Democratic cloakroom in Washington named after Gabby Giffords, Leo Ryan

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 10:22:13 AM. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold an event honoring Giffords and Ryan on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON — Democratic lawmakers who want to chat off the House floor will soon do so in a room named for two former members of Congress who were targeted by violence.

The "Gabrielle Giffords-Leo J. Ryan Cloakroom" is named for former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, and former Rep. Leo J. Ryan, who was killed in 1978 during the Jonestown massacre.

The House voted Tuesday by unanimous consent during a voice vote to name the Democratic cloakroom after the two lawmakers.

Giffords, who represented a district in southern Arizona, was critically shot by Jared Lee Loughner during a constituent event in a Safeway parking lot near Tucson in 2011. Six people were killed and 13, including Giffords, were wounded. Giffords retired from Congress and has since become a gun-control advocate with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

U.S. Rep. Leo J. Ryan was among those killed in 1978

U.S. Rep. Leo J. Ryan was among those killed in 1978 in Jonestown, Guyana. Ryan, D-Calif., was shot during his fact-finding mission on Nov. 18, 1978. (Photo: Associated Press)

Ryan was a California congressman who went to investigate a commune built by cult leader Jim Jones in 1978. He and four others were shot and killed while leaving the commune. After the shootings, Jones and his hundreds of followers died from self-inflicted cyanide poisoning.

Rep. Jackie Speier, a co-sponsor of the passed resolution, worked as an aide to Ryan at the time and was also shot while trying to escape. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will hold a Wednesday event honoring Giffords, who will attend. Speier will attend Wednesday's event along with Ryan's daughter, Patricia Ryan, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida.

Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was also shot this year during baseball practice with GOP lawmakers. He returned to work at the end of September. 





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