Let’s take time to be thankful for 2009

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It’s been a tough year for so many of us. Troubles with the economy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the escalating costs of everyday goods like food and gasoline have strained our pocketbooks and placed huge burdens on all Louisiana families. Yet as we prepare to spend time with our friends and families during the holiday season, there’s a lot we have to be thankful for. With only a few weeks left in 2009, I thought this was a good time to recap the positive aspects of this year.

No hurricanes! Louisiana has had a tough time over the last few years, and our state has been battered in all corners by hurricanes. Beginning with hurricanes Rita and Katrina that caused such devastation in South Louisiana in 2005 and up to hurricanes Gustav and Ike that tore off roofs and flooded homes all the way up the state, Louisianians have had their fair share of high winds and intense rains. We’ve certainly had some weather issues in some parts of the state. But thankfully, this year, no major Atlantic storms hit the United States and Louisiana was spared from further hurricane damage. Let’s hope that our luck continues and that next year’s hurricane season is just as quiet.

We’ve also had plenty of good news on the sports front. In the spring, the LSU baseball team played their way to victory in Omaha and won the College Baseball World Series. With coach Paul Mainieri leading the way, I’m hopeful that there are many more national titles in the future for LSU. And the Saints have delivered good news week after week as they went undefeated at 13-0 until Saturday’s loss to Dallas. With only a few games to go, I’m thankful for the opportunity to cheer on our own Saints as they — hopefully — head toward a championship of their own.

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In the midst of our economic troubles, Louisiana has had some bright spots and positive signs of economic recovery. Centurytel announced an expansion of its operations in Bossier City that will bring hundreds of new jobs to the area, and Northrop Grumman announced the award of a new contract for the KC-10 airplane that will also bring several hundred jobs to Lake Charles. Across the state we’re seeing more signs of positive economic growth, and let’s hope that this continues.

I’m also thankful for the opportunity to serve you in the U.S. Senate. As we move into 2010, our nation faces a number of challenges. Health care reform and cap and trade are just two of the massive bills that Congress will consider in the coming months, and we need to be very careful how we move ahead with such massive and wide-reaching legislation.

I will continue to do all that I can to ensure that you are being effectively represented in Congress, and I’m thankful to serve as your U.S. Senator.

Finally, I’m thankful that my family is happy and healthy and that we get to live in a state like Louisiana. Our state is unique among all the 50 states, and our wonderful food, rich heritage and great culture makes it a wonderful place to live. This holiday season (if the Senate health care debate allows!), I’m looking forward to spending Christmas with my wife Wendy and our kids and counting all of our blessings. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all! Please let me know about any issues of importance to you and your family by contacting me at any of my state offices or in my Washington office.

David Vitter is a Louisiana senator. He can be reached by mail at U.S. Senator David Vitter, U.S. Senate, 516 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, or by phone at 202-224-4623.