Now Reading
House names room in U.S. Capitol for slain Giffords aide

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

House names room in U.S. Capitol for slain Giffords aide

Lawmakers vote unanimously to honor Gabriel Zimmerman

  • Gabe Zimmerman with a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence that Zimmerman and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office helped bring to Tucson in 2010.
    Courtesy Gabrielle Giffords' officeGabe Zimmerman with a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence that Zimmerman and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office helped bring to Tucson in 2010.

A room in the U.S. Capitol will now be called the "Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room" in honor of the aide to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was killed Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously, 419-0, on HR 364 on Thursday to name room HVC 215 for Zimmerman.

The resolution was introduced by Rep. Debbie Wassermann Schultz, D-Fla., a close friend of Giffords. Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona was the lead Republican co-sponsor.

"We deeply appreciate this show of support by the House of Representatives,” Ben Zimmerman, Gabriel’s younger brother, said, speaking on behalf of the Zimmerman family. “This is a wonderful way to memorialize my brother, Gabe.”

The resolution was stuck in committee for months, even with 367 co-sponsors at the time, as House Speaker John Boehner declined to push the memorial forward.

In October, Wassermann Schultz publicly voiced her frustration that the legislation was being held up. Boehner's office said then that the speaker was considering some other sort of permanent memorial to Zimmerman, but wouldn't move the room-naming forward.

Last week, Boehner added the bill to the House calendar without commenting on it.

“Gabe was a beloved member of Congresswoman Giffords’ staff and was responsible for establishing her highly effective constituent services operation,” said Pia Carusone, chief of staff for Giffords. “Gabe was a dedicated public servant and a friend to all. His commitment to Arizona and to the democratic process inspires us to help each other as fellow human beings and as citizens of a caring nation.”

Thirty-year-old Zimmerman was killed Jan. 8 when Jared Loughner allegedly opened fire during Giffords’ "Congress On Your Corner" event in Northwest Tucson. Five others were killed and 13 people were wounded, including Giffords and two other members of her staff.

Zimmerman was Giffords’ community outreach director and one of the first people the congresswoman hired after she was elected to Congress in November 2006. He is the only congressional employee in the nation’s history to be slain in the line of duty, Giffords' spokesman Mark Kimble said.

Zimmerman had become engaged shortly before he was killed.

“Gabe Zimmerman dedicated his life to serving a cause greater than his own self-interest, and today’s resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives ensures that the spirit of service exemplified by this young Arizonan will never be forgotten,” Sen. John McCain said. “As we honor his memory, all of us who work on behalf of the American people should strive to live up to his example.”

Giffords, who is still recovering from her injuries, was not present for debate on the Zimmerman resolution but her office announced Wednesday that there will be a formal dedication of the “Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room” and unveiling of the plaque in early 2012.

“Gabe was one of many unsung heroes doing five things at once every day to make this a better place to live without asking for recognition. I’m very honored to support this memorial to his life and his work on behalf of his community, which meant a great deal to more people than we’ll ever know,” Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., said.

— 30 —

Best in Internet Exploder