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Weekly Column: Plenty to be Thankful for This Year

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season for many of us, and it’s a special time of year where we show gratitude for all the blessings in our lives. I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve the people of South Dakota in the U.S. Senate, and for the love and support of my family as I do this job.

I’m also thankful for our men and women in uniform, many of whom may be far away from their friends and families for the holidays. This Veterans Day, I attended activation ceremonies in Parkston and Huron to send off the South Dakota National Guard 153rd Engineer Battalion and Forward Support Company as they left South Dakota for a 10-month deployment to Kuwait. We are grateful for their service and sacrifice, and for that of their loved ones back home.

This year, Americans endured a long, tiring campaign season that ended in an historic election result most of us did not foresee. Despite the many challenges we face as a nation, I am more hopeful than ever about our future. With a Republican partner in the White House for the first time in eight years, we in Congress will now have an ally in our desire to make meaningful and necessary reforms to the way Washington does business. We’ll work to roll back many of the overreaching, overly burdensome regulations that are stifling job growth and creativity in this country. We’ll work to make sure hard-working Americans can bring home more of their paycheck to support their families and re-invest in our economy. We are excited to consider our new president’s recommendation for the Supreme Court. America will finally have the opportunity to see a change in Washington, and I am very thankful for that.

As we count our blessings this Thanksgiving season, I would encourage South Dakotans to take some time to give back to our neighbors and communities. The state of South Dakota was recently ranked fourth in the nation for volunteering, which is no surprise to any of us who live here. I’m thankful to live in a state where neighbors lend a helping hand whenever they can, to those who need it. There are plenty of opportunities to give back during this holiday season. We can volunteer at our churches, donate our time or money to help prepare a community supper for those who may not otherwise have a warm meal on Thanksgiving or help out at a local food bank or charity.

My family and I want to wish all South Dakotans a blessed Thanksgiving holiday. It is the warmth and generosity of the people of South Dakota who make our state the best place in the world to call home. May God continue to bless you and your families.