9 things about Gabrielle Giffords
1. Gabrielle Giffords was born in Tucson, Ariz., on June 8, 1970.
2. She received a bachelor's degree in Latin American history and sociology from Scripps College in 1993 and an M.A. in regional planning from Cornell University in 1996. She was also the recipient of a William Fulbright Scholarship for a year of study in Chihuahua, Mexico, 19931994.
3. After graduate school, she worked for Price Waterhouse in New York City. Shortly thereafter, she returned to Tucson to take over for her father when he retired from the family business, El Campo Tire & Service Centers Inc. As president, she rescued the business by introducing changes such as a pickup and delivery service, play tables for children in the stores, and a stronger focus on customer service (especially toward women).
4. Giffords began her political career in the Arizona State House of Representatives from 2000 to 2002. From there, she headed to the Arizona State Senate, where she served from 2003 to 2005. Just 32 at the time of her inauguration, she was the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate.
5. She is currently a managing partner of the Tucson-based Giffords Capital Management LLC, a commercial property management business.
6. Giffords's interests include hiking and spending time in the desert and canyons of Arizona, as well as motorcycling (she reportedly plans to ride her motorcycle to Argentina someday).
7. In the Tucson Citizen's 2005 article on the "40 most accomplished up-and-coming business and community leaders" under 40 in the Tucson area, she admitted that she once lived in a Mexican Mennonite colony and that she was currently listening to music by U2, Johnny Cash, and Ozomatli.
8. Giffords is currently dating astronaut Mark Kelly. The two meet a few years ago on a trip to China as young leadership fellows for the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. On his Discovery shuttle mission in July, Kelly carried into space with him a desert landscape, Giffords's mother's class ring, and a skull-shaped diamond ring from his close friend Steven Tyler of the rock band Aerosmith.
9. In July 2006, her reading list included First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong by James Hansen (a gift from Kelly), The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds by Tom Zoellner (about a journalist who sets off across six continents investigating diamonds after a broken engagement), and An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore (Gifford strongly recommends this book "whether or not you like Al Gore").