Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ), who was sworn in to Congress earlier this week after winning the special election to succeed former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will hold his first “Congress On Your Corner” district event this Saturday. Giffords was gravely wounded while holding her own district event in January 2011, in a shooting that also injured Barber, then Giffords’s district director.
The event will be held at a Safeway in Tucson, at 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. local time.
“This event is the first of many I will hold so that I can be accessible to all of my constituents throughout southern Arizona,” Barber said in a statement. “I will not become isolated in Washington. My work at the Capitol will be influenced by what I hear and learn here in Arizona.”
Giffords survived after being shot in the head at a district event in January 2011, at a different Safeway location in a suburb just outside of Tucson — an event that also used the “Congress On Your Corner” name. She resigned her seat a little over a year later in January 2012, in order to focus full time on her recovery.
Barber was also wounded in the shooting, and six people were killed. Barber won the special election for the Republican-leaning swing seat last week over GOP candidate Jesse Kelly.
Barber’s communications director Mark Kimble played down any connection between Barber’s upcoming district meeting, and the events of January 2011.
“Well, ‘Congress On Your Corner’ is a name used by many members of the House for their community-outreach events,” Kimble told TPM. “And Rep. Barber has been in office now since Tuesday, and he’s coming home for the weekend, and he wanted to use that opportunity to meet with his constituents.”
Barber’s only goal, Kimble said, “is to be as accessible as he can to the people of southern Arizona.”