Just two weeks from the end of a grueling mid-term campaign and now wedged between two weeks of the legislature’s annual fall session, it’s safe to say I’m still catching my breath this holiday week.
The rhythm of Illinois government and politics can be both stressful and exciting. There are long, frustrating days like April, when lawmakers kept us until after dawn on that last day of the spring legislative session while they scrambled to approve the state budget and a host of other items.
Then there are days when your sources don’t return your calls. And those days where you stare at a blank screen for hours just waiting for words to flow out.
There are daily frustrations that only Statehouse reporters can understand, and long-term challenges in our industry that we all feel.
But this job is a blessing — or as legendary Chicago Tribune reporter Ray Long calls it, “the greatest beat on planet earth.”
I think he’s right, no exaggeration. I love this job and am grateful every day that I get to do it, even on the hard days.
Quite simply, it is a great privilege and responsibility to write the first rough draft of history, to challenge the Force, and to elicit responses from state officials on behalf of the people they serve.
I’m thankful every day that I get to do it.
As I did last year, I reached out to a selection of Illinois elected officials to ask what they are grateful for in 2022. You can find their answers below.
Happy Thanksgiving, Illinois!
“As I reflect on 2022, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Illinois for another four years. I am grateful to my loving wife and children for their support in this endeavor. We’ve all come a long way together since 2018, and I hope all Illinois residents are healthy and able to spend time with loved ones near and far this holiday season.”
US Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro
“Thanksgiving is a wonderful reminder each year to give thanks for all we have. Tracy and I are especially grateful for the blessings of our children and grandchildren. We also say a prayer for our militaries who make so many sacrifices to protect our nation and our liberties.”
US Rep.-Elect Nikki Budzinski, D-Springfield
“During this Thanksgiving season, I am very grateful for the support and unconditional love of my parents. Without their unwavering support, I would not have been able to take on the challenge of running for public office. This year I’m looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving dinners for my whole family. While I may not be the best cook, I’m thankful my dad is! I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving with their loved ones and time to say thank you.”
US Representative Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline
“I am forever grateful to the people of northwest and central Illinois who have placed their trust in a heartland native to bring their voices to Washington and serve on our part of America. I have had the privilege of serving in Congress for a decade, and I am grateful for all the people I met along the way.”
US Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville
“I am grateful again this year that my family is healthy and that we are all blessed to live in the greatest country in the history of the world – the United States of America. I am also grateful to the voters of the 13th District for giving me the opportunity to be their voice in Washington for the past decade. Representing the people of Central and Southwest Illinois in Congress has been the honor of my life.”
US Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria
“Thanksgiving is a time for reflection, and this year I am grateful for my loving family and the opportunity to represent our fellowship in Congress. During the holiday season, I am especially thankful for the brave men and women serving abroad so we can enjoy the comfort of living in the greatest country on earth. We are blessed to live in a wonderful community in central Illinois and I hope everyone enjoys this Thanksgiving with their families and loved ones.”
US Representative Mary Miller, R-Oakland
“Happy Thanksgiving to the 15th congressional district of Illinois. I am honored to represent our community in Congress and on the House Agriculture Committee. I pray that God will continue to bless our great nation!
Personally, I am grateful to have a close relationship with our children and grandchildren and for the ability to worship and believe without government interference. I am thankful for the community of farmers across Illinois who have worked all year to produce food for our land!”
“I am grateful to the constituents who gave me the opportunity to serve four more years. But even if they hadn’t, this would have been an amazing year as I married my wife and my daughter continues to grow into an amazing young woman.”
Auditor Susana Mendoza
“This year I am especially grateful for the good, tax-prudent steps we are taking in Illinois and for my dedicated employees. I know it sounds nerdy, but at its core, sound investing and planning for the future is about people. It’s about making life easier for the weak. It’s about making sure there are good jobs where workers can earn fair wages. It’s about Medicaid recipients knowing they have access to health care when they need it. It’s about being a great state to build families and businesses Everyone knows the job is never done, but I’m confident she’s on the right track and I’m really grateful for that.
“I am also grateful to voters for their overwhelming support in my re-election. Finally, after so many challenges from the pandemic, I am also especially grateful to be surrounded by loving family and friends this holiday.”
Attorney General Kwame Raoul
“I am grateful to be in a public service position that offers a meaningful opportunity to make a difference for those who may not be able to meet challenges on their own. I am also grateful that talented staff are dedicated to this ministry.”
Secretary of State Jesse White
“On this Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful to the people of Illinois who have granted me the privilege of serving as their Secretary of State for the past 24 years. It was the honor of my life. During the six terms of my tenure, we have made our streets safer, expanded the organ and tissue donation program, improved customer service, and restored the integrity of an office mired in a cloud of controversy and corruption.”
Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park
“I am grateful to be able to spend some time with my children over the holidays, which is even more special now that they are grown and living on their own. And as always, I am grateful for the continued opportunity to minister to the children and people of the great state of Illinois.”
House Speaker Chris Welch, D-Hillside
“As every year, I am very grateful for my family and loved ones who give me meaning every day. I am thankful for our health and wellbeing as we make plans to gather this Christmas season. And of course, I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to serve my community, the Illinois House of Representatives, and this nation’s largest state.”
Senate Minority Leader John Curran, R-Downers Grove
“This year and every year I am thankful for my family and the time we can spend together. My wife and the girls bring a tremendous amount of joy to my life, and watching them participate in sports and other activities as they grow as individuals is really special.”
House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna
“Every life offers many possibilities. I’ve always found hope in breaking new ground and the optimism that can come with starting over. In addition, I am thankful and thankful for good health, a supportive family, and great friends. I understand that these are blessings that many do not have and that is why I appreciate them all the more in my life.”
Former House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs
“I am grateful for this incredible opportunity to serve as Illinois’ representative and, more importantly, as the leading Republican in the House of Representatives for the past 9 years.”
Contact Brenden Moore at 217-421-7984. Follow him on Twitter: @brendenmoore13