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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Today we take the opportunity to reflect on all the blessings that are ours, and gather with family and friends to be nourished by good food and drink. Even though times are tough, and we have so much work to do to reduce suffering in America, we have much we can appreciate.

Here are some of the things we're thankful for:
  • We're thankful to all our fellow activists who have finally supported the Northwest Progressive Institute this year. We couldn't exist without you!
  • We're thankful that voters overwhelmingly said NO to Tim Eyman's Initiative 1033, which would have trapped us in a permanent recession.
  • We're thankful that the people of Washington were first in the nation to take a stand in favor of LGBT rights at the ballot by approving Referendum 71.
  • We're thankful that Dow Constantine is our new King County Executive.
  • We're thankful that Lloyd Hara is our new King County Assessor.
  • We're thankful that Julie Anderson is our new Pierce County Auditor.
  • We're thankful that Dave Somers and Dave Gossett, two great progressives, were reeelected to the Snohomish County Council.
  • We're thankful that two of us were able to go to Pittsburgh this year and represent NPI at the fourth annual Netroots Nation Convention. We had a blast.
  • We're thankful that several staff members were able to witness the historic inauguration of Barack Obama in person on January 20th.
  • We're thankful that Sound Transit Central Link - a project which we fought for years to protect - has finally opened and is now in service.
  • We're thankful for Representative Alan Grayson, who has been doing a remarkable job of speaking truth to power in the halls of the U.S. Capitol.
Finally, we're thankful that the Bush error has faded into the past. This morning, Barack Obama issued his first Thanksgiving address as president. His remarks:
For centuries, in peace and in war, in prosperity and in adversity, Americans have paused at this time of year to gather with loved ones and give thanks for life’s blessings. This week, we carry on this distinctly American tradition. All across our country, folks are coming together to spend time with family, to catch up with old friends, to cook and enjoy a big dinner – and maybe to watch a little football in between.

As always, we give thanks for the kindness of loved ones, for the joys of the previous year, and for the pride we feel in our communities and country. We keep in our thoughts and prayers the many families marking this Thanksgiving with an empty seat – saved for a son or daughter, or husband or wife, stationed in harm’s way. And we say a special thanks for the sacrifices those men and women in uniform are making for our safety and freedom, and for all those Americans who enrich the lives of our communities through acts of kindness, generosity and service.

But as much as we all have to be thankful for, we also know that this year millions of Americans are facing very difficult economic times. Many have lost jobs in this recession – the worst in generations. Many more are struggling to afford health care premiums and house payments, let alone to save for an education or retirement. Too many are wondering if the dream of a middle class life – that American Dream – is slipping away. It’s the worry I hear from folks across the country; good, hard-working people doing the best they can for their families – but fearing that their best just isn’t good enough. These are not strangers. They are our family, our friends, and our neighbors. Their struggles must be our concern.

That’s why we passed the Recovery Act that cut taxes for 95 percent of working people and for small businesses – and that extended unemployment benefits and health coverage for millions of Americans who lost their jobs in this turmoil. That’s why we are reforming the health care system so that middle-class families have affordable insurance that cannot be denied because of a pre-existing condition or taken away because you happen to get sick. We’ve worked to stem the tide of foreclosures and to stop the decline in home values. We’re making it easier to save for retirement and more affordable to send a son or daughter to college.

The investments we have made and tough steps we have taken have helped break the back of the recession, and now our economy is finally growing again. But as I said when I took office, job recovery from this crisis would not come easily or quickly. Though the job losses we were experiencing earlier this year have slowed dramatically, we’re still not creating enough new jobs each month to make up for the ones we’re losing. And no matter what the economists say, for families and communities across the country, this recession will not end until we completely turn that tide.

So we’ve made progress. But we cannot rest – and my administration will not rest – until we have revived this economy and rebuilt it stronger than before; until we are creating jobs and opportunities for middle class families; until we have moved beyond the cycles of boom and bust – of reckless risk and speculation – that led us to so much crisis and pain these past few years.

Next week, I’ll be meeting with owners of large and small businesses, labor leaders, and non-for-profits from across the country, to talk about the additional steps we can take to help spur job creation. I will work with the Congress to enact them quickly. And it is my fervent hope – and my heartfelt expectation – that next Thanksgiving we will be able to celebrate the fact that many of those who have lost their jobs are back at work, and that as a nation we will have come through these difficult storms stronger and wiser and grateful to have reached a brighter day

Thank you, God bless you, and from my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.
Video of the address is also available at


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