This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for voters.
Voting is quite frankly the most important action we take as Americans. For many segments of the population, voting has not always been a right. And around the world, people sacrifice their lives for the right to vote in their own country. Voting is our duty.
For me, voting speaks to my core values. When I turned 18, I registered as a Republican and proudly voted in my first presidential election. By casting that first ballot, I ensured my voice was heard—just as our founders had envisioned. It was the beginning of a lifelong commitment to voting.
Even today, I treat my ballot like gold.
Accordingly, I have great respect for voters. It is voters who envision a future that is better than the present. It is voters who believe we can change what doesn’t work. And it is voters who ensure that our democracy functions as it should.
When I represented Southern Arizona in the U.S. Congress, voters took on a whole new meaning. Each voter in Congressional District 8 was my boss.
As you can imagine, I jumped at every chance to talk with them. I often held events called Congress on Your Corner, so that people could ask questions about my voting record in Congress or get help with a problem that was too big to handle on their own. In a lot of ways, the voters of Southern Arizona and I were a team. Together, we would make our community and country better for ourselves and for future generations.
When I look at Congress today, I know that there are plenty of reasons for voters to feel discouraged. Whether it’s finding responsible solutions to gun violence or addressing our nation’s basic budget and fiscal concerns, Congress is paralyzed by disagreement—or worse, beholden to special interests and extreme views. As a result, we don’t tackle the big problems facing our country.
Voters know this. And come Election Day next year, they will remember those who failed to make brave choices.
So today, I say thank you to the voters. You hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. You are the reason why I believe we can solve the big problems. It’s a tough job—but I know you’re up to it.
Gabrielle Giffords represented Arizona’s 8th District in the U.S. House from 2007 to 2012, and is a founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, which works to prevent gun violence.
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