Thanksgiving is a special time, often spent with family and friends. This year, many of our traditions have been forced to be re-arranged or cancelled altogether because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It is just the latest in a list of frustrations, setbacks, inconveniences and restrictions we have had to endure since March. Despite the challenges posed by this virus, we have an opportunity to acknowledge the things for which we are most thankful.
I am grateful to all of the health care workers and first responders who have been on the front lines of this pandemic from the very beginning. They have shown compassion, professionalism and bravery in caring for those infected with the virus and those most at risk of contracting it. I am also thankful to the doctors and scientists who have worked quickly to develop vaccines that appear promising and offer hope for bringing the pandemic under control. Our police officers and firefighters have also continued to serve and protect under trying circumstances.
One thing we have learned over the past several months is that workers we too often took for granted are indeed essential to our health and well-being. I thank the men and women, many of them teenagers and young adults, who work in our supermarkets, department stores, banks, pharmacies and restaurants. They put on their masks and joined truck drivers, postal employees and other workers who do not have the option to work from home to keep us fed and to keep our economy moving.
When the pandemic first hit, teachers were asked to do what many thought to be impossible; teach remotely. Alongside school administrators, they tackled the challenge head-on and worked hard to keep our children up to speed academically. Over the summer, educators revamped their curriculum, updated technology and adapted their campuses to ensure parents and students had the best possible options for learning to continue. I am thankful for their dedication.
I am also grateful to the Western New York community. The vast majority of residents have acted responsibly in the face of this pandemic and have followed the guidelines of health care experts. Despite the frustrations, most people have been kind and understand that we have to work together to control the spread of the virus. I also encourage residents to continue to support our local restaurants, stores and other businesses who are facing unprecedented challenges. They need our patronage now more than ever.
Finally, I am thankful to the voters in the 59th State Senate District for once again placing your trust in me. It has been an incredible privilege to work on your behalf and to represent you in Albany. I will continue to advocate for fiscal responsibility, true economic development, safe communities, and honesty in government in New York State.