Who she is: 

Gabby's family has lived in Arizona for three generations. She left her hometown of Tucson for college, but returned after graduating to help run her family’s tire business. When the business was sold, she entered politics. 

What she does: 

In 2000, Gabby ran for a seat in the Arizona Legislature. Though she had supported the Republican Party for many years, she switched to the Democratic Party. She served first in the Arizona State House of Representatives, taking office in 2001. In 2003, she became the youngest woman ever to serve in the Arizona State Senate.

In 2005, Gabby resigned from her seat in the State Senate in order to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. When she was sworn into office in 2007, she became the third woman and the first Jew to represent Arizona in Congress. That same year, she married Captain Mark Kelley, a Navy pilot and NASA astronaut.

Why she's cool: 

During her five years in Congress, Gabby focused on clean energy, the future of the space program, and the needs of military families. She was committed to working with people with different political views to find solutions to problems Americans share.

On January 8, 2011, Gabby was critically wounded when she was shot while meeting with constituents outside a supermarket in Tucson. Miraculously, she survived a gunshot to the head. Six other people died from their injuries.

After weeks in intensive care and a year of intensive rehabilitation, Gabby regained the ability to walk, talk, and do other daily tasks, but she decided she needed to devote all her energy to her recovery. On January 22, 2012, the day after she was greeted with tears and cheers at the State of the Union address, she formally resigned from the House of Representatives.

Although she has stepped down from her office, no one would be surprised to see her return to public service one day.

About being Jewish: 

Gabby's father is Jewish and her mother is a Christian Scientist. Her parents encouraged their children to explore different religions, and Gabby chose Judaism.