Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Praises Giffords’ Public Service

A year after being severely wounded in a shooting rampage, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Az., is resigning from Congress.

In a YouTube video announcement, Giffords said leaving office is what is best for her constituents and she will step down this week to devote more time to rehabilitation. The governor of Arizona has 72 hours after the seat is vacated to set a special election.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., who is close friends with Giffords, released a statement applauding her public service and calls for more civility in Washington.

From Yarmuth’s office:

“During her time in Congress, Gabby Giffords was a public servant in the truest sense. And throughout her recovery, she has shown extraordinary courage and determination. Her decision today is just one more example of her always putting her constituents and country first. While I will miss her in Washington, her lessons about civility and humanity will certainly remain.”

The special election for Arizona’s 8th congressional district is expected to favor the Republicans, who held the seat before Giffords’ victory in 2006. According to Politico, Democratic officials are encouraging her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, to run for the seat.

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Panel Discusses Past, Present Of Intense Political Rhetoric

A University of Louisville panel on political discourse says today’s political divisiveness is not unprecedented.

Congressman John Yarmuth, outgoing Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and political science professor Jasmine Farrier sat on the panel. Farrier said many people seem to have historical amnesia when decrying the intense and sometimes violent rhetoric in Congress and in the media.

“I don’t know why we don’t acknowledge that we have had political violence in this country,” she said. “We have had terrible divisions. The New Deal was called Socialist and Fascist when those words meant something. And yet we think back that that was a wonderful consensus moment. It wasn’t.”

Yarmuth agreed with Farrier, but said the increase in the number of media outlets and in the public’s access to media has exacerbated any problems. The panel was organized after the shooting rampage in Arizona that left six dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords seriously injured.¬†Yarmuth said it’s too early to say exactly what motivated the alleged shooter, but three topics immediately surfaced and should be discussed.

“One was guns, one was mental health…and the possibility that something triggered in Jared Loughner the idea of going to shoot a government official. And we ought to debate all of those and the intersection of the three,” he said.

In her closing remarks, Farrier suggested the audience change the tone of the media by boycotting controversial hosts. Grayson added that news consumers should expand their horizons.

“Go to the other side, if you will, and read arguments in favor of a policy you think right now you don’t agree with or against a policy you agree with. There are plenty of great sites out there,” he said.

The full forum:

Audio MP3
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Yarmuth Says Higher Security Would Protect Constituents

After Saturday’s shooting in Arizona, members of Congress are considering tightening security at public events.

Shortly before he walked into a public event, Third District Congressman Yarmuth said there has been a lot of discussion about security in the last week, and many representatives are most concerned about protecting their constituents, should more violence occur.

“It’s not necessarily our own safety, but it’s the safety of the citizens who come out to see us and talk with us,” he says. “That’s something that I think has probably not been as big a factor as it should be.”

Six people were killed in the shooting spree last Saturday. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was seriously wounded.