Election season is over and that, by itself, is worthy of thanksgiving. No more calls, emails, ads, mail, polls or door knocks. No more political signs blighting our roadways and public squares.

Normalcy (of a sort, at least) has returned to our political discourse as Republicans revel in their ascendancy and Democrats collectively contemplate our navels.

So with the hue and cry of Election 2014 graciously behind us, it is time once again to offer some Maine political thanksgiving.

First, to all the candidates either elected or defeated, we give thanks for your willingness to enter this frequently thankless and occasionally brutish sphere of endeavor.

Doing the people’s business remains a noble calling no matter how we collectively attempt to debase or pervert it.

Special thanks to Congressman Mike Michaud who, after 30 years of service to this state and his fellow Mainers, is leaving the public stage. No matter the politics, you are deserving of our gratitude.

Thanks to Maine’s media who struggle mightily to report on the candidates and campaigns. No matter their medium, reporters (and their editors) continually suffer the slings and arrows of partisan hacks and paid flacks in order to call balls and strikes in a rapidly evolving and resource constrained industry.

Thanks to Maine voters who endured a full throated campaign complete with the usual demagoguery, half-truths and outside interests. You proved, yet again, that candidates and campaigns matter more than dollars and volume alone.

Thanks to all the staffers and volunteers who poured their hearts and souls into campaigns at all levels. You are the unsung heroes, working long hours for little (or no) pay, irregular sleep and even less recognition. Your victories and defeats are as personal as they are public.

Thanks to Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King who still occupy a relatively rare space of moderation and sanity within Washington’s bare-knuckled, irrationally partisan politics. Sure, we may not agree with them on everything and, yes, they’re both persona-driven media catnip. But any way you slice it, Maine is fortunate to have them.

Thanks for the accessibility of our political leaders who, with few exceptions, remain vitally close to the constituents they serve. That our politicians do not occupy some rarefied air fortified by legions of obfuscating staffers is valuable indeed.

Thanks to our veterans, past and present, and most especially those serving far away from their families this holiday weekend.

They and their loved ones sacrifice so that our political discourse can flourish, and so that we might remain a nation of laws, liberty and opportunity. We owe them an immeasurable debt of gratitude.

Thanks to Gov. LePage for continually raising the issue of rising energy costs in New England. Whatever you may think of his particular solutions, his passion about this issue is appropriate to our challenges and reflects the threat to our economic vitality.

Thanks to Speaker of the House Mark Eves for his dedication to issues of aging and the elderly. Given Maine’s distinction as one of the oldest states in the nation, the social, economic and demographic challenges facing us are immense and growing larger each day.

More legislators should support the speaker’s efforts.

Thanks to the operatives of all ideological stripes for continuously waging a pitched battle of ideas and policy. Your impassioned contributions inform our discourse – but let’s keep that discourse respectful and substantive. Even better, let’s not allow the ideologically pure to defeat the politically palatable and functionally good.

Thanks to partisans willing to extend their political necks by challenging the dogma and rhetoric of their own caucuses and parties.

State Sen. Roger Katz is a great example. Political courage doesn’t frequently pay political dividends, but voters recognize honesty and integrity when they see it.

Thanks to President Obama for making some headway on this country’s persistent immigration challenges.

You may stridently support or oppose his executive action, but there is unanimity that our chronically broken system is incapable of un-breaking itself. Perhaps the president’s boldness will spur Congress to craft a solution of its own.

Finally, thanks to my readers. I recognize that politics is a contact sport and passions frequently run hot. But, regardless of party, I hope we all agree that engagement is healthier than complacency or cynicism; that more (respectful) discourse is preferable to less; and that citizen participation can make a difference in how our communities, state and nation are governed.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Michael Cuzzi is a former campaign aide to President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and former U.S. Rep. Tom Allen. He manages the Boston and Portland offices of VOX Global, a strategic communications and public affairs firm headquartered in Washington, DC. He can be reached at:

[email protected]

Twitter @CuzziMJ.