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Ms. CLARKE of New York. Madam Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of New York's 11th congressional district to offer my thoughts and prayers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, constituents, and all those affected by this tragic shooting. I am truly shocked, horrified and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence. I take time to reflect on those who lost their lives, including a Federal judge, a 9-year-old girl, and one of Congresswoman Giffords' staff. I pray for a swift recovery for the wounded and offer my heartfelt thanks to those who rushed in to offer aid.
I consider Gabby, as she is affectionately called, to be a wonderful colleague whom I have the pleasure of serving alongside on important issues such as immigration reform. She has demonstrated exemplary leadership and is a very well respected Member of the House of Representatives.
While we do not know the motive, we do know that the time has come for us to tone down our rhetoric and partisanship. We are responsible for our words and must respect those who hold different points of view. Our constituents and the world at large should see us as examples of civility, peaceful debate and democracy. Regardless of one's political affiliation, we must learn to respectfully agree to disagree. There are several issues before Congress that would benefit all Americans and many people overseas but often times have been marginalized by partisanship. Our constituents expect us to work for them and not allow politics to get in the way of governing.
Finally, this shooting has many of us thinking about the security and safety of our constituents when we are back home holding town hall meetings, meeting with constituents and doing the people's work. Many people die or are wounded daily from gun violence and many suffer from mental illnesses that are either not properly diagnosed or treated. This tragedy provides the opportunity to further discuss mental health and gun control legislation.
Madam Speaker, let us, as Members of Congress, reaffirm our commitment to work on behalf of our constituents--those who sent us here to represent their interest. Let us do our part to build a better Nation and world.
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