kimble, a spokesman for Giffords' office, said the Congresswoman came just before the House votes on her final piece of legislation, which is a bill that would impose tough new penalties on smugglers who use ultralight aircraft to illegally bring drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Giffords announced her resignation in a two-minute video that appeared on YoutTube on Jan. 22.
"A lot of happened over the past year," she said. "We cannot change that. But I know on the issues we fought for, we can change things for the better. Jobs, border security, veterans. We can do so much more by working together."
In the letter of resignation, Giffords went on to say that the only way she ever served District 8 was to give 100 percent.
"This past year, that's what I have given to my recovery," she said. "Thank you for your patience. From my first steps and first words after being shot to my current physical and speech therapy, I have given all of myself to being able to walk back onto the House floor this year to represent Arizona's 8th Congressional District. However, today I know that now is not the time. I have more work to do on my recovery before I can again serve in elected office."
Giffords has represented Southern Arizona for five years.
With her resignation, Gov. Brewer will now set special election dates to fill the District 8 seat. The winning candidate will serve the remainder of Giffords' term, which is set to expire in January 2013.
After January of next year, District 8 becomes District 2 under the new Congressional district drawn by the Arizona Redistricting Commission.
Under the new district lines, the candidate looking to fill Giffords' seat will likely be required to go through two primary, and new general elections in less than a year.
Early indications expect Brewer to call the special primary in April, and the general election in June.
See link for Giffords' resignation letter