Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is cooking dinner for his extended family at the Executive Residence for his first Thanksgiving as governor. His wife’s parents, who are in their early 90s, are making the trip, as is the governor’s sister, a couple of nephews and their children.

He described his menu as “traditional, plus, I do a big pot of meatballs and sausage to be consumed through the weekend.”

He issued a Thanksgiving message today, reflecting on what he called a challenging year:

“As people across Connecticut gather around their Thanksgiving tables this year to celebrate with family and friends, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on where we are and where we aspire to be in our state.

“This past year has been a challenging one. We have sent brave men and women to other countries to defend our freedoms. While we’re grateful to welcome some men and women who rejoin their families back home this year, many are still overseas this Thanksgiving, away from their loved ones. Still others have made that ultimate sacrifice, and we honor them and their memories today.

“We have endured snow storms of historic proportions and a tropical storm that brought devastation to many communities along our shoreline and river beds.

“We continue to struggle with a persistent economic downturn. Too many of our fellow residents are unemployed or underemployed. Too many of our fellow residents feel an economic insecurity not felt in more than eighty years. Too many of our young people are worried that their future will not be as bright as that of their parents and grandparents. Many of these young people, sometimes joined by adults, have taken to the streets to express their frustration. It is a frustration that, at some level, we all share.

“Despite all of this, or maybe because of it, we have much for which to be thankful.

“We are thankful that so many brave men and women proudly wear the uniforms of our armed services, and nobly go to faraway places and dangerous lands to fight for what we hold so dear: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“We are thankful for the Connecticut residents who, without bidding or fanfare, took food to elderly neighbors or invited acquaintances to take shelter in their warm homes in the aftermath of destruction caused by snow, wind, and rain.

“We are thankful that at a time when leaders at a national level have not found common ground to address many of our nation’s challenges, we in Connecticut have been able to come together, and across the aisle, in a genuine effort to address our most pressing economic, fiscal and social problems.

“Mostly, we are thankful because we live in a state populated by good and decent people. Our cities and towns brim with kind, hardworking, compassionate people, nurtured by our 375-year history, and rooted in the political and military founding of this great nation. All around us we see industrial, political and artistic innovation that has become the signature of our people over time.

“We come from good stock; we are the beneficiaries of our state’s historical commitment to face our challenges forthrightly, and to work hard at improving the circumstances of all our fellow citizens. It is wrong that even in this great state, children go to bed hungry. But it is good that we are addressing this social injustice, and it is right that we are committed to seeing the day when we alleviate child hunger.

“It is wrong that some of our fellow residents are, through no fault of their own, unable to find employment that allows them to climb their way into the middle class and to bring the next generation of their families with them. But it is good that we recognize this economic injustice, and it is right that we have implemented policies to give the working poor a hand up.

“It is bad that some of our fellow residents are afflicted with handicaps that make their lives immeasurably difficult, and leave them hovering on the edges of our society. But it is good that we have service providers who work tirelessly and selflessly to care for and comfort them. To bring them hope where maybe they have only felt hopelessness.

“So at a time when we face great challenges, let us not forget who we are and the principles that define us, because we have what it takes to solve what’s wrong without losing sight of the good that surrounds us every day.

“And so we give thanks.”

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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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