A Legislative Perspective on the Kentucky General Assembly with State Representative Rick Rand November 21, 2016

A Legislative Perspective on the Kentucky General Assembly with State Representative Rick Rand November 21, 2016

This week, our families and friends will sit down at the dinner table to celebrate Thanksgiving, the oldest of the American-based holidays.
Nearly 400 years have passed since the most famous of these harvest feasts was held by the Pilgrims and Native Americans. It didn’t become the holiday we recognize today, though, until President Washington and then President Lincoln helped solidify its place on the calendar, which Congress finalized in the 1940s by declaring it to always be on the fourth Thursday of November.
The centerpiece for most meals this week, of course, is the turkey. Here, the commonwealth can claim not one but two historical connections, both of which are tied to the White House. The first is the presidential “pardon” of the turkey, which is believed to have started when Kentucky’s own President Lincoln granted clemency at the request of his son. The practice as we know it today, however, didn’t really come about until the late 1980s.
The second tie came a century ago, when we competed to provide the turkey for the First Family. What makes that noteworthy is that our competition was a Rhode Island poultry supplier who had been fulfilling that role for decades.
Our turkey was provided by a former congressman who had also been speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives. Although White House historians say it is unclear which state actually provided the main course that year, it did mark the end of the reign of the Rhode Island supplier, who passed away several weeks later.
Speaking of holiday meals, 14 of Kentucky State Parks’ resorts will be open on Thursday for those who would rather eat out than at home. They’ll be open from noon to 8 p.m., with a few exceptions: Buckhorn Lake will have a reduced offering; Kenlake will serve from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Greenbo Lake will be closed.
The cost for adults is $19.50 plus tax, which includes a beverage; and for children six to 12, the cost is $9.50 plus tax. Younger children eat for free.
For those preparing the meal at home, the American Farm Bureau said the cost to fix a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people is just under $50. When adjusted for inflation, that amount is a fifth lower than in the 1980s, when this survey began. That speaks volumes about the work our farmers do to keep all of us fed affordably.
Many Americans will be spending at least part of the holiday on the road, with AAA estimating that nearly 49 million will be traveling 50 miles or more. This will be the most since 2007, something that is no doubt helped by relatively low gas prices.
That makes this holiday season one of the busiest times of the year on the road, which means there’s a greater chance of traffic accidents as well. State officials said there were almost 1,700 during the 2015 holiday, with eight dying as result and 480 others being injured. If you are traveling, give yourself a little more time to reach your destination and more space between the vehicles around you.
It is important to remember as well that while many are off work during this time, many others are on the clock, from our first responders and hospital staffs to those who operate many of our restaurants and retail stores. There are also those who volunteer to make sure no one goes hungry. All of them deserve our gratitude for their many contributions.
For now, I’d like to end by wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving and an enjoyable holiday season.

Paid for by Rick Rand for State Representative, Regina Rand, Treasurer