It’s hard to believe that another year has almost come and gone. Nebraskans, and all Americans, have a lot on their minds as we head into the holiday season. From juggling family obligations to busy jobs and hectic schedules, it can be challenging to take time, reflect, and give thanks.

Every year, Thanksgiving offers a special time for family, friends, and loved ones to gather and focus on the things we hold dear. Our state is home to the good life, and we are blessed with productive land and hardworking people. Because of this, Nebraska feeds the world. On Thanksgiving, millions of American families will gather at tables filled with food grown and nurtured here in our state.

Nebraskans are also innovators. The creative and exciting work taking place at start-ups in Lincoln, Omaha, and around our state is having an effect across the country. I visited with a number of these entrepreneurs and businesses this year. Through their unwavering commitment to our communities, they drive our state’s economy and shape the future. They prove there’s no need to leave the good life in search of cutting-edge work and meaningful job opportunities. We are lucky enough to have them right here at home.

Small businesses account for 63 percent of all new jobs, and nearly half of the jobs in the private sector, nationwide. In the Senate, I am working to ensure that we help them thrive by creating a regulatory environment that provides incentives to grow. As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I am focused on eliminating red tape so that our businesses at home can better compete in the global marketplace. To encourage people to support our local businesses, I cosponsored a resolution designating November 28 as “Small Business Saturday.” Through this resolution, which passed the Senate, we can help raise awareness and encourage Americans to shop at businesses in their communities this holiday season.

When you head out to the stores after Thanksgiving, I hope you will consider supporting Small Business Saturday and visit local businesses.

Also this time of year, we keep in our hearts and minds those who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces. It is because of their sacrifice that we enjoy living in the greatest country on Earth. This year, I am proud to once again team-up with the American Red Cross for the 2015 Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign. This initiative is a simple way for Nebraskans to send holiday wishes to members of the military, their families, and our veterans. I hope the people of Nebraska will join me in sending greetings to those who put their lives on the line so we can be free. You can find out more information about how to participate by visiting my website.

I am thankful for our beautiful state and the wonderful people who make our nation a better place. There is truly no higher honor than representing you in the U.S. Senate, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

As you prepare the turkey, set the table, and visit with family this year, I hope you will reflect on your own blessings as Nebraskans and Americans. From my family to yours, I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.