With thousands of Coloradans no longer able to be seated at our dinner tables due to the ongoing pandemic, the loss for our state is a heavy one.
Yet as Thanksgiving approaches, it’s also a much-needed reminder to reflect on what we can be grateful for.
In addition to several outstanding actions by Coloradans below, I offer an endless thank you to readers for supporting science and policy journalism. Happy Thanksgiving.
Rep. Jason Crow
Without a doubt, the insurrection and attempted coup on Jan. 6 will go down as one of the darkest days in American history. While some Coloradans face disciplinary action for their roles in the Capitol attack, many more have served as protectors of our democracy.
Among the state’s most heroic actions were that of former combat veteran Rep. Jason Crow, who was widely reported to have helped usher his colleagues to safety amid violent attempts to stop the certification of the election. Amid endless chaos, these actions of continued service deserve much thanks.
Reps. Joe Neguse and Diana DeGette
As impeachment efforts headed to the U.S. Senate early this year, Colorado officials were prominently featured throughout the process.
Reps. Joe Neguse and Diana DeGette were selected as two of the nine impeachment managers who would go on to argue the case against former President Donald Trump at trial. Their fight to protect our democracy should remain in the forefront of our thanks.
Scientists, health care workers and child volunteers
From the much-anticipated public delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, to child trial volunteers and health care workers who continue to stand on the front line of this pandemic, Coloradans should be endlessly grateful for these everyday heroes.
Secretary of State Jena Griswold
In the face of highly polarized attacks on free and fair elections, a foundation of our democracy, first-time Secretary of State Griswold has held her own.
Most notably, she has faced the difficult — and personally dangerous — task of filing suit to remove Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters from overseeing elections. The move came as Peters was, and remains, under federal investigation for a breach of election data.
Attorney General Phil Weiser
It’s been a big year for first-time Attorney General Phil Weiser. Among his most notable achievements was the successful opening of a grand jury investigation into the Elijah McClain case, and efforts to stop the unconstitutional Texas abortion ban.
In his actions, Weiser places getting results over political wars, serving as a beacon of hope in difficult times.
In October, Colorado officials announced the opening of a new state park called Sweetwater Lake. It’s the 43rd state park to date, and is located in the beautiful White River National Forest about 18 miles from Dotsero.
This will be yet another outdoor haven for recreational enthusiasts, and the protection of the land from unsustainable development is much appreciated.
Build Back Better dollars
Despite strong opposition from Republicans, Democrats pulled off a big win by passing the Build Back Better bill in the U.S. House.
This success came after seemingly endless, contentious negotiations that made many worry the bill may stall entirely.
Although the bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, the potential gains for Colorado families — whether expanded broadband access or child tax credits or infrastructure — should give much hope in this season of thanks.
Gov. Jared Polis and “Meat Out Day”
Gov. Jared Polis took a bold stance in being the first governor to encourage Coloradans the chance to explore dietary choices without meat.
The inaugural “Meat Out Day” featured an opportunity to learn about ways to curb climate change in everyday choices, a much-needed discussion for a state that has typically leaned heavily on the cattle industry.
Given so many Coloradans will sit down to enjoy a traditional turkey dinner at Thanksgiving, it seems particularly apt to give additional thanks to Polis’ broader efforts on this controversial topic.
Trish Zornio is a scientist, lecturer and writer who has worked at some of the nation’s top universities and hospitals. She’s an avid rock climber and was a 2020 candidate for the U.S. Senate in Colorado.