Arizona Special Election Results: Ron Barber Wins Gabby Giffords Seat, But Women Lose an Icon

Gabrielle Giffords earned a seat in Congress by promoting bipartisan problem-solving and representing all members of a diverse southern Arizona population. Before her work was complete, Giffords’ efforts were stalled by a shot heard around the world — one that still echoes especially loudly throughout the state. Lives were lost and a chapter of progress in Arizona politics has gone unwritten, for now.

Giffords was only the fourth woman in Arizona history to be elected to Congress. In a lawmaking body that still falls below 20% female, and in an election year where so much is at stake for women, Arizona has some catching up to do. The Republican's war on women is real, but we still have the right to vote (or at least I hope we do by the time this goes to print).

In the newly established congressional district 9, which encompasses much the Phoenix-Tempe-Mesa area in Arizona’s center, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema stands out as the right candidate to represent the state. During her seven years as the state legislator, Sinema made progress by working with Republicans and Democrats alike to pass bills that simply made sense for all Arizonians. She is a champion of women, the Latin community, military families, students, and job seekers.

Thanks to groups such Emily's List, the word of women as powerful and effective leaders is spreading. This is not an issue of gender-specifics; it comes down to who is rolling up their sleeves and getting the work done. In 2012, I think progress for my state of Arizona and the other 49 depends on more equal opportunity representation.