The Power of 2
Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly bring their inspiring story of courage and strength to the Emerson Center.
Gabby Giffords got a hug from President Barack Obama when she attended his State of the Union address in 2012.
When Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords and Mark Kelly married on November 10, 2007, they became an instant power couple. But it would be more than three years before the politician-
astronaut pair would show the world the power of their connection to each other, a connection that transcends even their extraordinary careers and accomplishments.
Giffords is a third-generation Arizonan and a self-
described moderate Democrat. In 2000, at age 30, she began her political career by serving a single term in the Arizona state house. Just two years later she became the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona state senate.
A year after winning reelection in 2004, she resigned to run for, and subsequently win, a vacated seat in the U.S. House. She was re-elected twice. A champion for border security and comprehensive immigration reform, an advocate for the needs of veterans and military families, and an outspoken supporter of energy independence, Giffords was considered a rising star for the Democrats.
Kelly, an engineer and Naval officer turned astronaut, was a star in his own right. As a Naval aviator, he flew 39 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm and later served as a test pilot, becoming a highly decorated captain. In 1996, he and his twin brother Scott were selected to become NASA astronauts; and by 2011, Mark Kelly had already piloted two shuttle missions and served as a commander on a third, a 13-day flight of Space Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station.