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I appreciate the opportunity to offer a Thanksgiving message, and provide a few updates as we head into the holiday season.

First and foremost, I’m thankful to be starting my 40th year in Butte, and being able to share almost 39 of those years with my wife Barb. When we each arrived in the late 1970s — having separately picked Butte as our next home — we had no idea how this place would bless us. What a wonderful life choice it turned out to be! We’re so thankful for all our friends and the families we have come to know and love, and the lasting relationships. We’re thankful to have become part of the fabric of this community.

I’m grateful for the privilege to have served 26 years as Butte’s Planning Director, and now thankful for my retirement from that job. I can’t count the number of times over the years that I was ribbed about being the guy working on land use policy and procedures for a city that didn’t grow (in population anyway), but I leave that job feeling pretty good about my contributions in shaping Butte’s development. I’m thankful for the many great projects that did get built and grateful to those who had the confidence to invest and make them happen. I’m thankful for the smooth transition to a deserving successor and for all my workmates who will continue their dedicated, public service to our community’s growth and development.

I’m beholden for my “new” part-time job as Superfund Coordinator. My planning duties and Superfund issues were always closely linked, and I’m thankful to have been able to gain the experience and perspective to know what it’s going to take to fulfill the local government’s responsibility to protect human health and the environment. I’m thankful for all the progress to make our drinking water the best in the state (truly, a “worst to first” success story). I’m thankful for all the beneficial projects that eliminate human exposure to mine wastes and improve water quality in Blacktail and Silver Bow creeks. There has been a remarkable recovery, but there is still much work needed to make things better and then sustain that recovery long into the future. Looking forward, I’m grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the many community partners who are all helping us achieve our next steps to reclaim, protect, restore and enjoy our environment.

As your state senator, I’m thankful the special session was completed quickly. The Capitol may be just a short distance from Butte in miles, but I assure you, it is like another universe when the Legislature is in session – far more hazardous to one’s health than anything you’d find in our mining camp. I’m thankful we were able to agree on a decent, reasonable solution to the State’s budget woes and that there were just enough votes to get it done. I’m also thankful there was enough resistance against those legislators more hell bent on putting politics and ideology ahead of practical ideas and solutions. I’m thankful for not losing my patience, i.e., temper, too. I’m thankful we could at least minimize the adversity our disadvantaged will face in the leaner times ahead. More importantly, I’m thankful there will be enough Butte folks looking out for those less fortunate as we always do, offering a hand up whenever we can.

In closing, Barb and I are most thankful for waking up every morning on the Continental Divide, living in this wonderful community with all it has to offer. We’re confident and excited about the future of Butte, and hope you are, too. Happy Thanksgiving.

— Jon Sesso

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