Giffords' return to Congress delights Tucson residents

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- A big surprise Monday in the U.S. House of Representatives, the return of Southern Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

A little under seven months since the shooting rampage that killed six people and put her and a dozen other people in the hospital, Giffords showed up to vote on the deal to raise the nation's debt limit by $2.4 trillion.

The measure passed with a 269 to 161 count.

Giffords' return to Washington is yet another milestone in her road to recovery. 

Congresswoman Giffords' spokesman says Gabby has been watching what's going on in Washington, she has seen the growing frustration, and felt a call to be part of this vote.

In the middle of a debt crisis in D.C., the sound of applause resounded through Capitol Hill.

Nearly seven months after getting shot point blank in the head, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was smiling, chatting and surrounded by her fellow lawmakers.

"She just looks amazing, she looks happy and healthy and vibrant," said Kay Quinn.

Kay Quinn works at the raging sage, one of Gabby's favorite Tucson coffee shops.

"I knew this day was going to come, I'm just happy it happened so much sooner than anyone thought it was going to," said Quinn.

Kay watched as the congresswoman voted in favor of the debt package, so did Gabby's Tucson staffers.

"Her staff gathered in my office where we have two televisions.  We had one on C-SPAN, one on CNN.  And I think there was a lot of silence and sniffles in our office," said Congresswoman Giffords' Spokesman CJ Karamargin.

Shoppers at the Safeway on Ina and oracle were also excited to see their congresswoman back in action.

"I was really excited to see her there, and it made me really happy that she was able to make it for an important vote like that.  I feel like I'm being represented again," said Tucson resident Jordan Miesner.

Monday's appearance was a sign of a comeback. One that's been slow, but if you ask Gabby's spokesman, well worth the wait.

"I think the congresswoman for the immediate future will focus on her recovery, but her goal is to return to work full time and as you saw today she is well on her way to achieving that goal," said Karamargin.

For a few moments, Tucsonans and the nation took their attention off the debt debate And instead focused on one woman's determination.

Reportedly Gabby's husband, astronaut Mark Kelly was with her on the trip.  He also had some NASA events to attend in Washington.

They'll return to Houston in a few days where Gabby will continue with her recovery.