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Thankful for the Opportunity to Work for South Dakota in the Senate

This Thanksgiving, I would like to share with all South Dakotans my gratitude for the opportunity to work for you in the United States Senate. It is a privilege that I will never take for granted. I continue to work every day to make decisions that will improve the lives of everyone in South Dakota. Jean and I send our warmest wishes to you this holiday season.


Thanksgiving is a good time to look back on the year and thank the Lord for the blessings that we have received. This year, we welcomed our 10th grandchild, Maverick Michael Rounds, born to my son John and his wife Ashlee. Our kids and grandkids are our greatest gifts and we’re so thankful for the time we get to spend with them.


I truly believe the pilgrims intended the first Thanksgiving to be a celebration of the harvest, and most importantly to thank the good Lord for the blessings he gave them in the new world. It is compelling they shared this first Thanksgiving with the Native Americans who had welcomed them.


None of us would be able to enjoy the freedom to celebrate this holiday if not for the service of our military members. We are incredibly thankful to them for the sacrifices they make to protect our way of life in the United States. We are also thankful to their families and friends who support them. Parents, spouses and children of military men and women make great sacrifices too. We pray for those who may not be able to spend the holiday season with their loved ones. We also pray for our first responders who put their lives in danger to protect their neighbors and communities.


We are thankful for our farmers and ranchers who work tirelessly to put food on the tables of families all across the country. South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers are some of the hardest working people I know. With trade instability and farm income down, I continue calling for the administration to quickly finalize trade deals that benefit our producers. I also continue calling for a strong farm bill that will provide more stability for the ag industry.


This year for Thanksgiving, we look forward to hosting around 40 of our family members. We’ll have two or three turkeys, depending on how many show up, but one is never enough to feed our whole crew. Of course we’ll have all the trimmings like potatoes, gravy, dressing and my two favorites—homemade cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream! We also try to fit in some time for pheasant hunting on Thanksgiving Day—one of the many traditions we look forward to each year.


One national tradition that South Dakota has a special role in this year is the president’s pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey. Each year, two live turkeys are sent to Washington, D.C., where they will be pardoned by the president. This year’s turkeys come from the Riverside Colony near Huron. After they are pardoned they will be transported to Virginia Tech to live out the rest of their days at Gobbler’s Rest.


I hope you enjoy spending time with your loved ones, partaking in your own Thanksgiving traditions this year, whatever they may be. The people of South Dakota are what make our state the best place in the world, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work for you in the Senate. Happy Thanksgiving!