A Tragedy of an Electoral Giant: Gabrielle Giffords

The world is full of senseless tragedies and this weekend another one took place right within our family. Most of you know by now, Democratic Congresswoman from the 8th District of Arizona was shot by a mentally-deranged 22 year old. This blue dog democrat was an indefatigable supporter of renewable energy, and she let everyone know it.

Republican Roscoe Bartlett (MD) stated:

After such a contentious election, most Americans who don’t live in Washington, DC are unaware that among the 435 House members, some of us forge strong bonds across party lines and from different regions because we are dedicated to shared goals.  Congresswoman Giffords is a Democrat from Arizona and I am a Republican from Maryland.  However, I was privileged to work closely with Congresswoman Giffords on renewable energy initiatives on the Science and Technology Committee.  I was impressed, from her first day on the committee, by her knowledge and passionate commitment to promoting a transition from our dependence on fossil fuels and imported oil to renewable, sustainable, domestic sources of energy.

SEIA’s Rhone Rhesch stated:

In her short time in Congress, Gabby has realized a number of accomplishments covering a wide range of issues. For our industry, she has constantly positioned herself as one of the go-to champions for solar in the House of Representatives. In two terms, Congresswoman Giffords: was a key supporter in the House as SEIA pushed for the 8-year extension of the solar investment tax credit and the recent one-year extension of the Treasury Grant Program.

Giffords, one of the most passionate supporters of solar energy in Congress, held the first Solar Power 101 in November 2007. Since then, they have been held throughout the 8th Congressional District, with the most recent event on October 10th, 2010 in Tucson.

I had toured her Congressional staff at my two zero-energy Arlington buildings in 2010, and I spoke with the Congresswoman a few times about how to accelerate renewable technologies within the defense sector. She has a gift of being able to understand the overarching issues and yet focus on the constituent issues.

While the national media contorts this attack as some kind of outgrowth from harsh politics, I don’t see it that way – from the press accounts, we had a very deranged individual.  In my speeches on assaults to democracy, I always remind my listeners that, “those who use violence, should be deplored, – they insult the memories of the global leaders of civil non-violence Gandhi, Mandella, and King.”

I know the courage and strong optimism Congresswoman Giffords holds. And we all owe her our gratitude and should offer our prayers for her and her family. We hope she recovers to carry on this quest of a stronger country and economy and a cleaner environment. We’re with you, Gabby, in our hearts and prayers. 

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Scott, founder and president of The Stella Group, Ltd., in Washington, DC, is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and The Solar Foundation. The Stella Group, Ltd., a strategic marketing and policy firm for clean distributed energy users and companies using renewable energy, energy efficiency and storage. Sklar is an Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University teaching two unique interdisciplinary courses on sustainable energy, and is an Affiliated Professor of CATIE, the graduate university based in Costa Rica. . On June 19, 2014, Scott Sklar was awarded the prestigious The Charles Greely Abbot Award by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and on April 26, 2014 was awarded the Green Patriot Award by George Mason University in Virginia.

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