The first American Thanksgiving was a celebration of unity across cultures and races. Two cultures who did not know each other gathered together to have a meal and engage in fellowship. I hope that our kids learn this as part of our nation’s true and honest history. Native Americans far outnumbered the Pilgrims at Plymouth – and they brought food to welcome their new neighbors. They spent time together giving thanks for the abundance that was available to them. And they were grateful for the extra time to spend with family, too.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving together this year, I hope that we can truly focus on how much there is for us to be thankful for. We’re thankful that South Dakota’s economy remains strong, with incomes rising faster than any other state and new business applications leading the nation.
Some of our farmers may still be harvesting, so we’re thankful for this year’s crops and the strong commodity prices that will help our agriculture producers to make ends meet.
We’re thankful for the opportunities to enjoy our state’s natural beauty year-round, including the deer and pheasant hunting that is available this time of year.
We’re thankful for the men and women who answer the call to serve and keep us safe, both in law enforcement and in our armed services. In South Dakota, we will always respect them in words, and we will back that up with meaningful action.
In particular, I’m thankful for my wonderful and growing family. I’m grateful for my husband Bryon; for my daughter Kassidy, her husband Kyle, my granddaughter Miss Addie, and my grandson who will come in just a few short months; for my daughter Kennedy and her new husband Tanner; for my son Booker who is serving the Lord so wonderfully; for Bryon’s family, my in-laws; and for all of my own family. I’m grateful for the friends who offer me words of encouragement; for the staff and state employees who so graciously serve the people of South Dakota; and for the people who have trusted me with the honor of serving them.
Yes, I am thankful for all of you. And for the next four years, I will continue to give back to you by focusing on growing South Dakota. Together, we will make our state even greater by promoting Freedom and Opportunity for our kids and grandkids. We have a lot to be thankful for in South Dakota. Let’s treasure it, defend it, and thank God for it.