Editorial: An Empty Seat In Congress

Editorial: An Empty Seat In Congress

With great concern and empathy for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; and the unfortunate situation that occurred on January 8, 2011, many constituents in Arizona's 8th District have recently presented us a most difficult question.

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We at (AZR) have found it terribly difficult to ask the following question given the sensitivity of the matter involving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).

Although the Congresswoman's office has been diligently working with other representatives of Congress to address current and ongoing issues related to representing the local interests of her constituents; the response presented to us from Giffords' office is that, "Technically the 8th District has no representative in an official capacity, as the Congresswoman is on a medical leave of absence."

As a registered voter within the 8th District, I spoke with a Giffords' office today inquiring to the questions from local constituents and more specifically the matter of the districts lack of representation in Congress. "Is there any interim representative who is voting on the current ballots presented on the house floor in Washington?" The answer provided by Giffords' office, "Any interim representative to the 8th District would need to be addressed by an amendment to the Constitution and currently, there is no legislative measure in place to allow such representation."

With all due respect to the situation and the unfortunate incidents that occurred on January 8, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. We as a media blog; albeit a minor media, have a responsibility to address the questions that have been forwarded to us regarding this issue. "It is a difficult question to ask without causing confrontation. Certainly we do not present these questions with any bias whatsoever; political or otherwise. Congresswoman Giffords as well as the other victims of the Tucson shooting did not deserve to be the recipient of such violence. Our hearts are deeply saddened by the events, though we feel we must ask this difficult and sensitive question."

The situation regarding Giffords is unfortunate and we all wish it could have been averted. Furthermore, we do not wish to make hasty accusations by this editorial nor do we wish to present information regarding this subject to any ill affect or otherwise to present a poor picture of the efforts of her staff during her absence. Undoubtedly, the Giffords staff have gone above and beyond, but the fact remains that there is no effective representative for the 8th District, nor is there an elected representative currently leading her staff.

Questions from local constituents emailed to us recently, still remain:

When will Congresswoman Giffords return to her elected position?
Will Giffords ever regain the capacity to return to her elected position?
Is there to be a special election and whom will decide this?
Who is voting on behalf of the 8th District of Arizona?

These questions are not the opinions of this media but are legitimate questions presented to us by local residents.

This last question was answered by her staff during a phone call to her office today, "Technically there is no representation of the 8th district. Although many issues on the floor in Washington are not voted on by members of Congress; in this situation, there have been no votes cast by representation of the district since the incident in January."

National and international attention to the unfortunate shooting in Tucson has been covered from every possible angle. Yet, it seems major media does not want to address a situation that remains unspoken.

In addition to the suffering caused at the hand of accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner, the people of the 8th District have undoubtedly suffered the lack of representation which is a right guaranteed them under the Constitution. Tucson's 8th District remains a U.S. Congressional district without effective representation.

We pray that the Congresswoman can return to her elected position and look forward to the national coverage of her return to the house floor in Washington. Most constituents would agree that Gabby is the type of person who would want representation for her district, under any circumstance.

On a side note, our blog has been a part of Arizona since 1998, whose publisher is a resident of Arizona's 8th District. Although we typically focus on arts and entertainment we have rarely taken advantage of our position as a syndicated media in order to present opinion, as is the position of many major media. With the popularity and reach of our voice, we feel we have a responsibility to present the questions and opinions of those who have contacted us regarding this matter. We respect the voice with which we have been given and we welcome your comments as well.

Your input is welcome below.

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