Gabrielle Giffords is a fierce advocate for Southern Arizona, holds substantive, common-sense views and has demonstrated courage and independence during her two terms in Congress.

Giffords is running against newcomer Jesse Kelly, a Republican, who has never held public office and is too reliant on fiery soundbites and practiced comebacks instead of workable, specific policy ideas.

We have watched Giffords expand her knowledge and use her influence in Washington to help shape issues vital to Southern Arizona, like border security.

We continue to be impressed with her affinity for the details. She doesn't say "I support the health-care reform legislation" and leave it there. She explains why it's necessary and why it is good for the people she represents.

Additionally, Giffords doesn't talk about the need for energy independence, she sponsors legislation that will help expand the solar industry in Southern Arizona. She knows that while it might be popular in some corners to rail against "the government," the fact is that in her district, many jobs are government jobs or are dependent on government contracts.

Giffords' record on immigration is strong. She has been a strong proponent of overhauling the system and can explain, in detail, why and how it should be fixed. Her support for the National Guard along the border, and for an increase in Border Patrol agents and practical technology so those agents can better stop drugs and people smugglers demonstrates that she is focused on tangible solutions.

She spoke out against the boycott of Arizona, and she also opposes SB 1070, because she saw that hurting Arizona's working people would not fix immigration and would cause only more problems. When problems with an entrance to Fort Huachuca near Sierra Vista cropped up, or flood-plain issues arose in the district, Giffords was there with solutions and she got it done.

We appreciate her accessibility and her eagerness to engage with people who don't agree with her. She doesn't back down and is frequently the most informed person in the room.

She has a moderate voting record in Congress and seeks out practical solutions instead of ideological rigidity. One way she demonstrates that is by holding regular public meetings in her district and by speaking individually with the people she represents.

Giffords has met critics head-on and explained her support of, for example, the health-care-reform legislation and Social Security. She has withstood attacks from outside political operatives who seek to tarnish her record with lies and misrepresentations about her positions.

Giffords said during a recent debate that she would never vote to privatize Social Security. We believe those in District 8 should take note that she is not against innovation in the system but puts an appropriate priority on keeping a safety net in place for Americans.

She does not advocate for big government and is a fiscal conservative. We agree with her philosophy on both points.

She recognizes that the federal government does have an important role in keeping drinking water and air quality safe, in safeguarding consumers, in helping needy students go to college, in protecting our security and in investing in local communities.

We respect Giffords' tenacity, intelligence and integrity. We again endorse her to represent Congressional District 8 in the U.S. House of Representatives.