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Thoughtful & thankful: Colorado politicos talk turkey, gratitude

Author: Colorado Politics - November 23, 2017 - Updated: November 27, 2017

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Dominic Dezzutti celebrates Thanksgiving with his large family in Denver, away from his large television family. (Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)

So much of politics is about want and need, power and persuasion. Colorado Politics wanted to ask a broad spectrum of the state’s best-known and best-respected purveyors of public opinion to tell us what they’re thankful for, what fills them with gratitude and warm memories.

Take Dominic Dezzutti, the vice president of content at Colorado Public Television Channel 12 and the ringmaster extraordinaire when opinions are debated on the Emmy-winning “Colorado Inside Out.” For people who love Colorado politics, Dezzutti is part of their Friday night family.

Over a big plate of ravioli and sauce on Thanksgiving, he’s really part of the family, and another really big one.
Dezzutti is a third-generation Denver native and went to college at Regis University. His great grandparents “all came off the boat from Italy. Six of them made it to Colorado directly, while two of them detoured through Connecticut first,” he said.

Dezzutti is as Colorado as Mile High Stadium, so his Thanksgiving has to be a Colorado Thanksgiving.

“I get together at my mom’s for Thanksgiving with my immediate family, sis, bro their families, but I see my many cousins earlier in the day and throughout the Christmas holiday,” he tells us. “We do the seven fishes thing twice, once on the 23rd with my dad’s cousins and once again on the 24th with my mom’s.

From the age of 1 to 40, I only had Thanksgiving at one place, my maternal grandmother’s house off of 38th and Wyandot. Turkey was and always will be a side dish. Ravioli, always homemade, is the star. I had fun bringing friends over in college and seeing their faces at what serving 30 crazy Italians Thanksgiving dinner looks like.”

 

Ian Silverii, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, with his new wife, state Rep. Brittany Pettersen. (Photo courtesy of Ian Silverii)

Ian Silverii, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado and newlywed
“This year, I’m thankful for my amazing and brilliant and talented and unbelievably beautiful wife, Brittany (that’s Rep. Pettersen to y’all), for our brand new beautiful niece Charlie, my new sister-in-law Michal and her two girls Ellah and Sophia, for my mother-in-law, Stacy, in her recovery, for the amazing, hard-working, brilliant, hilarious, creative, and talented as hell staff at ProgressNow Colorado: Kristen, Liz, Manny, Alan, Ian B, Taylor, Milo and Jeremy, and for getting to go to a job I love every day and am so damn good at that there is an entire #MAGA troll army dedicated to trying to tear us down, and failing, badly.

“I’m thankful for having the incredible luck and privilege to do important work in the best place in the whole world, for the upcoming ski season, for Colorado’s majesty, for my friends and my enemies, for my worthy opponent on 9News, Kelly Maher, for my wood-pellet smoker grill, for beef brisket, for the health and well-being of my folks and family back in New Jersey, for the single-subject rule in the state legislature, for our Maine Coon Mister Sophie, for our 90 year old neighbor Clarence even if he’s constantly pestering us about the leaves on our lawn, even if there are three, for food and shelter, for clothes and medicine, for music and art and my sisters and brothers in the #resistance.”

 

El Paso County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Hays speaks at a GOP meeting in this undated photograph. Hays announced this week that he’s running for state Republican chairman. (Photo provided)

Jeff Hays, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party
“I am especially thankful for things I did not earn: for divine grace from a loving God; for unconditionally supportive parents and siblings; for a beautiful, brilliant wife; for healthy, moral children; for grandchildren; for good health and sufficient talent; for loyal friends; for teachers, coaches, and mentors who invested in me; for opportunity to do good and make the world a bit better than I found it; and for being born in America, where we are free and where dreams can come true.”

 

Drew Beckwith, water policy manager for Boulder-based Western Resource Advocates
“We have some good friends and neighbors who are both from Colombia. They’ve been in the United States for 15 to 20 years, they went to school here and had their kids here. A week ago, they became U.S. citizens and I’m thankful that they’re coming to our house for Thanksgiving.”

 

House GOP Communications Director Joel Malecka. (Photo courtesy of House GOP)

Joel Malecka, communication director for Colorado House Republicans and new father
“When I was a kid, I spent every summer in southeast Missouri on a farm. Every night at dinner, before we could eat, my uncle would ask me and my two cousins what we were thankful for. The caveat was that you had to come up with something that wasn’t selfish or material. You couldn’t say, ‘my new bike.’ He’d say that doesn’t qualify. I always thought that was a fun exercise because you had to take inventory on what you were grateful for.

“I’m thankful for all the people in my life who are inspiring. There are people who have accomplished great things; I have a lot of people I can look up to and learn from. It’s a way for me to be better and to take that inspiration and use it in a way that makes my life better.”

 

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock examines a vintage video game console in the basement community room of the 100-year-old Byers Branch Library on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. The $973 million bond measure passed by Denver voters includes $1.5 million to rehabiliate the library, which carries a historic landmark designation. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock examines a vintage video game console in the basement community room of the 100-year-old Byers Branch Library on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. The $973 million bond measure passed by Denver voters includes $1.5 million to rehabiliate the library, which carries a historic landmark designation. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
“As we approach the holiday season, I am especially thankful for my family — my mother, who is approaching her 79th birthday and in great spirits and great health. My wife, who is the backbone of our household and keeps it all in check. And my children, who are growing and maturing into wonderful human beings.

“I’m also thankful for another year that my wife, Mary Louise, and I get to welcome dozens of our family members into our home to celebrate together and share in each other’s company and good spirits! It has become a tradition in our household to serve those who are less fortunate before serving ourselves. This year we intend to keep that tradition alive by volunteering our time at one of our local homeless shelters.”

 

Tom Tancredo and Zach Klopfenstein, 13, checked out a motorcycle during a campaign stop at Dublin Park in Colorado Springs Friday, Oct. 1, 2010. Tancredo is running for governor. (The Gazette file photo)

Constant candidate Tom Tancredo, back on the ballot for governor next year
“God has blessed me with a great family, and a life of tremendous opportunities. The greatest of those opportunities was my birth in this country. No place else on Earth gives so much in terms of individual liberty. The result is that hundreds of millions of people have been able to ‘pursue happiness.’ The Declaration of Independence only guarantees the ability to pursue it, not necessarily achieve it. But no other country even provides that promise. I am grateful to God that I have been able to both pursue it and achieve it.”

 

Meg Dubray, lobbyist, Collective Strategies
Meg Dubray (Photo courtesy of Collective Strategies)

Meg Dubray, lobbyist, Collective Strategies
“First, I’m thankful that I get to do a job I love surrounded by many people I respect, no matter their side of the aisle. Having a part of the public policy process is exciting, stressful, challenging, and I love every minute of it (OK, most minutes).

“I’m thankful for my family and wonderful circle of friends whom I consider family; my mom, who recently heard of me accidentally throwing my gold ‘Meg’ necklace down a trash chute and immediately had one remade; and my dad, a retired lieutenant colonel and Republican who has made it his personal mission to call out a president he finds unredeemable and unacceptable, even if it’s only to an audience of one, while also enjoying a cigar on the back porch. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to go to Vegas with my best friend of since high school (specific numbers make me feel old) to see Britney Spears!

“I’m thankful that this year, I get to cook my grandma’s sausage stuffing recipe not once but twice at a Friendsgiving and at Thanksgiving at my sister’s. Most of the women in my family got their assertive wit and loyalty from her, and it’s always heartwarming to feel a connection to those who have left us too soon through food and family. I’m looking forward to spending the day with my hilarious and hard-working sister, my sweet, smart nephew Louie, and my gorgeous, genius diva of a niece. I dare anyone to cross that 4-year old, she WILL win.”

 

Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo. (Colorado Politics file photo)

Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo, a former assistant House Republican leader
“First, I am thankful for my wonderful husband, my awesome children and my beautiful granddaughters. I am thankful that I am healthy and strong so that I can stand strong and salute our flag and the men and women that have fought so valiantly for us to live in freedom in the greatest country on earth. I am thankful and blessed that I can serve and give back to my community and the people in it that have given so much for us. I am thankful that I can worship in the church of my choice without fear of persecution. I am thankful for all of the precious friendships that enrich my life each day. Most of all I am thankful for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness so that we all have the opportunities the founding Fathers envisioned when they penned the Declaration of Independence.

“Our country has acknowledged the importance of periodic reflection on what we are thankful for through our national holiday, Thanksgiving. Beyond this holiday, we should all be mindful of the many things we are grateful for, each and every day.”

 

State Reps. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, and Chris Hansen, D-Denver, greet House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, in the nearly empty House chambers at the state Capitol in Denver on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, a week after the regular session adjourned Sine Die. Kennedy and Hansen were the only legislators to vote 'yes' on third reading for every bill in the session, although Duran had nearly the same record, voting 'no' just once. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
State Reps. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, and Chris Hansen, D-Denver, greet House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, in the nearly empty House chambers at the state Capitol in Denver on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, a week after the regular session adjourned Sine Die. Kennedy and Hansen were the only legislators to vote ‘yes’ on third reading for every bill in the session, although Duran had nearly the same record, voting ‘no’ just once. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

House Speaker Crisanta Duran
“I am thankful to live in a country where, like Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,’ as long as we have the courage to demand it. I’m also thankful for my family, friends, faith, and, of course, my dog, Coco!”

Jeff Wasden (Photo courtesy of the Colorado Business Roundtable)

Jeff Wasden, president of the Colorado Business Roundtable
“I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to advocate on behalf of Colorado business owners and working families as President of the Colorado Business Roundtable. Colorado is home to some amazing leaders and I am thankful for their passion and inspiration- it pushes all of us to work harder on behalf of the business community. I am thankful to live in a state where ideas are debated with respect and pragmatic, thoughtful solutions are welcomed and sought after. I am thankful to live in a country where people can worship, speak freely, and diversity makes us stronger.

“We have many things to be thankful for — living in the greatest nation in the world; our freedoms; and elected officials, military and first responders that put service above self. While there are times that may feel dark, threatening and uncertain, we all need to pause and be thankful for the many blessings, freedoms, and opportunities we enjoy.

“I am blessed with a great family and team that put up with me, my late night emails, and constant drive to not only make COBRT the best it can be, but also Colorado as the premier location for business, growth and innovation.”

 

Daniel Cole, communications director for the Colorado GOP
“Books. My friends and brothers, both the programmer who lives a mile away and the brother copy editing and translating in Moscow. My parents. Concrete roads and gasoline, which together make it easy for me to visit my parents 10 miles away. My clients. A president who refuses to settle for the status quo. Impartial reporters dedicated to the truth. Shelter, food, electricity, plumbing. Shakespeare and Milton. Western civilization and the United States of America, which keeps the torch lit.”

 

Two-year-old Gwendolyn Singer with her great grandmother Tillie Singer. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Singer)

 

State Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, whose family warmly embraces its generations
“I’m super thankful that my 2-year-old daughter has gotten to know her 102-year-old great grandmother! That’s them on Big Mama’s 102nd birthday last month.”

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics, formerly The Colorado Statesman, is the state's premier political news publication, renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication is also the oldest political news outlet in the state, in continuous publication since 1898. Colorado Politics covers the stories behind the stories in Colorado's state Capitol and across the Centennial State, focusing on politics, public policy and elections with in-depth reporting on the people behind the campaigns — from grassroots supporters to campaign managers and the candidates and issues themselves.