Turkey ‘Dolly Pardon’ tumbles out of bed, but stays out of the kitchen after Whitmer pardon ⋆

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pardoned turkey “Dolly Pardon” in the annual event attended by a crowd of children in colorful coats in front of the state Capitol steps, as she outlined Michigan’s achievements this year with numerous turkey-related puns.

“Dolly Pardon” was named in the second annual turkey naming contest by Jay Kozlowski of West Bloomfield.

“The power of the pardon is an extraordinary one. I do not take it lightly,” Whitmer said. “As a former prosecutor, I did my due diligence. Dolly Parton was not chosen lightly. We looked at several turkeys and reviewed nearly 4,000 names.”

Honorable mentions included “Tahquamenon Fowl,” the “Edmund Fitzgobbler,” “Tom Gizzo” and “Gerald R. Fork.”

Whitmer said traditions like the turkey pardon are “the gravy” on top of her day-to-day responsibilities as governor, adding that there’s a lot to be thankful for this year as “the Legislature has been hard at work keeping their foot on the accelerator — full gobble, if you will.”

From approving free school lunches and breakfasts for all students in the state’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget to rolling back the state’s retirement tax, Whitmer applauded the Democratic-led Legislature for taking on “kitchen table issues.” 

“Dolly Pardon” getting pardoned in Michigan’s 2023 turkey pardoning on the state Capitol steps on Nov. 22, 2023. (Photo: Anna Liz Nichols)

She gave particular shoutouts to legislative leaders: Lt. Gov. “Gobbler” Gilchrist, Senate Majority Leader Winnie “Brine(ks),” House Speaker Joe “Mashed Po(Tate)o,” Senate Minority Leader Aric “Nesbiscuit” and House Minority Leader Matt Hall, for whom she said she couldn’t think of a pun. 

“I think Thanksgiving is a reminder that at our best, Michiganders are birds of a feather who flock together,” Whitmer said.

This is the first legislative session in nearly 40 years where Democrats have held the majority which has butted heads with Republicans on progressive policies, including several gun control packages and abortion rights legislation signed into law this year.

This is the second year that Whitmer has pardoned a turkey, with last year’s bird named “Mitch E. Gander.”

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Tim Boring called “Dolly Pardon” a “turkey with beauty beyond compare.” Dressed like a “diamond in a rhinestone world,” “Dolly Pardon” will be going to Michigan Humane’s Abraham Ranch where she will be eligible for adoption, just like other farm animals who call the ranch home.

Harrison, 9, who raised Miss Dolly, formerly known as “Snowflake” due to her coloring and “gentle” demeanor, said he’s going to miss his feathered friend, but is happy to see her appreciated.

Harrison, 9, who raised Miss Dolly gives @MichiganAdvance the scoop on what she’s REALLY like

Her government name is Snowflake and she’s a kind lady that likes to sit behind cars https://t.co/ie9XO0Tzjb pic.twitter.com/fyTuPV02cC

— Anna Liz Nichols (@annaliznichols) November 22, 2023



authored by Anna Liz Nichols
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