A bipartisan group of House Members turned out Wednesday to unveil a resolution to name a room in the House side of the Capitol Visitor Center in tribute to Gabriel Zimmerman.
Zimmerman was community outreach director for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and was killed in January when Jared Loughner opened fire at a constituents’ event in Tucson, Ariz., and wounded 13 people — including Giffords — and killed six.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Arizona Reps. David Schweikert (R), Jeff Flake (R), Ed Pastor (D), Ben Quayle (R) and Trent Franks (R) stood alongside members of Zimmerman’s family and Giffords’ staff.
“Gabe Zimmerman is the first Congressional staffer murdered in the line of duty in our institution’s history,” Wasserman Schultz said at the press conference. “Now it is time, just more than six months after his death, it is time that we in the United States House of Representatives properly honor his service.”
Zimmerman, who was 30 at the time of the shooting, was described by Wasserman Schultz as a dedicated staffer always ready to help out a constituent.
“This was a young man who had not only a bright future, but the biggest heart,” said Wasserman Schultz, who is also chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
Schweikert said the room will also stand as a tribute to all staff members who work behind the scenes.
“This is much more than just employees, or people we work with. These are the people who keep an eye out for us, who advocate for our constituents, who solve problems,” Schweikert said.
“Gabe had an amazing reputation as one of the most caring individuals you could possibly have as a staffer,” Schweikert continued. “We stand here today to try to honor his gift, honor the wonderful things he did for the community, but also honor our entire Congressional family.”
Wasserman Schultz said she plans to try to offer an amendment to the legislative branch appropriations bill to fund changing the nameplates in HVC-215. Failing that, she would seek to get the resolution on the suspension calendar.
She said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has been supportive since the January tragedy.
“We have had a number of conversations with the leadership on how to properly memorialize Gabe; those conversations are ongoing,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Speaker Boehner has been incredibly supportive since the shooting ... and we expect that that is going to continue.”