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Gabby Giffords: Congress' voice for solar power

No doubt most of us are still experiencing some shock after Saturday’s mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, which took the lives of six people, and wounded 14, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Dignitaries from President Obama to Arizona governor Jan Brewer have spoken highly of Giffords’ work ethic, passion, and common-sense approach to policy.

Less mentioned (though not ignored) was Giffords’ focus on, and expertise in, solar power development. A quick glance at the section of her official website dedicated to the subject demonstrates her commitment. Giffords worked not only to author and advance legislation to make solar competitive with traditional energy sources, but also to educate her constituents and others about the benefits of this renewable energy source. Treehugger mentions her Solar Power 101 events, created in partnership with the Pima County Public Library; Giffords also spoke on the topic at the Solar Economic Forum in 2009, and to the National Academy of Sciences the same year. Her site contains links to a number of resources on home solar power and energy efficiency.

Among the bills Giffords introduced in the House:

  • H.R. 3585, the Solar Technology Roadmap Act: Passed in 2009 in the House, this bill “[established] a comprehensive roadmapping process for solar technology research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) activities conducted by the federal government in partnership with the private sector, with a focus on the Department of Energy (DOE).”
  • H.R. 2774, Solar Energy Research and Advancement Act of 2007: Signed by President Bush at the end of 2007, this act promoted solar development by supporting workforce training, research and development, and demonstration projects.
  • H.R. 3807, Renewable Energy Assistance Act of 2007: This piece of legislation protected “vital individual and commercial tax incentives for installing solar energy systems and investing in energy-saving residential upgrades, encouraging research and investment in advanced solar energy and energy-efficient technologies.”

First and foremost, we wish Rep. Giffords, and all of the victims from Saturday’s violence, a speedy recovery, and hope that she’ll be back to represent her district… and continue to serve as a voice for all of the issues about which she is passionate.

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Image credit: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords official site