Martin Luther King Day is quickly approaching. It’s the time of year when we think of a man that spoke radically, and made enemies to promote civil rights. It’s a time to appreciate people who work to make the world a better place.
Unfortunately, another great human being has fallen prey to hatred and unnecessary violence. Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords, a heralding hero for solar energy, natural resources and conservation, amongst many other great causes, was recently shot it the head, and critically injured along with fourteen other people. Six were killed.
While there is some controversy as to the motivation of the shooting, there is no doubt that Giffords is a woman of incredible strength, integrity, and intelligence, and certainly did not deserve to be the target of hatred (not that anyone ever does).
Amongst her many personal and professional achievements, including being the youngest woman ever elected to the Senate, she has worked hard as a Congresswomen to get three very important environmental bills passed.
In 2007, she put into motion the Solar Energy Research and Advancement Act. This legislation creates research and development programs for solar technology, includes a report of how to draw solar energy from high solar resource areas, and examines ways to reduce water consumption during the solar conversion process.
In 2008, she added the Renewable Energy Assistance Tax Act to her credentials. This extended the 30% commercial solar property and residential tax credit for eight years. It also extended energy efficient appliance credit, and the energy efficient doors, windows and insulation consumer tax credit, thereby extending the financial incentive for people to adopt more environmentally responsible lifestyles.
In 2007, she created the Levee Like Structures Consideration Act, which would have required FEMA to create a process for considering the effects of levee-like structures when revising of updating flood maps. While this passed the committee on Financial Services, the issue was resolved through negotiations with FEMA.
In addition to the work she’s done for the environment, Gifford has also fought hard for our health, both mental and physical, our public education, and our employee rights. She is a compassionate, intelligent and motivated woman. I hope for the sake of her, her family, our government and our environment, that she recovers to her full capacity.