A time to give thanks, a time to heal and to respect

Well, today is one of my favorite days of the year. A few interviews, a few Turkey Trots (observation only) and a few work visits with my kids to a couple of the many meal programs to support those in need. Yes, today has a full agenda, then off to the in-laws for dinner with the family. A great day to enjoy our family and a time to reflect on what I am truly thankful for in my life. I hope you have the opportunity to reflect and enjoy your family and friends as well.

This year might be a little bit different around the dinner table as we are just two plus weeks removed from the Presidential election. Too many people the results were a surprise and I understand that well. However, the results are the results no matter what side you are on and it is onward we shall march with our new President. This is a critical part of our Democracy that has transcended our country for generations.

What is concerning is the vitriol that continues to at times erode our country. I am all for free speech and the rights that we enjoy in this country; however, I fear at times our passion surpasses our democracy. At the end of the day, hatred should not carry the day but truthful, fair and discerning discussion should, although at times the news does not reflect that theory.

I am hopeful that no matter what table you are gathered around this Thanksgiving that one keeps this in mind — we can all respectfully agree or disagree and understand that just because one does not agree does not mean that we should not respect one another. This is such a simple message but one that needs to be reinforced now more than ever.

Additionally, when we gather at the table let’s keep in mind that there are many that have no table or home or food to gather around or to enjoy. It is those in need of support we need to continue to be mindful of during this holiday season. It reminds me of my focus in the NYS Assembly. That focus is on the core "kitchen table" issues I hear from my constituents regularly — education, taxes, healthcare, jobs, housing, childcare and nutrition, to name a few. Those are the issues we can all work on together to build up our community and lead all to a more self-sustainable life.