House names Capitol meeting room in honor of Gabe Zimmerman

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A room in the Capitol Visitors Center is now known as the Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room after a unanimous vote by the House of Representatives. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's office)

The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously Thursday (Dec. 1) to name a room in the Capitol for UC Santa Cruz alumnus Gabe Zimmerman (Stevenson, '02, sociology), the community outreach director who was killed in the January shooting rampage in Tucson that killed five others and wounded his boss U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, (D- Ariz.)

Zimmerman, 30, was the first Congressional staffer to be killed in the line of duty.

The Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room, formerly known as HVC 215, is a basement conference room in the Capitol Visitor Center that hosts House Democrats’ weekly caucus meetings along with regular gatherings of press secretaries, chiefs of staff and other aides.

The house resolution (H Res 364) was introduced in July by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), a close friend of Giffords, and Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.). After being stalled for several months, it was recently fast-tracked by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), according to reports from Washington.

By this week it had attracted more than 400 co-sponsors from the 434 current House members. More than 20 representatives spoke Wednesday in favor of the resolution. The vote late Thursday was 419-0 with 14 members not voting, including Giffords who is still recovering from her wounds.

After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, Zimmerman obtained a masters degree in social work at the University of Arizona. He joined Gifford's staff soon after she was elected in 2006.

A scholarship fund in Zimmerman's name has been created at UCSC to help outstanding students in the Division of Social Sciences who wish to pursue public service. The first winners are expected to be named next spring.

Two UCSC alums in San Francisco started the fund although they had never met Zimmerman. Donations are still being accepted and may be made online. More information may be obtained from and contributions sent to: Marcus Front, Social Sciences, UC Santa Cruz, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064, or jmfrost@ucsc.edu, (831) 502-7274.