(NEW YORK) — A day after wife Gabrielle Giffords resigned from Congress, Mark Kelly told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff that “it was certainly the right decision,” despite the difficulty of stepping down from her position.
“Over the past month or six weeks, she came to realize that she was not going to be in a position to run for re-election,” Kelly said. “The goal had been for her to get back to work and run for re-election but she was aware that wasn’t going to happen. She knew that she had to continue with her rehab.”
Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, appeared on the House floor Wednesday to deliver her resignation letter, a little more than a year after being shot in the head.
“This past year my colleagues and staff have worked to make sure my constituents were represented in Congress,” the Tucson native, 41, wrote in her letter of resignation. “But if I can’t return, my district deserves to elect a U.S. representative who can give 100 percent to the job now.”
Kelly, a former astronaut, said Giffords planned to remain politically active and that she hoped a moderate like herself would fill her vacant seat.
For now, Giffords is spending five to six days a week in physical, occupational and speech therapy. Kelly said she still struggled with communication but was finding progress with intensive speech therapy.
While Kelly said he was certain his wife will return to public service, he said he will not be running in 2012.
“No way,” he said. “I will not be on the ballot. … I’m never one to close any door — there’s no point in doing that — but no one needs to worry about me gathering those signatures.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Billy Hallowell, Deseret News
Rafael Romo and Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
ABC 13 KTRK
Stephen Collinson, CNN