Politics at the Thanksgiving Table: Legislators on Holiday


Virginia’s legislators recently completed a long special session, and are preparing for the regular session in January. Additionally, Virginia’s state elections are just a year away, so many of them are launching campaigns for office. The Virginia Star asked several legislators how they’re escaping the stress this Thanksgiving.

Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights)

“We rotate between eating, playing games and watching football,” Cox said. He’ll be celebrating with his wife, sons, and his brother’s family, who live nearby. They’re going to use two big tables to keep everybody safely distanced. Cox said his family loves sports. He’ll be rooting for the Cowboys, but the big game tomorrow isn’t a football game.

“We always play disc golf, so we’ll play that in the morning,” Cox said. “We’re a really competitive family, so we split up into teams, usually, for bragging rights.”

Cox thinks his team will win. On top of disc golf, he’s also planning a table tennis tournament. Cox said they’ll banter over sports while they eat traditional Thanksgiving food. He and his brother are looking forward to mincemeat pie.

“We sort of grew up on it, my mother made it, and we think its great.” Cox said he and his brother will split one pie. “No one else will eat it.”

Cox said he’s thankful for health and the support he’s received from the community after announcing his campaign for governor.

“I’m just very thankful to have my family [at] home,” Cox said. “We’re all very close.”

Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach)

Davis is heading to Knotts Island, North Carolina, to celebrate with family. He said his family is planning turkey, ham, and potato salad. Davis said, “Something I’ve always loved, going to my grandmother’s for Thanksgiving, was collard greens.”

He said, “There’s probably nothing I don’t like. The one thing I miss, that we always had with my grandmother, was monkey bread. If you’ve never had monkey bread you’ve missed out, and since her passing that hasn’t always been a staple at the Thanksgiving dinner, so that’s something that I miss.”

“The men of the family and some of the ladies are big football people,” Davis said. He’ll be rooting for the Cowboys tomorrow. “I’m a huge Dallas fan, I grew up a Dallas fan, don’t hold it against me.”

“Something I think all of us are thankful for every year is our health and the health of our family members,” Davis said.  “And I think as we’re all reflective on this past year, that all of us are doubly thankful.”

Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield)

Chase is spending the holiday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with her family, according to her spokesman Philip Search. She and her immediate family will be playing board games, talking about school, girlfriends, and boyfriends. “I’m sure she’ll watch Fox News,” Search said.

“She’s going to have to always check her Facebook, see what’s going on.” Search said, “It’s a time for her and Mike and the kids to get together and get away,” Search said.

“I don’t know what they’re eating, probably some kind of seafood,” he said. “I know the Senator loves seafood.”

“She’s respecting people’s feelings about the masks,” Search said. “She’s being very respectful of people’s feelings, she’s watching out for her loved ones. She loves giving hugs to those who want to hug. She is a hugger.”

Search said, “She’s thankful for her family, thankful for her campaign team, she’s thankful to be able to represent Virginia in the governor’s race.”

Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach)

Kiggans said she did her big Thanksgiving celebration last Friday with a small group of Young Republicans, so tomorrow it will be just her immediate family. One of her sons is locked down at the Naval Academy, but her other three children will be home.

“We were going to bring him a turkey and a honey-baked ham and all these delicious sides, and they have canceled Thanksgiving at the Naval Academy. And no one can leave the yard, and no one can come into the yard there,” Kiggans said. “They have promised that they will make him turkey.”

Kiggans is a Navy veteran. “I guaranteed him that this will not be the only holiday where the Navy will cancel [his] family plans.”

Kiggans said her husband does the cooking, and they’ll have turkey, ham, green beans, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. She’ll probably go for a run after the big meal, and the family will go see Christmas lights at the beach.

“I’m thankful for the awesome country we live in, the beautiful city I live in of Virginia Beach. It’s been a wonderful city to raise my family [in],” Kiggans said. She’s also grateful to be healthy and have a healthy family.

She added, “I’m thankful for my job, and that we still have jobs to go to, and I’m thankful for being able to participate in the leadership of Virginia.”

All four legislators will probably talk politics. Cox said his family is very political and excited about his campaign. Davis is running for Lieutenant Governor, and he thinks his family will ask about that.

“Since there’ll be no friends and family this year, then we can talk politics as much as we want,” Kiggans said. “Thankfully my husband and I usually see eye-to-eye.”

She added, “It seems like every meal turns into politics these days. Our poor kids, they’ll actually eat faster and leave the table.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected].

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