Opinion

Remember Congresswoman Giffords’s staff

Photo of Rick Robinson
Rick Robinson
Author, Writ of Mandamus
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      Rick Robinson

      Rick Robinson has spent thirty years in politics and law, including a stint on Capitol Hill as Legislative Director/Chief Counsel to then-Congressman Jim Bunning (R-KY). He has been active in all levels of politics, from advising candidates on the national level to walking door-to-door in city council races. He ran for the United States Congress in 1998.

      Rick’s first book, The Maximum Contribution, was named a “Finalist” in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Books Awards in the genre of political fiction. It also won an Honorable Mention at the 2008 Hollywood Book Festival. Sniper Bid, was released on Election Day 2009 and opened on Amazon’s Top Seller list at #46 of political fiction. Sniper Bid earned 5 national awards: Finalist USA Book News Best Books of 2009; Finalist Best Indie Novel Next Generation Indie Books Awards; Runner-up at the 2009 Nashville Book Festival; Honorable Mentions at the 2008 New England Book Festival and the 2009 Hollywood Book Festival. Throughout 2009 both books appeared on Amazon’s Top Seller List on the same day.

      Rick’s third offering, Manifest Destiny, was released in the spring of 2010. It was named Best Fiction at the Paris Book Festival, a Finalist for Best Fiction in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Best Fiction at the New York Book Festival, a Finalist as Best Thriller in the Indie Excellence Awards, and won Honorable mention in the Beach Book Festival, the Hollywood Book Festival and the San Francisco Book Festival.

      A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Rick currently practices law in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky with the law firm of Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP. Rick, and his wife Linda, live in Ft. Mitchell with their three children, Josh, Zach and MacKenzie.

On Saturday, January 8, 2011, Gabe Zimmerman, a Congressional staffer for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, passed into the Hands of the Father. Two fellow staffers, Ron Barber and Pam Simon, were injured and are in the hospital.

I did not know Gabe Zimmerman and I have never met Barber, Simon or anyone on Congresswoman Giffords’s staff. But as a former Congressional staffer myself, I did not have to know Zimmerman and his colleagues in order to know a lot about them.

Working for a Member of Congress puts a person in a special fraternity of people who go to work each and every day trusting in the system and hoping that their work is making a difference. It doesn’t matter whether someone works on the Hill or back in the district, a Congressional staffer remains a staffer forever.

A staffer not only supports their boss, but they also live vicariously through them. When their boss is on television, the staffer watches. When their boss passes legislation, the staffer stands on the sidelines and cheers. It’s the staffer’s job to get the boss’ name in the newspaper, not theirs.

Staffers may leave the employment of Congress, but membership in the fraternity is forever. They are proud of what their boss, with the staff’s help, has accomplished. When current and former staffers meet, they offer a similar greeting: “Really? Who did you work for?” And when they leave for other jobs, they hang autographed pictures of them and their boss on the walls of their new office.

Thoughts of violence against the boss are always in the back of the mind of a Congressional staffer, but it doesn’t stop them from doing their jobs.

Staffers believe.

They believe in their boss. They believe in the institution of Congress. And they believe that they are making a difference.

To all the staffers who were at the scene, all of us current and former staffers are proud of you.

To Ron Barber and Pam Simon, we all pray for your recovery.

To Gabe Zimmerman and his family — Peace.

And, to all our colleagues on the staff of Congresswoman Giffords and their families, we current and former staffers hope that you will be comforted in a way that can only flow from the grace of God. Know that there are literally thousands of us who are feeling your pain and asking that you lean on our thoughts and prayers for strength.

Rick Robinson is the author of political thrillers which can be purchased on Amazon and at book stores everywhere. His latest novel, Manifest Destiny has won seven writing awards, including Best Fiction at the Paris Book Festival.