Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Weekly Column: Beating Heart Disease

2015/01/30

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine suffered a heart attack.  Thankfully, he received the medical attention he needed in time and is now recovering at home, but the whole experience was extremely sobering and made me hug my family a bit closer that night.

Each year, 720,000 Americans have a heart attack.  While many think about heart disease as something that primarily impacts older men, about half of heart attacks are suffered by women and 35,000 a year impact individuals who are under 55.  But while anyone can develop heart disease, those who smoke, have diabetes, are overweight, eat poorly, or don’t get enough exercise are at a greater risk.

Regardless of age or gender, the most common symptom of heart disease is chest pain or discomfort.  Sometimes this pain is sudden and intense, but in most cases, it starts slowly.  Women may also experience a shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain – although men can display these symptoms as well. 

Acting quickly if any of these symptoms occur is critical.  The American Heart Association recommends waiting no longer than five minutes before calling 911.

The best treatment, however, is prevention.  Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure.  Have your glucose levels checked regularly.  Kick the smoking habit.  Get up and get active.  Experts say improving your health could take as little as a ten-minute walk, three times a day.

We’ve learned a lot about heart disease – especially as it relates to the disease’s impact on women – over the last decade or so.  That knowledge is saving lives.  Between 2000 and 2010, the rates of death for heart disease fell by an average of 3.8 percent annually.  While advances have been made, far too many lives are lost every year to the disease. 

February is American Heart Month.  I encourage you to do something today to reduce your risk.  Take a walk.  Dish up some extra vegetables.  Schedule a doctor’s appointment.  Quit smoking.  Take control and make just one change.

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Delegation Meets with Foxx, Huerta to Outline Powder River Expansion Timeline

2015/01/28

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today met with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Federal Aviation (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta to reiterate the importance of finalizing the Powder River Training Complex (PRTC) expansion.

“We had a productive meeting today and underscored to the secretary and administrator the importance of finalizing this expansion,” said the delegation. “This project has been nine years in the making, with the FAA having coordinated with the Air Force for nearly five of those. We were pleased to hear that the FAA will prioritize the review of the expansion, and we will continue to stay in close contact with the FAA as it moves forward. It is time to finalize this training space, which will increase national security, save taxpayer dollars, and ensure that our airmen and women have the training they need to come home safely after defending our nation abroad. We appreciate the FAA’s efforts to realize these benefits.”

On January 16, 2015, the Air Force announced that it finalized its Record of Decision to approve the PRTC. Now that the Air Force has completed its portion of the process, the FAA will complete its review before the training airspace can be utilized. 

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Congresswomen Noem & Matsui's Human Trafficking Provision Passes U.S. House

2015/01/27

Bipartisan legislation introduced by Congresswomen Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), the Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act, was passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Human trafficking is happening in our backyard and we must address it,” said Rep. Noem.  “The legislation passed today targets trafficking from multiple angles.  First, I’m hopeful my bill will give caregivers, state law enforcement officers, and others the tools they need to prevent trafficking in our communities.  And when prevention efforts fail, my hope is that this legislation gives us more information about how to intervene while also diverting critical resources to creating safe places for survivors to escape to.”

“The uncomfortable truth is that human trafficking still occurs in communities across the country.  We cannot turn a blind eye to the plight of these survivors,” said Rep. Matsui.  “The legislation passed by the House today works to better prevent and intervene when trafficking or attempted trafficking occurs, while also opening additional resources for survivors who are trying to recover.  Today’s vote sends a strong bipartisan signal to survivors of human trafficking that Congress stands with them in the fight to end trafficking once and for all.”

The bipartisan Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act (H.R.350) would launch a review to look into federal and state trafficking prevention activities.  This will help us identify best practices to stop human trafficking.  It also requires an inventory of existing federal anti-trafficking efforts to make sure all federal agencies and programs work together and that federal resources are being targeted where needed.  Finally, the legislation improves an existing Department of Justice grant, ensuring that the grant is open to shelters and facilities looking to provide housing for survivors.

This legislation was first introduced in the 113th Congress to help give shelters, law enforcement officers, and caregivers more resources to address the human trafficking crisis.  While the legislation passed the House late last year, the Senate did not take up the legislation. 

Noem and Matsui currently serve as Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.

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Delegation to FEMA Officials: Update the Sioux Falls Flood Map ASAP

2015/01/27

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today met for their first delegation meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Associate Administrator for Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA), David Miller, and FIMA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Mitigation, Roy Wright, calling on the agency to finalize the new Sioux Falls flood plain map to reflect the levee upgrades along the Big Sioux River and Skunk Creek. In response to today’s meeting, FEMA officials committed to the delegation to follow up in writing in the next few weeks with a specific timeline for the release of the updated Sioux Falls flood map.

“Unnecessary delays to flood map updates will only extend the financial hardships on families and businesses in the Sioux Falls community,” said Thune. “I’ve been working with the Corps and the City of Sioux Falls on this project since 2008, and now that the city has held up its end of the bargain, it’s time for FEMA to work with city officials to expeditiously approve a new flood map that reflects the enhanced flood protection provided by these important improvements.”

“South Dakotans are far too familiar with flood issues, and I applaud the city of Sioux Falls for taking measures to protect its homeowners and businesses,” said Rounds. “It’s now time for the federal government to hold up its part of the agreement. I thank FIMA officials for a productive meeting with us today and look forward to continuing to work with them to protect the Sioux Falls community from unnecessary financial costs.”

“The community and taxpayers have made the necessary investments to protect homes and businesses in Sioux Falls. Now, it is FEMA’s responsibility to update the flood map so it accurately reflects these investments and protects residents’ wallets from unnecessary insurance costs,” said Noem. “We’ve been working to get this issue resolved. I have urged FEMA to work quickly to update the Sioux Falls flood map, so families and small businesses don’t have to suffer more preventable financial setbacks.”

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, FEMA began issuing new 100-year flood maps, which resulted in nearly 1,600 additional Sioux Falls homeowners and businesses being required to purchase costly federal flood insurance. In 2008, the city and the Army Corps of Engineers worked out an agreement, prompted by Thune, to expedite construction of upgraded levees to decrease the size of the flood plain by allowing the city to fund the outstanding federal cost of the project, with the potential to be later reimbursed by the Corps. This agreement led to a less costly and timelier completion of the levees, and the city has since been reimbursed by the Corps for the federal share of the project. 

Now that the levees along the Big Sioux River and Skunk Creek have been upgraded and certified, it is up to FEMA to issue a new flood map reflecting the new, smaller flood plain in Sioux Falls. Once a new flood map is finalized, many local residents and businesses will no longer be required to purchase federal flood insurance policies and others will have less expensive premiums due to the reduced risk of flooding. Without an updated flood plain map, economic development and construction along the Big Sioux River and Skunk Creek are significantly limited while developers wait for updated maps.

On September 11, 2014, Thune and Noem sent a letter to FEMA Director Craig Fugate calling on the agency to develop a new flood map for Sioux Falls as soon as possible. Today’s meeting continues the delegation’s work to push for a timely update to the flood map along Skunk Creek and the Big Sioux River.

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Noem, Klobuchar Lead Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Urging Administration to Provide Crucial Funding for Lewis and Clark Water System

2015/01/27

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today led a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers urging the Administration to provide crucial funding for the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System (LCRWS). Congress recently approved an additional $31 million for work on authorized Bureau of Reclamation water projects. In a letter to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, the lawmakers pressed for strong funding to advance construction on the Lewis and Clark project. When completed, the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System will cover a service territory of more than 5,000 square miles and provide drinking water to 300,000 residents and businesses in southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota. The letter was led by Klobuchar and Noem and co-signed by Senators John Thune (R-SD), Al Franken (D-MN), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) as well as Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Steve King (R-IA).

“The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Congress provided the Bureau of Reclamation with an additional $31 million for ongoing work on authorized rural water projects,” the lawmakers wrote. “As you consider how to allocate the funding for ongoing projects, we request that you give full consideration to the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System project to advance construction in a meaningful way. We look forward to working with you until the Lewis and Clark project is complete and the federal government has fulfilled its commitment.”

The full text of the lawmakers’ letter is below:

Dear Commissioner López:

Congratulations on your appointment as Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.  We look forward to working with you to fulfill the Bureau of Reclamation’s mission to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public.

The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill provided the Bureau of Reclamation with an additional $31 million for ongoing work on authorized rural water projects.  Authorized rural water projects within the Bureau of Reclamation play a key role in providing reliable, quality drinking water to communities in our states.  One such project is the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System (LCRWS).  When complete, it will cover a service territory of more than 5,000 square miles.  As you consider how to allocate the funding for ongoing projects, we request that you give full consideration to the LCRWS project to advance construction in a meaningful way.

In 2000, Congress authorized LCRWS to supply high quality, dependable drinking water to more than 300,000 residents and businesses in southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota.  The Lewis and Clark project is currently 65 percent complete and has seen significant investment at the local, state, and federal level, allowing for the construction of intake wells, a water treatment plant, pumping stations, and pipelines that now connect 11 of the 20 member systems.  Local project sponsors and the three states have collectively pre-paid 100% of the non-federal cost share of $154 million.  The remaining federal cost share to finish the entire project is just over $200 million.  

Rural water projects generate both short-term and long-term economic activity and expand economic development opportunities. The member communities awaiting connection to LCRWS have shown the ability to attract economic development if sufficient water supply is made available through the project.  For example, in Worthington, Minnesota, a large pork processing plant needs a reliable water supply before it can expand its operations.  In Madison, South Dakota the lack of water is preventing the community from taking advantage of the new businesses and industries interested in moving to the community. In Hull, Iowa a dairy plant is ready to expand when sufficient water is available.  These are just a few examples of many demonstrating the potential for economic growth with proper investment in LCRWS.  As you evaluate how to allocate funding, we urge you to consider the ability of LCRWS to utilize funds to effectively promote economic development and jobs in communities in our states.

We look forward to working with you until the Lewis and Clark project is complete and the federal government has fulfilled its commitment. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

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Noem's Human Trafficking Provision Passes U.S. House

2015/01/27

Rep. Kristi Noem’s bipartisan Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act was passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Human trafficking is happening in our backyard and we must address it,” said Rep. Noem.  “The legislation passed today targets trafficking from multiple angles.  First, I’m hopeful my bill will give caregivers, state law enforcement officers, and others the tools they need to prevent trafficking in our communities.  And when prevention efforts fail, my hope is that this legislation gives us more information about how to intervene while also diverting critical resources to creating safe places for survivors to escape to.”

The bipartisan Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act (H.R.350) would launch a review to look into federal and state trafficking prevention activities.  This will help us identify best practices to stop human trafficking.  It also requires an inventory of existing federal anti-trafficking efforts to make sure all federal agencies and programs work together and that federal resources are being targeted where needed.  Finally, the legislation improves an existing Department of Justice grant, ensuring that the grant is open to shelters and facilities looking to provide housing for survivors.

This legislation was first introduced by Rep. Noem in the 113th Congress to help give shelters, law enforcement officers, and caregivers more resources to address the human trafficking crisis.  While the legislation passed the House late last year, the Senate failed to consider the legislation.  Rep. Noem reintroduced the legislation at the beginning of this Congress with California Democrat Rep. Doris Matsui.  

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Weekly Column: Why We Need an Opportunity Economy

2015/01/23

During last week’s State of the Union address, President Obama intended to make the argument that his economic approach was “middle-class economics.”  We ought to be investing in growing the size and strength of middle-class America – as well as its pay – but the President’s policies have failed to do that.

On his watch, only top earners have seen their incomes rise, but middle-class Americans are earning less on average than they did in 2009 – by about two thousand dollars a year.  While jobs have been added at the top and bottom of the wage scale, those positions sought by the middle class have been shed.

A house divided against itself cannot stand – and neither can an economy.  This administration’s policies have divided our nation by class and income.  That’s never been the American way – and it never should be. I believe we ought to seek opportunities for every citizen.  We ought to be bringing folks out of poverty and making sure wages increase across the board.  We ought to be fighting so that every South Dakotan has the opportunity to succeed – so long as they work hard and play by the rules.  We ought to be aiming for an Opportunity Economy.

In many cases, opportunity is a product of education, whether that is a traditional university, community college or vocational school.  I believe in the importance of receiving a higher education, but I also understand the obstacles life can throw in your way when you’re trying to get that education.  I worked multiple jobs after high school to support my own education. 

When my dad passed away and I came home to help run the farm, I had to put that education on hold.  I finally finished my degree almost 20 years later. Needless to say, I understand the challenges.  That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been so supportive of 529 savings plans, which hundreds of South Dakota families currently take advantage of.  The President proposed increasing taxes on these savings accounts as part of his State of the Union pitch.  But this is money hardworking Americans have earned and saved for their kids’ education.  The government doesn’t deserve to take a bigger piece of that money than it already gets.

I’ve also been looking to increase opportunities for working moms.  For many, finding the right work-life balance is a constant struggle.  I’d like to see working families get a little more flexibility.  If you work overtime, you should have a choice: take the overtime pay or get that time back by receiving an equal amount of extra time off.  I helped pass a bill through the House to accomplish this last year, and I’ll be working with the new Republican Senate to try to get it over the finish line this year.

Achieving an Opportunity Economy will also require some changes to the tax code and regulatory environment to make it more fair and affordable.  We’ve done it in South Dakota and it’s produced real results.  Rosenbauer America, a company that manufactures fire rescue vehicles in Lyons, offered almost every employee a dollar-an-hour raise about a year ago, according to the Argus Leader.  They also made it easier to earn vacation days.  This wasn’t something that was mandated by the federal government; it was a decision the company made.  Why?  Our unemployment rate in South Dakota is the third lowest in the nation.  Tax rates are kept low.  And smart regulatory policies have made us one of the nation’s top states to do business. Now, companies have to compete for workers.  That drives pay and benefits up.  It works.

I am committed to securing more opportunities and freedoms for South Dakotans so you can seize every promise the American Dream has always provided.  We can and must do better.

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Kristi Noem: Congress Will Put Its Mark on Asia Trade Pact

2015/01/22

Congress will have input in the long-debated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) the administration of President Barack Obama is negotiating with 11 nations in the Asia-Pacific region, Rep. Kristi Noem told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Trade has surfaced as an issue where Republicans and Democrats could find bipartisan agreement in their search for common ground on legislation in the GOP-controlled Congress.
Supporters of the TPP say it would open new markets for American goods, while detractors fear the plan could cost jobs in the U.S.

"As soon as the administration completes their negotiations, this agreement comes back to us for an up or down vote. So, Congress has a lot of say in what the final agreement looks like," Noem, a South Dakota Republican, said Thursday.

Obama asked for trade promotion authority in his State of the Union speechTuesday evening "to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren't just free, but fair," angering some Democratic lawmakers and labor unions. 

The population growth in Asian countries had opened up opportunities for American companies to "be a part of supplying their needs," Noem said.

"Their food, their supplies, their technology. We have some great opportunities in front of us with this agreement," she said.

Obama also asked lawmakers on Tuesday to "pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan," which he said would create jobs and "make this country stronger." 

Noem said bipartisan agreement could be found to pass a "longer-term plan" to repair transportation projects, but stressed Congress would need to find solutions on "funding issues" to pay for them. 

"We need to fund it, so that we can plan these big projects that need to be completed here in our country," she said. "We recognize it's one of the major responsibilities of the federal government to keep that infrastructure in place, so that we can have commerce happen across our country."  Read More

Obama's proposals run into S.D. opposition

2015/01/21

President Obama delivered his penultimate State of the Union address before Congress and the American people Tuesday night, where he outlined a series of reforms including tax breaks for the middle class, community college assistance and expanding broadband Internet access. Many of the president's proposals, delivered during a 60-minute speech in Washington, could have trouble passing muster in a Republican-led Congress that has been reluctant to increase spending.

Here are the statements issued by South Dakota's Congressional delegation following the president's speech:

Rep. Kristi Noem

"South Dakotans deserve to hear about opportunities, but unfortunately, most of tonight's speech was about politics. … We should, however, enact new trade agreements that create more opportunities for South Dakota commodities and products to be sold overseas. We should eliminate some of the burdensome regulations that make it difficult to do business in America. We should cooperate on real solutions that strengthen cybersecurity, simplify the tax code, secure our nation, and accomplish much more. But to do that, we have to put politics aside. Only then can we create an opportunity economy with higher paying jobs and an accountable, efficient government."

Sen. John Thune

"America's new Congress is focused on a reform agenda to fight for the middle class with policies to help create jobs, increase wages, and lower health care and energy costs. The president tonight laid out an agenda of top-down policies of the past to tax, to spend, and to regulate. South Dakotans know that bigger government doesn't mean better government, but that's exactly what the president proposed tonight, new ways to expand Washington's already-overextended bureaucracy. After six years of the same stale policies, it's time for new ideas. … Republicans believe in tapping into the potential of the American people, not the government, and we hope the president will finally join us."

Sen. Mike Rounds

"I appreciate the fact that the president at least acknowledged the need to work together to solve our country's most pressing issues, but he must do more than pay lip service to bipartisanship in order to move our country forward. ... Instead, he offered more of his same failed policies and proposals that will raise taxes on American families, add to our already bloated debt and stifle energy and economic growth. ... Most troubling of these proposals is his plan to raise taxes on hard-working Americans — to the tune of $320 billion dollars. ... The tax plan he proposed tonight would impact South Dakota small-business owners, farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs. The people who will be hit by this are your friends, your neighbors and Main Street store owners who provide good-paying jobs and essential services in South Dakota communities."

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Noem's human trafficking bill passes committee

2015/01/21

Rep. Kristi Noem’s Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act was passed today by the House Judiciary Committee.  The legislation is expected to be considered by the full House as early as next week.

“We have to do everything we can to protect young people from this unconscionable industry.  And when prevention efforts fail, we have a responsibility to intervene and help survivors recover,” said Congresswoman Noem.  “The provisions that advanced today would give caregivers, state law enforcement officers, and others more tools to end trafficking in our communities. My hope is that we’d also be able to open the door for local shelters to receive the support they need to house survivors, because recovering victims must have a safe place to go.”

The bipartisan Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act (H.R.350) would launch a review to look into federal and state trafficking prevention activities.  This will help us identify best practices to stop human trafficking.  It also requires an inventory of existing federal anti-trafficking efforts to make sure all federal agencies and programs work together and that federal resources are being targeted where needed.  Finally, the legislation improves existing Department of Justice grants, ensuring that the grants also support shelters for survivors.

“Every day, here in the United States, thousands of victims are shuttled from place to place for the purpose of becoming sex slaves in a black market that feeds on the misery of others.  We cannot allow this to continue,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.  “In order to effectively attack this problem, it is first necessary to fully understand it. This legislation requires the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, in consultation with nongovernmental organizations, to identify best practices and any possible gaps that might exist in research and data.  The bill also directs the Government Accountability Office to report to Congress on the effectiveness of the various federal grants aimed at stopping this crime.  Finally, H.R. 350 helps to provide young victims of sex trafficking a safe and secure path forward by ensuring that existing federal grants can be used for housing services. I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation.”

This legislation was first introduced by Rep. Noem in the 113th Congress to help give shelters, law enforcement officers, and caregivers more resources to address the human trafficking crisis.  While the legislation passed the House late last year, the Senate failed to consider the legislation.  Rep. Noem reintroduced the legislation at the beginning of this Congress with California Democrat Rep. Doris Matsui. 

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SD congressional delegation reacts to Obama's speech

2015/01/21

Members of South Dakota's all-Republican congressional delegation say ideas presented by Democratic President Barack Obama in his State of the Union speech will increase government bureaucracy and hurt the middle class.

Obama called for higher taxes on wealthy Americans and new initiatives to boost the middle class, but Sen. Mike Rounds says he thinks the taxes would impact small business owners, entrepreneurs, and farmers and ranchers.

Sen. John Thune says it's time for new ideas "after six years of the same stale policies," and he says the Republican-controlled Congress is focused on reform.

Rep. Kristi Noem says she thinks most of Obama's speech "was about politics." She says South Dakotans deserve to hear about opportunities instead.

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Noem's Human Trafficking Provisions Pass Key House Panel

2015/01/21

Rep. Kristi Noem’s Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act was passed today by the House Judiciary Committee.  The legislation is expected to be considered by the full House as early as next week.

“We have to do everything we can to protect young people from this unconscionable industry.  And when prevention efforts fail, we have a responsibility to intervene and help survivors recover,” said Congresswoman Noem.  “The provisions that advanced today would give caregivers, state law enforcement officers, and others more tools to end trafficking in our communities. My hope is that we’d also be able to open the door for local shelters to receive the support they need to house survivors, because recovering victims must have a safe place to go.”

The bipartisan Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act (H.R.350) would launch a review to look into federal and state trafficking prevention activities.  This will help us identify best practices to stop human trafficking.  It also requires an inventory of existing federal anti-trafficking efforts to make sure all federal agencies and programs work together and that federal resources are being targeted where needed.  Finally, the legislation improves existing Department of Justice grants, ensuring that the grants also support shelters for survivors.

“Every day, here in the United States, thousands of victims are shuttled from place to place for the purpose of becoming sex slaves in a black market that feeds on the misery of others.  We cannot allow this to continue,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.  “In order to effectively attack this problem, it is first necessary to fully understand it. This legislation requires the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, in consultation with nongovernmental organizations, to identify best practices and any possible gaps that might exist in research and data.  The bill also directs the Government Accountability Office to report to Congress on the effectiveness of the various federal grants aimed at stopping this crime.  Finally, H.R. 350 helps to provide young victims of sex trafficking a safe and secure path forward by ensuring that existing federal grants can be used for housing services. I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation.”

This legislation was first introduced by Rep. Noem in the 113th Congress to help give shelters, law enforcement officers, and caregivers more resources to address the human trafficking crisis.  While the legislation passed the House late last year, the Senate failed to consider the legislation.  Rep. Noem reintroduced the legislation at the beginning of this Congress with California Democrat Rep. Doris Matsui.

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Noem Responds to President Obama's State of the Union Address

2015/01/20

Rep. Kristi Noem today issued the following statement in response to the President's State of the Union Address this evening:

“South Dakotans deserve to hear about opportunities, but unfortunately, most of tonight’s speech was about politics.  I believe we can produce real results that give South Dakotans the peace of mind that if they work hard and play by the rules they’ll be given opportunity and security.  That means we can’t be increasing taxes on Middle Class families trying to save for college or adding billions of dollars to the deficit, which our kids will be responsible for. 

“We should, however, enact new trade agreements that create more opportunities for South Dakota commodities and products to be sold overseas.  We should eliminate some of the burdensome regulations that make it difficult to do business in America.  We should cooperate on real solutions that strengthen cybersecurity, simplify the tax code, secure our nation, and accomplish much more.  But to do that, we have to put politics aside. Only then can we create an opportunity economy with higher paying jobs and an accountable, efficient government.”

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GOP rep’s daughter: My mom should be a sports analyst

2015/01/20

Move over, Terry Bradshaw — the daughter of Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) says her mom could have a second career giving the inside scoop at sporting events.

Kassidy Noem, a University of Sioux Falls volleyball player, tweeted Sunday, “My mom should be a sports analyst,” complete with a grinning emoji shown crying tears of joy.

The younger Noem’s tweet came minutes after the lawmaker posted on Twitter: “Oh wow … now we have a game going.”

Noem’s office tells ITK she was watching the Green Bay Packers take on the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game (earning Seattle a spot in the Super Bowl) at the time of her posts. 

When we inquired about any potential future in the broadcast booth, Noem replied, “Who knows! I get pretty animated in games like the Seahawks-Packers matchup because as a [Minnesota] Vikings fan, I have seen my fair share of tragic mistakes leading to a loss.”

The lawmaker heaped praise on Sea-hawks quarterback Russell Wilson, saying the team’s come-from-behind 28-22 overtime win was driven by the football pro’s “belief that he could trust his team.”

“Go for broke, and that they did,” Noem said, adding, “From now on, he will be Mr. Wilson to me.”

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Two South Dakota Voices In Washington

2015/01/18

Senator John Thune is the chair member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and Representative Kristi Noem is the first South Dakota Member of Congress on the Ways and Means committee. Both positions play an important role in South Dakota.

Kristi Noem stands in front of concerned producers at the annual South Dakota Corn Growers Association meeting. She speaks about how her new spot on the Ways and Means Committee can help the Rushmore State.

"For me looking at the fact that we have the farm bill completed now and will be pretty stable for the next five years, I wanted to be where I can have the most impact for South Dakotans," Noem said.

The committee is the oldest in Washington. It has jurisdiction on tax-writing in the House, as well as issues like Medicare and trade agreements.

"It gives a lot more opportunity to have a say in some of the big policies that will be coming out of Washington. If you're on that committee, you're the first one that knows what the bills are going to be that impact the dollars that are in your pocket," Noem said.

Senator John Thune also holds an important role on Capitol Hill. As the chair member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, he deals with issues like the rail car shortage that has plagued KELOLAND.

"We've tried to use the position of the commerce committee to advocate for and advance better rail service and to ensure that our producers in South Dakota have a way of getting those commodities to the marketplace," Thune said.

Thune says no matter what position its elected officials hold, the people of South Dakota do a great job of letting him know what needs to be done.

"They do a really good job of making sure production agriculture has a voice in Washington D.C. They work very close with me and my staff in informing, educating, better understanding what the issues are," Thune said.

The small state of South Dakota has two large voices in Washington.

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Noem Makes A Stop In Sioux Falls

2015/01/17

US Representative Kristi Noem is in Sioux Falls today, talking about her new position in Washington.

The South Dakota Corn Growers annual meeting has been going on all day at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. Noem will be meeting with the association.

Noem plans on discussing becoming a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which is the oldest House committee in Washington. It has jurisdiction on tax-writing in the House, as well as issues like Medicare and trade agreements. Noem is the first South Dakota Member of Congress to serve on the Committee.

The Congresswoman will talk about what her new position on the committee means for South Dakota. We'll have story tonight on KELOLAND Weekend News at 10.

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Powder River Decision a Victory for Ellsworth and the Air Force, Says Noem

2015/01/16

Rep. Kristi Noem today applauded the U.S. Air Force’s final Record of Decision on the Powder River Training Complex as a positive step toward finalizing the proposed expansion of air space.

“Nothing can replace the value of air time for our airmen,” said Noem.  “Proper training and readiness are critical to our airmen’s safety and success in the field.  With the expansion of air space at Powder River, Ellsworth Air Force Base and the U.S. Air Force will have critical access to one of the largest training complexes in the country.  I have worked with the Air Force and monitored the progress of the Powder River Training Complex expansion since coming to CongressThe Record of Decision released today clears an important hurdle for the U.S. Air Force and moves us one step closer to finalizing this mission-critical project.”

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Weekly Column: Hitting the Ground Running

2015/01/16

Over the last few years, thousands of South Dakotans have reached out to me about the Affordable Care Act – or as most people refer to it, “Obamacare.”  Undoubtedly, there are a handful of people who have talked about the new access they’ve received, but the vast majority have contacted me about the problems they’ve faced – whether that’s significantly higher costs for their family, new restraints on their small business, or concerns about losing the healthcare coverage they trust, as it’s already gotten their family through some pretty serious medical situations.

By this time, most people reading this column understand that I want to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with a patient-centered plan that gives you more control over your healthcare while simultaneously targeting the elements of healthcare that are driving insurance costs up, such as frivolous lawsuits and a lack of competition.  I’ve voted numerous times to repeal the legislation and have put forward an alternate plan, but I remain convinced that repeal is not possible under this President.  To him, this is his legacy and so he will veto any full repeal.  And while we have hopes to overcome some presidential vetoes with the new Republican majority in the Senate, there is not enough support from Democrats to override a veto on the repeal of ACA.

While I remain committed to ultimately replacing the President’s healthcare law, I will do what I can today to lessen its impact on South Dakotans. With just two weeks under our belt in 2015, I’ve already helped the U.S. House of Representatives pass three reforms this year that specifically benefit veterans, volunteer firefighters, and small businesses. 

The first, the Save American Workers Act, updates ACA’s definition of “full-time” – something I’ve talked to many South Dakota small businesses about in the last few years.  Under ACA, full-time was defined as 30 hours per week – rather than the traditional 40 hours per week.  The 30-hour definition is almost unheard of.  Even France defines full-time as 35 hours per week.

As a result, some hourly workers – including many in the services industry – saw their time being cut from 40 hours per week to 29.  Fewer hours means less pay.  Through the Save American Workers Act, we aim to save workers from having their hours cut.  This legislation passed with bipartisan support, 252-172.

We also passed the Hire More Heroes Act.  Under ACA, employers with more than 50 full-time workers must help employees pay for insurance through an employer-sponsored plan or face a penalty.  But many veterans receive healthcare through Tricare or the VA.  The Hire More Heroes Act says that veterans don’t count toward ACA’s 50-employee threshold.  I’m hopeful it will encourage folks to hire more of our heroes, while also allowing small businesses to grow without being held back by ACA’s red tape.  This legislation passed the House unanimously.

Finally, we made similar exceptions for volunteer firefighters and emergency personnel, as most receive healthcare through other means.  I’m hopeful this legislation, which also passed the House unanimously, will help preserve precious emergency response dollars.

These three reforms are expected to be considered in the Senate soon, but they continue to face an uphill climb in the White House.  Nonetheless, I remain hopeful that we’ll be able to get some reforms enacted.

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Congress Members Introduce Human Trafficking Act

2015/01/15

South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem leads more than 50 members of Congress in introducing the bipartisan Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act.
 
The legislation will work to better prevent and intervene human trafficking, while also opening resources for survivors.
 
The act was first introduced in 2014 and it takes a three-pronged approach to combat human trafficking by improving grants to support shelters for survivors, launching a new task force to look into federal and state trafficking prevention, and requiring an inventory of existing federal anti-trafficking efforts in order to target where help is needed.
 

Doris O. Matsui helped lead the legislation, and both Noem and Matsui currently serve as Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues.  

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Human Trafficking Bills In Pierre, Washington, D.C.

2015/01/14

New pieces of legislation are being proposed this week in Pierre and Washington D.C., to stop human sex trafficking. Each bill aims to prevent and stop trafficking, while protecting the victims of this national crime.

The South Dakota legislature is tackling the topic of human sex trafficking.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Marty Jackley introduced Senate Bill 13 to the state legislature. This bill would require people convicted of human trafficking to register as sex offenders.

It's part of a recent push by state lawmakers to crack down on trafficking across South Dakota.

In September, the state was recognized by a group called the Polaris Project for its efforts to improve laws regarding sex crimes.

This came just one year after South Dakota was ranked in the lowest tier for its efforts to stop human trafficking.

It's not just within the state that South Dakota lawmakers are trying to make some changes.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem helped introduce a trafficking bill on Capitol Hill today. The Human Trafficking, Prevention, Intervention and Recovery Act aims to prevent and stop human trafficking, as well as offer more resources to trafficking victims. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is also working on its own legislation to help victims. The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act is being modeled after Minnesota's current Safe Harbor law. This bill would protect sex trafficking victims from being legally persecuted as defendants.

So far, these bills have been well received in both Pierre and D.C.

All three of these proposed bills have also received bipartisan support from both sides of the aisle.

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Contact Information

1323 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2801
Fax 202-225-5823
noem.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Agriculture

Armed Services

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem is a wife, mother, experienced rancher, farmer, and former small business owner. Kristi was born and raised in rural Hamlin County in northeastern South Dakota and still lives there today with her husband, Bryon, and their three children, Kassidy, Kennedy, and Booker.

Kristi learned the value of hard work early in life from her father. He put Kristi, her sister and two brothers to work on the family farm at a young age caring for the cattle and horses and helping with planting and harvest. After graduating from high school, Kristi began attending college at Northern State University in Aberdeen. When her father died unexpectedly in a farming accident, Kristi returned to the family farm and ranch full-time. Her father’s death left a huge absence, so Kristi stepped up and helped stabilize the operation and provided leadership when it was needed most.

Kristi’s work on the farm and ranch didn’t go unnoticed. In 1997 she received the South Dakota Outstanding Young Farmer award and in 2003 she was honored with the South Dakota Young Leader award.

Kristi’s experience as a small business owner shaped her understanding of government and its purpose. Too often, government is inefficient and ineffective, simply getting in the way of small businesses and entrepreneurs who wish to create jobs and grow our economy. Realizing this, Kristi decided to get involved to try and make a difference.

Her service includes the South Dakota State Farm Agency State Committee, the Commission for Agriculture in the 21st Century, the South Dakota Soybean Association, and numerous other boards and committees. In the fall of 2006, Kristi was elected as the 6th District Representative to the South Dakota House of Representatives.

Kristi quickly realized she could serve her district, and the State of South Dakota, more effectively in a leadership position. So in her second term she ran for, and won, the position of Assistant Majority Leader in the State House, where she served until 2010.

Kristi was first elected to serve as South Dakota’s lone Member of the U.S. House of Representatives on November 2, 2010.

While keeping up with her Congressional duties in Washington, D.C. and work with constituents in South Dakota, Kristi continued to take undergraduate courses from South Dakota State University. In December 2011, Kristi graduated from SDSU with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

On November 6, 2012, Kristi was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where she continues to serve on the Agriculture Committee and House Armed Services Committee.

Kristi enjoys helping her daughters compete in rodeo and 4-H. She has been a 4-H leader for 14 years. Kristi is also an avid hunter. She particularly enjoys pheasant hunting on the homestead and archery elk with her brothers.


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