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Give Thanks and Give Back


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Thanksgiving is a day when we take a step back from the hectic pace of our everyday lives and focus on simpler things: food, family and friends (and for many of us, football). Even in these tough economic times, it is a day to give thanks for our blessings. On Thanksgiving, I will give thanks for my family, for our men and women in uniform, and for the privilege and responsibility I have as your Representative.

As Americans, we all have a lot to be thankful for. The freedom to speak our minds, to vote in fair elections, and to practice whatever religion we choose. It is fitting that we should pause to give thanks for these freedoms and to remember the price we have paid for that liberty, which was borne on the backs of patriots who fought for the right to live free of tyranny. These rights have been preserved ever since by generations of brave men and women who have fought for our country and the freedoms and principals upon which it was founded.

I am thankful on this day not only for the freedoms we as Americans enjoy, but for the bravery of our men and women in uniform who, along with their families, make enormous sacrifices to protect those freedoms. As November is Military Families' Month, I think it is especially important to take some time this holiday to send our thoughts and prayers not only to those who are serving overseas but also to their families here in the U.S. I am very thankful that I get to have Thanksgiving dinner with my stepson and daughter-in-law, both of whom are Marines, this year, but I know that members of many military families will be apart during the holiday season. This year I participated in the American Red Cross' Holiday Mail for Heroes program, which sends holiday mail to members of our U.S. military and their families who will be away from their loved ones. If you would like to participate in this campaign, please visit my website ( to send a card before December 9, 2011.

For most of us, Thanksgiving is a day of plenty. Perhaps we eat a bit too much, and often we find ourselves with so many containers of leftovers that we can barely fit them all in the fridge. But it is important to remember that right here in America, many families still experience hunger. In one in six American households, children are unable to get enough food to stay healthy. Lack of access to good, nutritious food, so much of which is grown by Iowa farmers, affects children's physical, cognitive, and behavioral development and can have serious consequences for their health and their performance in school.

The holidays are an especially good time of year to make a donation to a local food bank. Due to the economic downturn, many food banks are serving record numbers of families, so your contribution can make a big difference. If you would like to make a donation or if you are in need of food aid this holiday season please visit or call 211 from a land line to get additional information about services in your area.

I wish you and your family a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

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