FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty will be joined by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address on Tuesday in an effort to put the spotlight on gun control reforms.
Giffords, who was shot five years ago while meeting with voters at an Arizona supermarket, and Esty will sit together on the floor of the House for the 9 p.m. speech.
“It has been five years since the tragic attack in Tucson and three years since the tragedy in Sandy Hook, and yet Congress has still not taken up commonsense gun violence prevention reforms,” said Esty, who is vice chair on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “I am proud to join my friend, Gabby, who has dedicated herself to public service. From Newtown and Hartford, to Tucson and Charleston, Chicago and Colorado Spring, Americans are demanding action to enhance criminal background checks and improve access to mental health services.”
Giffords said she is honored to join her many former colleagues for the speech.
“Congresswoman Esty is a true champion for common sense in the fight for making our communities safer from gun violence. Both Congresswoman Esty and I know all too well the impact of gun tragedies on our communities and our constituents. We share a bond no elected representative ever wants to share. It is a club you never want to belong to,” said Giffords. “But the truth is that gun tragedies befall every congressional district and every community in our nation. Gun violence knows no bounds. That’s why it’s so fitting and powerful that one seat in the First Lady’s State of the Union Guest Box will be left empty to honor the victims of gun violence. The Americans represented by that empty seat no longer have a voice. And we must be their voice.”
Giffords’ husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, is also expected to be in attendance in the House gallery, along with Esty’s guest James Wardwell, chief of police for the City of New Britain.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy will be Obama's guest at the speech and will be seated with First Lady Michelle Obama.
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