Just two weeks removed from the end of a grueling midterm campaign and now sandwiched 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 Illinois state government and politics beat can be exhausting as it is exhilarating. There are long, frustrating days like in April, when lawmakers kept us until after the sun rose that final day of spring legislative session as they scrambled to get the state budget and a host of other items approved.
Then there are those days when your sources don't return your calls. And those days when you are staring at a blank screen for hours on end just waiting for words to start pouring out.
There are daily frustrations that only statehouse reporters can understand and long-term challenges within 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 hyperbole. I love this job and I am thankful every day I get to do it, even on the tough days.
Quite simply, it is a great privilege and an awesome responsibility to write history's first rough draft, challenge power and elicit answers from public officials on behalf of the people they serve.
I am grateful every day I get to do it.
As I did last year, I reached out to an assortment of Illinois elected officials to ask what they are thankful for in 2022. Their responses are below.
Happy Thanksgiving, Illinois!
What Illinois politicians are thankful for this year
Gov. J.B. Pritzker
"In reflecting on 2022, I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to serve the people of Illinois for another four years. I’m thankful for my loving wife and children for their support in this endeavor. We’ve all come a long way together since 2018, and it is my hope that all Illinoisans are healthy and able to spend time with loved ones near and far this holiday season."
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro
"Every year, Thanksgiving provides us with a wonderful reminder to give thanks for all we have. Tracy and I are especially grateful for the blessing of our children and grandchildren. We are also saying a prayer for our military men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our nation and our freedoms."
U.S. Rep.-elect Nikki Budzinski, D-Springfield
"This season of thanksgiving, I am very grateful for the support and unconditional love of my parents. I would not have been able to take on the challenge of running for public office without their unwavering support. This year, I'm excited to be hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my entire family. While I might not be the best cook, I'm thankful that my dad is! I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving with their loved ones and time to give thanks."
U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline
“I'm forever grateful for the people in Northwest and Central Illinois who put their faith in a heartland native to bring their voices to Washington and deliver for our part of America. I’ve been very fortunate to serve in Congress for a decade, and I’m thankful for all the people I’ve met along the way.”
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville
"I am again thankful this year that all in my family are healthy and that all of us are blessed to live in the greatest country in the history of the world — the United States of America. I am also thankful to the voters of the 13th District for giving me the opportunity to be their voice in Washington for the past ten years. Representing the people of central and southwestern Illinois in Congress has been the honor of my lifetime.”
U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria
"Thanksgiving is a time for reflection, and this year, I am thankful for my loving family and the opportunity to represent our community in Congress. During the holiday season, I am especially grateful to the brave men and women serving overseas so that we can enjoy the comforts of living in the greatest country in the world. We are blessed to live in a wonderful community in central Illinois and I hope everyone can enjoy this Thanksgiving with their family and loved ones."
U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, R-Oakland
“Happy Thanksgiving to Illinois’ 15th Congressional District. I am honored to represent our community in Congress and on the House Agriculture Committee. I pray that God continues 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 around Illinois who have worked all year round to produce food for our country!”
Treasurer Mike Frerichs
"I'm thankful to the voters who gave me the opportunity to serve for four more years. But even if they had not, this would have been a great year as I married my wife and my daughter continues to grow into an amazing young woman."
Comptroller Susana Mendoza
"This year I'm feeling extra thankful for the good, fiscally prudent steps we are taking in Illinois, and for my dedicated staff. I know that sounds nerdy, but at its heart, making sound investments and planning for the future is about people. It's about making life easier for the vulnerable. It's about ensuring there are good jobs where workers can earn fair wages. It's about Medicaid recipients knowing they can access health care when they need it. It's about being a great state to grow families and businesses. Everyone knows the work is never done, but I'm confident it is well underway, and I'm truly thankful for that.
"I am also thankful to the voters for their overwhelming support in re-electing me. Lastly, after so many challenges wrought by the pandemic, I am also extra thankful to be surrounded by loving family and friends this holiday."
Attorney General Kwame Raoul
"I am thankful to be in a position of public service with significant opportunity to make a difference for those who might not be able to overcome challenges on their own. I am further thankful to have a talented staff dedicated to that service."
Secretary of State Jesse White
"This Thanksgiving, I am thankful to the people of Illinois who allowed me the privilege to serve as their Secretary of State for the past 24 years. It has been the honor of a lifetime. Throughout my administration's six terms we have made our roads safer, expanded the organ and tissue donor program, improved customer service, and restored integrity to an office that had been under a cloud of controversy and corruption."
Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park
"I am thankful to be able to spend some time with my children over the holidays, which is even more special now that they're grown and living on their own. And, as always, I am thankful for the continued opportunity to serve the people of the great state of Illinois."
House Speaker Chris Welch, D-Hillside
"As I am every year, I am most thankful for my family and loved ones who give me purpose every day. I am grateful for our health and wellness as we make plans to gather this holiday season. And, of course, I am truly blessed to receive the opportunity to serve my community, the Illinois House of Representatives, and the greatest state in this nation."
State Sen. John Curran, R-Downers Grove
"This year and every year I am thankful for my family and time we get to 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 while they grow as individuals is really special."
House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna
“Each life is presented with many opportunities. I have always found hope in blazing new pathways and the optimism that can accompany a reset. More than that, I am thankful for and appreciative of, good health, a supportive family, and great friends. I understand these are blessings many don’t have and so I appreciate them in my life, all the more.”
Former House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs
"I am grateful for having this incredible opportunity to serve Illinois as a Representative and more importantly to serve as the leading House Republican during the past 9 years."
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be an incredibly stressful job, so here are a few tricks you can use to make it easier.
Contact Brenden Moore at
217-421-7984. Follow him on Twitter: @brendenmoore13