House votes to honor Zimmerman - The Explorer: News

House votes to honor Zimmerman

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Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 4:00 am

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 419-0 last week, naming a prominent room in the Capitol in honor of Gabe Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, an aide for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was killed Jan. 8 when a gunman open fired at Giffords’ “Congress On Your Corner” event in Northwest Tucson.

 Zimmerman is the only congressional staff member in the nation’s history to be killed in the line of duty.

The House of Representatives approved House Resolution 364, naming room HVC 215 in the Capitol Visitor Center as the Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room.

The resolution received an overwhelming amount of support, with 402 of the 435 members of the House serving as cosponsors.

Rep. Debbie Wassermann Shultz, of Florida, introduced the resolution.

Shultz is close friends with Giffords.

Rep. David Schweikert, of Arizona, was the lead Republican co-sponsor.

The room is located on the House side of the Capitol, and because of this, passage by the House is all that is needed to put the resolution in effect.

A formal dedication of the room will occur in early 2012 when a plaque bearing Zimmerman’s likeness will be presented.

“We deeply appreciate this show of support by the House of Representatives,” Ben Zimmerman, Gabe’s younger brother, said. “This is a wonderful way to memorialize my brother, Gabe.”

“We especially would like to thank the offices of Reps. Giffords, Wassermann Shultz and the members of the Arizona delegation for their work in preparing and supporting this bill,” Ben Zimmerman added. “We also would like to thank the tremendous number of co-sponsors on the legislation and the House leadership for bringing this bill to the floor for consideration. Finally, we would like to extend our warmest sympathies to the other victims of the Jan. 8 tragedy and their families for enduring this process of grief and struggle along with us.”

In addition to Gabe, five other people were killed, and 13 others were wounded, including Giffords and two members of her staff during the Jan. 8 shooting.

Zimmerman, 30, was Giffords’ community outreach director, and one of the first people hired when she was elected to Congress in November 2006.

Before joining Giffords’ staff in January 2007, Zimmerman was a 1998 graduate of University High School in Tucson, a 2002 graduate of the University of California, and a 2006 graduate of Arizona State University where he received a Master’s degree in social work.

As Giffords’ Director of Community Outreach, Gabe was the voice and face of the office, as he worked with organizations throughout Southern Arizona. Gabe also provided key assistance trying to navigate the federal government.

“Today, we honored Gabe Zimmerman, a man who spent his life giving back to Arizonans and making our state a better place,” said Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona. “Though naming something as simple as this room will never be enough for such a sacrifice, it is the right thing to do for Gabe – for all he did for Arizona and what he meant to the congressional family.”

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