Ron Barber: Giffords Will Make Decision To Seek Reelection "When Time Is Right"

Ron Barber, the district director for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, walked into the Monday meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson this week to a big round of applause.

While he was using a cane—Barber is still recovering from nerve damage after taking a bullet in his upper left thigh during the Jan. 8 shooting rampage that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Giffords—he was able to clamber onto the stage to address the crowd of Democratic activists at their weekly luncheon.

Barber said that Giffords, who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, is making progress in her recovery in Houston, where she is living with her husband, retiring NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.

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  • P.K. Weiss
“She is doing so well,” said Barber, who reported that Giffords does three hours of physical therapy at Houston’s TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in the morning and another three hours of speech therapy in the afternoons at home five days a week.

“It’s very tiring, but she’s determined,” he said. “And if any of you know her, you know that determination is one of her most important characteristics.”

Barber told the crowd that he remains optimistic that Giffords will be able to return to work, saying that she understands what’s been said to her, even though she struggles to speak.

“For those of you who know about rehabilitation, if your cognition is intact, the rehab becomes much more feasible for success, and that’s certainly the case for speech therapy,” he said.

But Barber stopped short of saying Giffords would be able to seek reelection.

“As far as a decision to run or not run, I think we’ll know more about that later in the year or early next year at the latest,” he said. “The congresswoman will make that decision when the time is right. She’ll make it based on her own sense of her ability to serve well. She will not, I don’t think, do anything unless she can do it extraordinarily well. But we won’t see a decision for awhile.”