Bay Area politicians react to Ariz. shootings

January 8, 2011 6:07:27 PM PST
In the Bay Area, Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's congressional colleagues responded to Saturday's shooting as well as their own safety.

In San Francisco, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi held a previously scheduled New Year's event. Several politicians were in attendance and even though it was supposed to be a celebration with her constituents, there was a lot of sadness as some of the state's strongest leaders struggled to find the words to express their concern for Gifford.

At the top of mind, was Arizona's congresswoman.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with all of them, with all of their families. Congresswoman Gifford is a great patriotic American," Pelosi said.

She led a moment of silence for her colleague and friend.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said the family and loved ones of Giffords, as well as her constituents, "will remain in our thoughts and prayers as we continue to learn more about this heinous act of violence."

"There is always danger, but our job is to be out there and talk to people," East bay Congressman John Garamendi said.

Garamendi also took part in the moment of silence. He knows Giffords well. He and Giffords share the same style of communication with their constituents and both hold "Congress On Your Corner" events.

"Obviously, there's a risk and she's paid a huge price for being available to her constituency to answer questions, to not hide back in some back room some place with a photo opp and a sound bite," he continued.

Security for most elected officials is light. Garamendi arrived for Saturday's interview accompanied only by an aide. Still, he insists that what happened in Tucson Saturday will not make him change his ways.

"I'll stay where I am on the street corner with you or whomever," he said. "I don't like the security. I don't want it," he said.

However, security at the former house speaker's event was very tight. Staffers would not say if security levels were heightened because of the day's events.

The one thing all the officials continue to say is that the shootings need to be a wake-up call and all of the internal fighting in Washington D.C. needs to stop.

Also in San Francisco, during the inaugural meeting of the new San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Board President David Chiu requested a moment of silence for the "horrific tragedy" in Arizona.


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