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Autumn and Thanksgiving day table setting with fallen leaves, spices, grey dish and silverware on brown wooden table. Top view.

Despite the polarization and acrimony of politics, the holiday season brings Coloradans together to recognize the good, the shared wishes and the bright hopes of a new year.

Colorado Politics talked to some of the state's best known politicos to find out what they're thankful for and the warmth that will carry them in 2022.

This is what they told us.

Polis and Reis marry

Gov. Jared Polis married his longtime partner, Marlon Reis, in a Jewish ceremony on Sept. 15. Photo by Jocelyn Augustino.

Gov. Jared Polis and first gentleman Marlon Reis

“We are thankful for the safe and effective vaccine and that our parents, children, family and 80% of Coloradans have chosen to protect themselves from the deadly virus. We are thankful for the resilience and spirit of Coloradans who have stuck together during this challenging time and to live and lead the best state in the country to live, work and run a business.”

Heidi Ganahl

Heidi Ganahl, the University of Colorado regent at-large,

Heidi Ganahl, a Republican gubernatorial candidate and University of Colorado regent at-large

"I’m most thankful for my health and the health of my family. Last year was a difficult year as I battled a brain tumor. This year, I’m looking forward to time spent with my husband and our four children, teaching them what it means to give back and live a thankful life. I’m also thankful for the wonderful people I’ve met along my journey to be the next governor of Colorado and the opportunity to meet even more in the coming year."

Tamra Farah

Tamra Farah

Tamra Farah, former El Paso County Republican Party chair and current executive director of MomForce, a national school board initiative for Moms for America:

"I am thankful for my country and will never stop fighting for the Constitutional Republic that protects our liberty. This is second only to my gratitude for my family — my the first and greatest blessing."

Tony Gagliardi

Tony Gagliardi

Tony Gagliardi, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business:

"I’m thankful that my family and friends have remained relatively healthy during the last two years. I’m also thankful that as bad as things get politically, we live in a country where open and honest debate can be had regardless of your position."

Lynn Granger, executive director of the American Petroleum Institute Colorado

“I am most grateful for the arrival of my third son, Richard, who joined the world on Aug. 8. We are looking forward to spending his first holiday season warm and cozy thanks to Colorado’s natural gas and oil industry!”

Kent Thiry

Kent Thiry

Kent Thiry, political activist and retired CEO of Davita Inc.

“I am grateful for the incredible technological advances in medical science and applications. I am grateful for the technological developments which will make a quality education more accessible to all. I am particularly grateful for living in a democracy, as imperfect as it is, and the quest to protect and refresh it for our children. As Winston Churchill famously said: 'Democracy is the worst form of government … except for all the others.'”

Laurie Cipriano

Laurie Cipriano

Laurie Cipriano, spokeswoman for Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development

"During a year that presented unusual challenges for everyone, I'm thankful for the basic things that many take for granted: a warm house on cold days, a cool house on warm days, running water, and access to healthy food. Unfortunately, my 'thankful' list is a 'luxury' list for so many people around the world. 

"I'm also thankful for the unconditional love from family and friends who don't see eye to eye on every issue. I'm thankful when differing opinions lead to laughter, instead of animosity."

Walt Sanders, CEO of RMT Trucking and board chair for the Colorado Motor Carriers Association

"I am thankful for the men and women that have provided essential services in the United States, [who] include 3.5 million truck drivers who are on our roads every day, including Thanksgiving. They continue to perform one of the most demanding and important jobs in our country. These driving professionals deliver goods and products that fuel our economy and give us the quality of life that we have in this country.”

Nadine Bridges

Nadine Bridges

Nadine Bridges, executive director of One Colorado 

"This holiday season, I am thankful for vaccinations, caring neighbors, a beautiful inclusive queer community, and a strong team at One Colorado who continue to work hard to support our LGBTQ family."

Tony Milo

 Tony Milo

Tony Milo, executive director of the Colorado Contractors Association

“I’m grateful for the passage of the bi-partisan federal infrastructure bill. As a growing state, Colorado needs to invest in its road, bridges, transit options and water resources. This bill’s historic funding levels will help us improve the quality of life for all Coloradans.”

State Rep. Iman Jodeh, D-Aurora

"We gather to be intentional about our gratitude."

Dave Davia, executive vice president and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Mechanical Contractors Association

“I’m thankful for Western States College of Construction because trades work! WSCC is a first for the nation and another first for Colorado. Our longstanding apprenticeship programs, some operating for more than 100 years, provide all students with an opportunity to build a career with a secure future. The skills and profession learned on these campuses and on job sites across the state are the first steps on a career path that ensures high paying jobs, benefits, upward mobility, job satisfaction and a very bright future. Adding college credits as a pathway for our students provides lifelong skills and credentials and obtaining a diploma at the same time is a game changer for our industry.”

Austin Vincent, director of state affairs for the Colorado Farm Bureau

"This year, I am thankful for the farmers and ranchers ─ especially my parents and family ─ who work diligently to grow the products that make up our clothes and our food. I am thankful for a job that I love and close friends who support me. Most importantly, I am thankful for the health of my family and the many blessings the Lord has granted me this year."

Sen. James Coleman

Sen. James Coleman

State Sen. James Coleman, D-Denver

"I'm thankful for my family, my community and everyone sacrificing their lives to give life to Colorado and our country."

Peter Marcus and Amelia Ryder Marcus

Peter Marcus holds his new daughter, Amelia Ryder Marcus

Peter Marcus, spokesman for Terrapin Care Station

"Super thankful for the birth of our first daughter, Amelia Ryder Marcus. In a world gone mad, there are some rays of light."

Sara Loflin

Veteran politico Sara Loflin began work as executive director of ProgressNow Colorado on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021.

Sara Loflin, executive director at ProgressNow Colorado

"I am more grateful than ever for family and friends, for teachers, nurses, doctors, and care-providers. If the bottom fell out in 2020, 2021 was the beginning of a long and slow attempt to dig our way out. If not for playtime with our kids to lighten the moment, a friend to walk with when things are not OK, teachers who adapt to impossible conditions to help our kids blossom, and our care-providers, 2020 and 2021 would be/have been so much more difficult. So thankful for the people and care-providers in our lives."

Colorado Representatives

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, far right, and U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette listen as U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, speaks during a visit to a pair of buses set up as traveling clinics as part of the state’s Vaccines For All campaign June 18, 2021, in Aurora. 

U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Centennial

“I’m especially thankful this year for the health of my family and friends. After another hard year during this pandemic, we’re all grateful to the healthcare workers who have taken care of our community and for the scientists who developed the vaccines that will allow us to gather this year. I’m thankful to our service members around the world who have sacrificed for us and can’t be with their loved ones during the holidays. And I’m thankful for the privilege of serving my community in Congress.”

State Sen, Barb Kirkmeyer

State Sen, Barb Kirkmeyer works as a Welds County Commission in 2020, before she was elected to the General Assembly that fall.

State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, R-Weld County, a candidate in the 8th Congressional District

"I am thankful for my family — all my kids and grandsons; I am thankful for the friends, neighbors, co-workers and many other people who come into my life and bring special meaning to it; and, I am thankful to God for his grace and the hope he bestows upon us each and every day."

Jena Griswold swearing in

Colorado Secretary of State Jena M. Griswold

Secretary of State Jena Griswold

"This Thanksgiving, I am grateful to be able to spend quality time with my family and friends. I am thankful to be able to serve Coloradans as secretary of state."

Pam Anderson

Pam Anderson, a former executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association and former two-term clerk and recorder, announced on Saturday that she's running for Colorado secretary of state.

Pam Anderson, former Jefferson County clerk and GOP candidate for secretary of state

"I’m thankful for the support and love of my family. I’m thankful for all the professional and dedicated bi-partisan election officials and citizen election workers that support voters and enable accurate and fair elections."

State Treasurer Dave Young

“This year, I'm thankful for my wife Mary who shares my passion for public service, as well as all of my friends and family. I'm especially thankful for everyone who works in and with the Colorado treasury. It's an honor to work with you to fight for a Colorado that works for everyone. Happy Thanksgiving!”

Weston and Laurel Imer CD7

Courtesy photo Jefferson County Republican Laurel Imer, right, a former state legislative candidate, is seeking the GOP nomination for the congressional seat held by eight-term U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada. Her 17-year old son, Weston, is managing her campaign.

Laurel Imer, Republican candidate in the 7th Congressional District

"As I reflect on the past year I am most thankful for my family and friends. During these trying times, we need to hold tight to those closest to us and be thankful for every day that we have together. I am grateful to be saved by grace. I am blessed beyond  measure to be an American and thankful that every day I am able to walk freely on American soil."

Kristi Burton Brown

Kristi Burton Brown

Colorado Republican Party Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown

“I’m thankful for my faithful God in an unpredictable year. I’m also grateful my husband hit four years remission from cancer, for our kiddos, and that parents around Colorado won back their rights by getting elected to school boards this year.”

Dylan Roberts

State Rep. Dylan Roberts

State Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon

"On the personal side, this Thanksgiving I am immensely grateful for my family's health and safety and for my new bride whom I was lucky to (finally) marry this fall. Politically, I am thankful and excited that here in Colorado we are preparing to make significant investment in affordable housing — a major crisis facing my communities — with several bills coming forward in the upcoming session. Finally, I am anticipating being thankful for more snow, whenever that might fall here in the mountains. Pray for snow!"

Carol Hedges, executive director of Colorado Fiscal Institute

"I'm thankful that so many people are having a better Thanksgiving than last year because of the investments made by our federal leaders. I'm thankful that those investments have stabilized Colorado's economy and helped propel our economic recovery.

"As my retirement approaches, I'm also thankful for my long career working with amazing people from across the state to make Colorado the best possible place to work, live, play and raise a family."

And now for a different take on the day: November is Native American Heritage Month.

State Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Adams County

Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving. It's referred to as "Thanks-taking" by indigenous people and their allies. 

However, the day is still celebrated by Benavidez and others as a way to gather with family and friends. "It's a day to be thankful for family, to get together. It's not because we buy into the rationale behind Thanksgiving as a holiday."

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