Gabe Zimmerman Room formally dedicated at U.S. Capitol ceremony

Ross Zimmerman speaking in Washington D.C.
Ross Zimmerman, Gabe Zimmerman's father, speaks Tuesday at the dedication. Seated from left are U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Ron Barber, who succeeded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Giffords, and House Speaker John Boehner. Vice President Biden and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., are behind Zimmerman. (Photo courtesy Office of U.S. Rep. Ron Barber)
Zimmerman plaque
A plaque commemorating Gabe Zimmerman hangs in the room named in his honor in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. (Photo by Bryant Avondoglio, House Speaker's office)
Vice President Biden addresses the audience which included numerous congressional staffers. (Photo courtesy Office of U.S. Rep. Ron Barber)

A conference room at the U.S. Capitol named for the late congressional staffer Gabriel Zimmerman (Stevenson, '02, sociology) was formally dedicated Tuesday (April 16) in a ceremony with Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, and Zimmerman's family among the attendees.

Zimmerman, 30, died in the shooting rampage that killed five others and wounded 13 including Giffords January 8, 2011. Working as Giffords' outreach director he had organized the "Congress on the Corner" event outside a Tucson supermarket where the shooting happened. He was the first congressional staffer to be killed in the line of duty.

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.

Speaking to Zimmerman's parents, Ross Zimmerman and Emily Nottingham, Biden said "Gabe was stolen from you doing the work of democracy."

A plaque created by a Tucson artist commemorating Zimmerman's service hangs in the Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room, formerly known as HVC 215, a basement conference room in the Capitol Visitor Center where House Democrats’ hold weekly caucus meetings along with regular gatherings of press secretaries, chiefs of staff, and other aides.

Nottingham said she hopes that in 50 years when members of Congress walk by the plaque and learn who her son was they will enter the room "and stand up for what they believe in.

"I hope the love Gabe had for democracy and people lingers in this room for many, many years," she said.

Others speaking at the ceremony were Ross Zimmerman, Boehner, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Rep. Ron Barber, another Giffords aide who was wounded in shooting and later succeeded Giffords.

A scholarship fund in Zimmerman's name has been created at UCSC for outstanding students in the Division of Social Sciences who want to pursue public service.

Zimmerman's parents and brother visited Santa Cruz two weeks ago to scatter some of his ashes and meet the second winner of the Gabe Zimmerman scholarship.