January 8, 2011
Statement of Leeann Jones Wieser, President, Arizona Federation of Teachers,
and Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers,
On the Shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Others in Arizona
WASHINGTON—Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the families of all those killed in this senseless shooting, and we pray for the recovery of those who were wounded.
Rep. Giffords is a leader not just for Arizonans but for all Americans. She is a unifier who works tirelessly to bring people together. She is guided by her dedication to her constituents, puts principle above party, and uses the political process to do good.
Nevertheless, Rep. Giffords has been targeted previously for several of the principled stands she has taken. Charged political debate is a hallmark of American life. It is protected by our Constitution, and can lead to the thoughtful resolution of complicated and important issues. Much about this shooting remains uncertain at this time. But when disagreements spiral downward into hatred and violence, we must all condemn this violence and the environment that enables it.
Rep. Giffords’ civility makes today’s violent acts even more shocking. We decry this violence and stand with all who champion the civil discourse for which Rep. Giffords is rightly known.
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.