Giffords, who will resign from Congress this week to focus on recovering from her injuries sustained in a shooting one year ago, will sit with fellow Arizona Reps. Jeff Flake, a Republican, and Raul Grijalva, a Democrat.
Last year, the Arizona delegation left a seat empty for Giffords between Flake and Grijalva as lawmakers wore black-and-white ribbons acknowledging the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting rampage that killed six people and injured Giffords and a dozen others.
The bipartisan seating craze at the president’s annual speech took off in the aftermath of the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., as lawmakers tried to cultivate a more civil and cooperative atmosphere. The nonpartisan organization No Labels, which is prodding Congress on the cross-party seating push, said 182 lawmakers had signed up to participate in the effort as of Monday morning.
Tuesday’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama will be among Giffords’s last duties as a member of Congress. Earlier Monday, she met in Tucson with constituents who were attending the “Congress on Your Corner” event where the shooting occurred one year ago.
Her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will also attend the State of the Union as one of Obama’s guests. Brian Kolfage, one of Giffords’s constituents who is an Iraq War veteran, will be Giffords’s guest at the speech.
Giffords told supporters in a video message released Sunday that she plans to step down from office this week.