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PA Delegation Reacts to Tucson Tragedy

Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation expressed their collective sorrow for the victims and families, and hopes for the health and recovery of colleague Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. PoliticsPA compiled official statements and press reports from sitting and recent Pennsylvania Members of Congress.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey

“The horrific tragedy in Arizona sparked a sense of sadness and loss across the country. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

“As we mourn the loss of six lives, including a federal judge and a young girl recently elected to student government, and hope for a full recovery for the 14 injured, the shock has been exacerbated by the fact that an elected official was targeted.

“The motivations of someone capable of this sort of attack can’t be fully comprehended. There is, however, ample evidence of increased vitriol and anger directed at elected officials in recent years. All of us, especially those of us who are public officials or politically active, have an obligation to lower the heat in our debates and to show respect for each other.”

Bob Brady, PA-1
“My thoughts and prayers go out to Congresswoman Giffords, her family, and staff in this horrible time. Please join me in praying for all those affected by this horrible tragedy.”

Chaka Fattah, PA-2
“Word of today’s shooting of my colleague Gabrielle Giffords, her District Director and others in Tucson have left us all reeling from this senseless act of unprovoked violence.

“It is a tragedy that in the course of serving the needs of her constituents, Gabby, along with members of her staff, and countless bystanders were subject to such carnage.

“My family and I join with others in prayer for all the victims including Pennsylvania native and Federal Judge John Roll, and the young nine year old child and their families.  Like her doctors I remain optimistic and pray for a full and complete recovery for my colleague and friend Gabby.”

Mike Kelly, PA-3
“I am absolutely horrified and shocked by the attack earlier today on Congresswoman Giffords, members of her staff and innocent bystanders as Congresswoman Giffords was meeting with constituents from her district.  This was a despicable, senseless act.  Violence against public officials has no place in our country.  My thoughts and prayers are with the Congresswoman’s family, her staff and the other victims of this attack.”

Jason Altmire, PA-4
“I am shocked and horrified at the tragic events today in Tucson. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to Gabrielle’s husband, Mark, and her entire family. I also extend my deepest sympathies to the families of all those killed and injured in this senseless tragedy.  They are in my prayers.”

Glenn Thompson, PA-5
WETM: Rep. Thompson said he was sending his condolences to the Giffords family

Jim Gerlach, PA-6
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and all of the victims of this horrific crime. This was a senseless attack on a public servant, her staff and constituents. Meeting and listening to constituents is essential to effective representation. It is truly a disgrace that anyone would exploit that accessibility to harm a public official.”

Pat Meehan, PA-7
“There are no words to properly express the deep sadness Carolyn and I feel following today’s tragic events. We wish to express our most sincere condolences to those killed and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of all affected.

“While the details of today’s shooting are not clear, these horrific acts of violence have no place in our society and the perpetrator must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“My new colleague Gabrielle Giffords is in my thoughts and prayers as she is still in critical condition. This attack on her as she was doing the very thing she was elected to do – be a voice for those she represents – is a direct attack on our democracy.”

Mike Fitzpatrick, PA-8
WFMZ: “She does her job she does it very well and we hope to have her back her very soon.”

Bill Shuster, PA-9
“My thoughts and prayers are with Gabriel Giffords, her family and the families of everyone affected by the senseless act of violence perpetrated in Tucson today. A disgusting and reprehensible act such as this is completely unacceptable in a civil society.

“I pray for Gabrielle’s swift recovery and for the recovery of her staff and the bystanders involved, as well as for the swift prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the attack.”

Tom Marino, PA-10
“I am saddened by the tragic and senseless attack on Rep. Giffords, her staff and constituents. My wife and I pray for the full recovery of Rep. Giffords and all other victims of the shooting and extend our condolences to the families of Judge Roll and the others who sadly did not survive, especially to the family of the young child.”

Lou Barletta, PA-11
“It is with shock and great sadness that I learned today of the tragic incident in Tucson, Arizona, involving Representative Gabrielle Giffords. I have not yet had the opportunity to get to know and work with Representative Giffords, but I have heard many things about her professionalism, her dedication, and her willingness to work with her colleagues across the aisle. I extend my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to her family, friends and staff. I would also like to offer my most sincere condolences to the family and friends of U.S. District Judge John M. Roll and the other victims of Saturday’s senseless tragedy. I ask all residents of the 11th District to join me and my family in praying for them.”

Mark Critz, PA-12
Tribune-Democrat: “My heart goes out to the Giffords family and the other victims of today’s tragic and senseless act of violence,”

Allyson Schwartz, PA-13
“From Tucson to across the country, so many Americans, including myself, are horrified and deeply saddened by the mass shooting at a congressional outreach event hosted by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

“Gabby is my colleague and friend. I respect and admire her commitment to public service and her principled leadership on behalf of her constituents. Her commitment to her constituents is well known and respected. She has a deep passion for building on the unique strengths of the United States to ensure that there is hope and opportunity for all Americans.

“Tonight my heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with her for a swift and full recovery, and I extend those thoughts and prayers to her husband, Mark Kelly; her family; her staff; and those wounded and killed at today’s senseless shooting. And, my great hope is that our nation can come together as one to remember the love of America that we all share.”

Mike Doyle, PA-14
Post-Gazette: “Gabby has a great smile and she seemed to wear it all the time. I was never in her presence where she wasn’t cheerful and upbeat. She seemed to be someone who sees the world in very optimistic terms.” Mr. Doyle said Ms. Giffords was a diligent, focused representative who faced tough re-election campaigns. She won, he said, because of her work ethic.

Charlie Dent, PA-15
“I am deeply shocked by the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords. Gabby is a remarkable woman and an exemplary public servant. My thoughts and prayers are with the Congresswoman and her family, as well as the members of her staff and local residents who were harmed in this terrible attack.

“I am appalled this attack occurred at an event where Congresswoman Giffords was conducting one of the most vital aspects of her job as a Representative — interacting with members of the community she had been elected to serve. American democracy is exceptional because of our steadfast commitment to preserving free and open debate. Actions like those taken today in Tucson have no place in our society.”

Joe Pitts, PA-16
“Today’s attack on Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, and her constituents is horrifying and tragic. She was doing what every good member of Congress does, meeting her constituents face to face.

“While I have not worked closely with the congresswoman, I know that my colleagues from Arizona have a deep respect and admiration for her. My wife and I are praying for her recovery, and for all the victims and their family members affected by today’s tragedy.”

Tim Holden, PA-17
Patriot News: “This polarization in this country has to stop,” the Schuylkill County Democrat said Sunday. “You can disagree without being disagreeable.”

“It’s a time to come together and just let her family and her know that our thoughts and prayers are with her,” he said.

Holden said he met with Giffords and their fellow Blue Dog Democrats weekly. He described her as one of the nicest people he’d met in Congress.

“She’s a hard worker, a dedicated public servant, and no one deserved this,” Holden said.

Tim Murphy, PA-18
“Today’s horrific shooting in Tucson is an appalling act of violence. My thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Giffords, her staff and family, and the families of the victims. May God grant strength to Gabby and of all of those affected by this senseless tragedy.”

Todd Platts, PA-19
York Daily Record: “We live in such a great nation where we all have the constitutional right to express our displeasure with government and government officials, and to express our disagreement on policy,” Platts said. “But it’s such a sad day and a tragic day when somebody takes policy disagreement and raises it to an act of violence against another person.”

“My focus now is just on the well-being of those who have been attacked today,” Platts said. “It’s violence that we’d like to think would never happen in our great nation, but unfortunately it does happen.”

Former Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper PA-3 (Giffords’ DC roommate)
“I’m deeply saddened and shocked at the shooting of my friend and colleague Congresswoman Giffords. She was a truly committed public servant and a wonderful person. She loved working for her constituents in southern Arizona and her country.  Gabby and I were close friends, we worked together , were members of the Science & Technology Committee and Blue Dog caucus and were even roommates for a short while.  My heart goes out to her husband, Mark, and her family and the victims and families of everyone involved.

“This is a horrific incident and a terrible tragedy.  We must denounce this type of action, come together as leaders of this great nation and begin working together for the betterment of all citizens and country.  Violence is not the answer to any problem and certainly no way to handle the struggles and challenges we find ourselves often debating.

“I ask that you join me in prayer for her full recovery and for the other innocent victims and their families.”

Former Rep. Joe Sestak PA-7
Delco Times: “She was very much a people person. She was very ‘grass roots’. She just cared about people,” Sestak said Saturday evening.

Former Rep. Patrick Murphy PA-8
Inquirer: Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who lost re-election to a second term in November, was clearly upset when contacted about the shootings — too emotionally raw to talk about them, he said, because Giffords is a friend.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to her,” he said.

Former Rep. Chris Carney, PA-10
Times Tribune: “You would think it shouldn’t have to take something like this to be a lesson, but I think it’s an indication of how far we’ve sunk,” Mr. Carney said Saturday, lamenting that the “discourse in this country has deteriorated tremendously.”

“I’m not sure if ‘blame’ is the right word for Ms. Palin, but I think it wasn’t helpful, obviously,” Mr. Carney said of her map. “It would be very useful if she came out and, if not apologize, say that she was wrong in putting that sort of logo on peoples’ districts.”

Former Rep. Paul Kanjorski, PA-11
Times Tribune: Mr. Kanjorski met her on occasion and described her as bright with a “bubbling personality.”

Updated: The original version of this story was updated to include statements from Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Tim Holden.

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