The House of Representatives is voting Thursday to approve a resolution to honor Gabriel Zimmerman, the first congressional staffer killed while conducting official duties. Zimmerman was killed in January during the shooting rampage in Tuscan, Ariz., that critically injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
More than 400 Congress members signed a resolution that would name a room at the Capitol after Zimmerman, as reported by The Associated Press. The 30-year-old was Gifford’s community outreach director.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) introduced the resolution in July. Schultz is the Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and good friend of Giffords.
In addition to relying on Zimmerman’s work, Giffords looked upon her staffer as a younger brother, Schultz told CNN.
“We deeply appreciate this show of support by the House of Representatives,” Zimmerman’s younger brother, Ben, said Wednesday in a statement on behalf of the Zimmerman family, according to The Washington Post.
“This is a wonderful way to memorialize my brother, Gabe. ... We would like to extend our warmest sympathies to the other victims of the Jan. 8 tragedy and their families for enduring this process of grief and struggle along with us.”
Currently, the soon-to-be-renamed room is titled HVC-215 and is a basement conference room where the House Democrats hold their weekly caucus meetings as well as regular gatherings of press secretaries and other aides.
“The reason that the Zimmermans thought it was so important to name this room after their son was to send a message to the entire congressional family of staffers that their work is incredibly meaningful, and they really thought it was important that a room that is used by staffers as often as this one is be named for Gabe,” Schultz said, according to The Washington Post.
“Each of us as members knows that we could never be as successful as we are in serving our constituents without the incredible work of our staff,” she continued.
There are over 15,000 staffers who work on Capitol Hill.
According to CNN, Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva said of Zimmerman, "It's not his death, but his work and ideals that should be recognized here."
Giffords continues to recover in Houston and will not be present for the vote.
Because the resolution will only affect the House, no vote in the Senate is needed. A formal dedication ceremony is planned for early 2012 where a plaque made in Zimmerman’s image will be revealed.