Governor McKee, First Lady Kick Off Holiday Season with Local Foster Children at State House

Governor Dan McKee and First Lady Susan McKee were joined by Department of Children, Youth & Families Director Ashley Deckert to celebrate the holiday season at the State House with foster children from across Rhode Island.

“Susan and I are thrilled to celebrate one of the most joyous times of the year by welcoming foster children from across Rhode Island into the State House for a festive first-of-its-kind celebration,” said Governor McKee. “With the halls decked, the outside of the building illuminated and Independent Man on display, I encourage Rhode Islanders from all 39 cities and towns to visit the State House to celebrate the building’s history and beauty this holiday season.”

“The holiday season is a special time to create lasting memories with loved ones,” said First Lady Susan McKee. “I enjoyed getting to spend time today with foster youth from across Rhode Island as we made gingerbread houses, ornaments and even had a surprise appearance from Santa. As we celebrate this joyous time of year, I want to invite families to come experience the magic of the season and experience the wonder and beauty of our State House decorated for the holidays.”

“The magic of the holiday season is upon us, and I’m overjoyed that Governor McKee and First Lady McKee invited DCYF, our foster care children, and their families to the State House for this incredible celebration. My hope is that this event serves as the prelude of greater things to come for DCYF’s children, youth, and families in 2024 and beyond,” said Director Deckert.

Children joined the Governor and First Lady yesterday in the State Room for a fun evening featuring a pizza party, gingerbread house decorating, ornament making, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and seasonal tunes from the Governor’s Own 88th Army Band.

In conjunction with the festivities, the State House outdoor Christmas tree was also lit for the public to enjoy throughout the holiday season. This year, the tree is a 25-foot Rhode Island-grown tree donated by Adams Farm in Cumberland and serves as a tribute to Rhode Island’s vibrant farming community.

“We are deeply grateful to Representative Marszalkowski and his team at Adams Farm for stepping up and donating this impressive tree – not only is it beautiful, but it was grown in my hometown of Cumberland,” Governor McKee added.

To celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, the first candle on the Menorah in the rotunda of the State House was also lit.

Earlier this week, during the unveiling ceremony for the Independent Man, the Independent Man – with help from Lieutenant General Reginald A. Centracchio – lit the indoor Christmas tree now on display in the State House rotunda.

The State House will be fully illuminated in red and green lights throughout the month of December – it will also be lit blue and white for Hanukkah. The Independent Man will be on display in the main entryway on the first floor of the State House until January 8th – he may be sporting some festive garb throughout the month.




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