Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Delegation Meets With VA Secretary in DC Following Hot Springs Visit

2016/12/06

U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and John Thune (R-S.D.), and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today met with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald following his Nov. 30, 2016, visit to the Hot Springs, South Dakota VA campus. During the meeting, the delegation encouraged Secretary McDonald to carefully consider input he received from veterans, staff and other community stakeholders before making any final decision on the future of the campus. The delegation also reiterated to Secretary McDonald that any reconfiguration of the Black Hills Health Care System should be made within the construct of a national realignment strategy for the Veterans Health Administration, as prescribed by law.

“Making sure veterans in the Hot Springs area have access to quality health care remains my top priority,” said Rounds. “While I would have preferred to join Secretary McDonald on his trip to Hot Springs, I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet with him today to hear about his visit and seek assurances that a decision on the future of Hot Springs has not been predetermined. The VA must continue to focus on what is best for South Dakota veterans and the Hot Springs community.”

“I was encouraged by Secretary McDonald’s willingness to listen to the delegation’s perspective about how we view the future of the Hot Springs VA and by his commitment to continue engaging with the community it serves,” said Thune. “My recommendation to the secretary hasn’t changed. I still believe our veterans would be best served if the Hot Springs VA remained open and operational, especially the facility’s PTSD care, which is credited with saving countless veterans’ lives. It’s my hope that after today’s meeting and Secretary McDonald’s visit to South Dakota last week that he’ll make the right decision for our veterans.” 

“There is something very special about the ‘Veterans Town,’ both for the veterans it serves but also for the community of Hot Springs itself,” said Noem.  “With so much at stake, it is essential the VA Secretary approach this decision with accurate information, a nonbiased perspective, and the shared goal of delivering the best quality healthcare to our nation’s veterans.  These are items we’ve insisted upon from the beginning and areas in which we will continue to hold the VA accountable going forward.  Our veterans deserve nothing less.”

Last week, Secretary McDonald toured part of the Hot Springs VA campus and held a town-hall meeting in Hot Springs to hear from veterans, VA staff and local residents. The delegation recently sent a letter expressing their disappointment and concern over Secretary McDonald’s decision to visit Hot Springs while Congress was in session, thus preventing their participation in the visit. 

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Noem Votes to Send Thune Legislation Addressing Prescribed Burn Concerns to President

2016/12/05

Rep. Kristi Noem today helped the House pass S.3395, the Prescribed Burn Approval Act, sending it to President Obama for his signature.  First introduced by Sen. John Thune and subsequently passed by the Senate, S.3395 would prohibit the U.S. Forest Service from authorizing prescribed burns in an area labeled as an extreme fire danger, except under certain circumstances with local coordination.  The legislation is in response to the April 2015 Pautre Fire, which scorched more than 10,000 acres in western South Dakota.

“The extremely careless mishandling of the Pautre fire resulted in more than 10,000 acres of privately and publicly held land being unintentionally consumed by wildfire.  Families were devastated.  Multiple firefighting units and personnel were put in harm’s way.  This burn should not have occurred that day without the collaboration and additional precautions such a burn requires,” said Noem.  “The Prescribed Burn Approval Act is a step in the right direction, helping ensure necessary precautions are taken while also adding additional transparency and accountability measures for the Forest Service to adhere to. I thank Senator Thune for his work on the bill and encourage President Obama to promptly sign this legislation.”

WATCH: Noem Encourages House to Pass S.3395
Link to YouTube

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Weekly Column: A Different Future for Healthcare

2016/12/02

It’s no wonder why more than half of Americans oppose Obamacare.  Week after week, I talk with South Dakotans who are seeing their health insurance premiums increase by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars per year.  Despite the cost hikes, many are also finding that the 2017 options have larger deductibles, which often translates into higher out-of-pocket expenses too.  Like I said, it’s no wonder.

Today, we are in the middle of the fourth annual open enrollment period for Obamacare.  Absent a major life event, this is the only time you have to obtain or change health insurance without facing a tax penalty. 

For many South Dakotans returning to healthcare.gov this year, the numbers are pretty shocking.  While the nation as a whole has seen a nearly 25 percent increase in the cost of health insurance premiums for 2017, a 27-year-old nonsmoker purchasing a middle tier plan in South Dakota will face a 39 percent price increase.  That kind of cost surge has the potential to fundamentally alter a person’s annual budget.

Additionally, some will find fewer options.  For 2017 coverage, around one in five Americans will have only one insurer to choose from, a significant change from last year when just 2 percent of Americans were in the same boat.  Insurers simply can’t afford to be involved in the individual marketplace.

Earlier this year, we learned one insurer operating in South Dakota lost nearly $100 million over the last two years on individual Obamacare plans in Iowa and South Dakota alone.  As a result, they made the decision to no longer offer these plans in 2017 – a decision that impacted nearly 8,000 South Dakotans.

Many have felt the pain of Obamacare and calls for the law’s repeal have only grown.  While around a dozen minor Obamacare repeals and reforms have been signed into law, this legislation is ultimately beyond repair.

It was widely understood that President Obama would not sign legislation repealing his healthcare law.  Still, we put the option on his desk; he chose to veto it.

At the start of next year, however, I’m very hopeful Obamacare’s repeal will finally become a reality, as it now sits not only at the top of Congress’ agenda, but at the top of the incoming administration’s agenda.

Alongside Obamacare repeal efforts, we’ve been working on conservative legislation to replace the healthcare law with a patient-centered approach.  More specifically, our plan would allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines.  The policy would help ensure you’d have more coverage options while also introducing greater competition into the marketplace to drive down prices.

Another idea would allow small businesses and individuals to band together through new pooling opportunities.  That increases your purchasing power and would give groups more leverage to negotiate with insurers for lower prices.

Other components of our proposal would increase support for wellness programs, protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and allow young people to stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26.

Every American deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare, but experience shows that’s not what Obamacare offers.  We need to give people more choices, not more mandates, and we need to make sure you have the freedom and flexibility to find a plan that’s going to work with your family’s budget and needs.  That’s our vision, and step one in accomplishing it: Repeal Obamacare.

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VA secretary tours Hot Springs VA, hears concerns about closing

2016/11/30

Closing the VA Hospital in Hot Springs has been a passionate topic in our community, and the future of the hospital is still unclear.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald toured the facility on Nov. 30. He also held a town hall meeting, saying he was there to listen. 

"It's clear from my discussions today that the topic on everyone's mind is what will ultimately happen to the Hot Springs facility." 

Veterans, VA employees, veteran service leaders, and citizens of the community all complained of misinformation on whether or not the facility is closing. McDonald wanted to personally tour the facility before making a decision.

"Until you actually go to a place and you actually walk the halls, or see the painted eagle that used to be a fountain, or stand in the spiral staircase, or stand in the entryway looking up at the multiple layers and thinking about the history of our country, the veterans who have served and how this facility has served them, or listened to the comments that you hear in the town hall meetings, words on paper are different from feeling all of that." 

President-Elect Donald Trump is considering former Gov. Sarah Palin for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs position. With that being the case, McDonald is working with a timeline to come to a conclusion before Jan. 20, and he believes he can meet that deadline. 

"I did get some new data today. It's important that we've been in this rather purgatory situation here for sometime, and I don't think it's helpful to veterans, and I don't think it's helpful to employees. "

In his closing statements, McDonald said he hasn't made a decision yet, but when he does, he assured the community that he will not compromise veteran care. 

McDonald toured the facility without the presence of the South Dakota congressional delegation. U.S. Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds, and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem wrote to McDonald, expressing their disappointment that he scheduled the tour while Congress was still in session. The lawmakers declared that by McDonald not meeting with them, he showed that he is not committed to having a fair discussion with the veteran community or addressing VA discrepancies.

After the visit, Thune told NewsCenter1 that he's gald the secretary got to see the quality of care veterans receive at Hot Springs, and veteran feedback was important for McDonald to hear. Thune is hopeful the VA will make the "right decision" to keep Hot Springs open.

Noem sounded off a more cautious note, saying she's troubled by the VA's decision to wait until the final days of the Obama Administration to visit the Hot Springs facility. She says she will not be discouraged from holding the agency accountable for its choices and their impact on South Dakota veterans. Noem says it's one of her top priorities to ensure veterans' voices are heard.

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Weekly Column: Lead Now

2016/11/23

My grandma gave me one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received, which I’d venture to guess is typical for almost everyone.  When I was about to become a new mom, she told me, “As a parent, you’re going to have to say no to a lot of things. Say yes as often as you can.”  So, when my kids wanted to race to the end of the driveway, we did.  When they wanted to play in the mud, we did.  When they wanted to play basketball outside a little past their bedtimes, we laced up our shoes and hit the pavement.  We said yes as often as we could, and 22-plus years later, my grandma’s advice has become a deep-rooted philosophy, not just for parenting, but for leadership.

This November, I held my third annual Lead Now Youth Conference.  Among the lessons shared with the 220 attendees was the idea that young people ought to say yes as leadership opportunities come their way.  It’s easy to discount yourself as “too young for the job” or “too inexperienced,” but I encouraged them to try anyway.  Say yes and see where it goes.

Liz Ferro, founder of the non-profit Girls with Sole, shared a similar message, explaining that despite her tough upbringing she pushed past obstacles, said yes to opportunities, and set her sights on something bigger.  The result? Liz has completed over 60 marathons (at least one in every state), finished five Ironman Triathlons, and started an organization aimed at instilling strength, self-confidence, and pride in young women across the country.

As author Steven J. Stowell wrote, however, “Great leaders find ways to connect with their people and help them fulfill their potential.”  Maybe no one in the business understands this more than SDSU head football coach John Stiegelmeier, who has built strong teams for 20 seasons running.  Coach Stig shared his understanding of teamwork and what’s needed to produce a winning team – whether on the field or in the classroom.

Representatives from Google and The New Colossus, a Sioux Falls-based group dedicated to preventing human trafficking, were also on hand to give students tangible ways to lead among their peer groups today.  After all, it’s not your position in life that matters most.  It’s the choices you make to do what matters that creates true change and happiness.  Our final presenter, motivational speaker V.J. Smith, focused in on this lesson.  He told the story of a Walmart employee in Brookings named Marty.  Marty might not have sat on the top of the corporate ladder, but he was a leader in his own right.  Through gratitude, compassion, and positive thinking, Marty inspired those around him and eventually the world.  It’s an example all of us would benefit from following.

I get excited looking around South Dakota and seeing the boundless potential housed within our young people.  As adults, we have a responsibility to empower our kids to step up and be leaders right where they are.  After all, those who are seizing opportunities in the classroom today will be more comfortable with their ability to seize opportunities for South Dakota tomorrow.  That’s something to which we should all say yes.

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Delegation Disappointed by Secretary McDonald's Decision to Decline Hot Springs VA Tour and Meeting

2016/11/23

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) wrote to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald to express their disappointment and concern over McDonald’s decision to decline a December 2, 2016, tour and meeting at the Hot Springs VA. McDonald will instead travel to the facility on November 30, 2016, a day on which the VA knows Congress will be session, thus preventing Thune, Rounds, and Noem from joining him on that day. By declining the December 2 meeting, McDonald is not fulfilling his commitment to tour the facility with the delegation prior to making his decision on whether or not to shutter the Hot Springs VA.

“Given the magnitude of the changes the VA’s proposed consolidation would have on veteran care, we request that you not hastily issue a final decision in the waning days of President Obama’s administration,” the delegation wrote. “The uncertainty and distrust this process has sown in the veteran community can only be remedied by thoughtful and studied action. Furthermore, we also maintain that any reconfiguration sought by the VA should be made within the construct of a national realignment strategy for the Veterans Health Administration, as prescribed by law.”

On November 10, 2016, the VA issued its final environmental impact statement on the Black Hills Health Care system, the last formal procedural step prior to McDonald having to make a final decision on the facility’s future.

Full text of the letter is below, and a PDF of the letter that was sent to McDonald can be found here

The Honorable Robert McDonald
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20420

Dear Secretary McDonald:

We write to express our extreme disappointment and concern that you are not fulfilling your commitment to join the South Dakota delegation in touring the Hot Springs hospital campus prior to making a final decision regarding the proposed consolidation of the Black Hills Health Care System.

In our discussions with you dating back to before your confirmation as the eighth Secretary of Veterans Affairs, we have made clear our expectation that our veterans be given fair and open consideration in this matter. However, in the nearly five years since the VA first made public its desire to consolidate the Black Hills Health Care System, the process has not been sufficiently transparent or responsive to criticisms from veteran stakeholders. Failure to hold a constructive discussion about the Hot Springs campus with the South Dakota congressional delegation and veteran stakeholders, to include addressing the continued discrepancies in the VA’s analysis, prior to issuing a final decision will all but confirm that a reduction in services at the Hot Springs VA has been a pre-determined outcome throughout this process. We are confident that the long-sought visit to the historic Hot Springs VA campus will be most productive if it includes meaningful engagement with the veteran community and the presence of the South Dakota delegation.  

Given the magnitude of the changes the VA’s proposed consolidation would have on veteran care, we request that you not hastily issue a final decision in the waning days of President Obama’s administration. The uncertainty and distrust this process has sown in the veteran community can only be remedied by thoughtful and studied action. Furthermore, we also maintain that any reconfiguration sought by the VA should be made within the construct of a national realignment strategy for the Veterans Health Administration, as prescribed by law.

Thank you for your timely consideration of this urgent and important matter.

Sincerely,

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Weekly Column: Active Gratitude

2016/11/18

On Veterans Day this year, I attended the activation ceremony for the 153rd Engineer Battalion of the South Dakota National Guard, as more than 150 soldiers from Huron and Parkston prepared to deploy to Kuwait for the next year.  The work they will be doing is critical, but it’s still sobering to think of the empty chair that will be at the Thanksgiving table this year and the slightly more solemn Christmas to come soon after.  The simple act of saying “thank you for you and your family’s service” hardly seems to capture the depth of gratitude a person feels.

I have always believed, and have always tried to teach my kids, that gratitude is more than a series of words.  Gratitude is active; something you show; something you share with others.  I know I’m not alone in this belief.  It’s a value most South Dakotans share.

Just this month, a new federal report found that South Dakota ranks fourth in the nation for volunteering – one way we can perhaps measure gratitude in action.  While around 25 percent of Americans volunteer, more than 1 in 3 South Dakotans do – and that number is actually on the rise even as volunteering becomes less popular nationwide.  All in all, South Dakotans offered 23.26 million hours of service in 2015. 

Of course, there are countless informal ways to practice active gratitude as well.  Sit down and play cards with someone who might be having a tough time this holiday season.  Drop dinner off at the home of a military family in your community.  Be a little more patient with your children or a little more helpful to your parents. 

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit, which is just about the same length as the holiday season.  I encourage you to use this Thanksgiving as the start of a 21-day challenge to make active gratitude an even bigger part of your life.  Just imagine how much could change if we all committed ourselves to showing our appreciation a little bit more.

On behalf of my entire family, I wish you a safe – and filling – Thanksgiving.

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SD delegation hopes to kick WOTUS to the curb

2016/11/15

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem announced her first major congressional action since declaring her intention to run for governor in 2018.

Noem, who was re-elected as South Dakota's lone member of the House of Representatives last week, joined U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune and 78 other members of Congress in standing against the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule via a brief filed in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The brief was filed Nov. 8, but Noem issued her statement on Tuesday.
The rule has long drawn the ire of South Dakota's Republican congressional delegation, who all spoke out against the rule during an August forum at Dakotafest in Mitchell. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the rule is meant to define and protect tributaries from health hazards, but some see WOTUS as federal overreach.

"The WOTUS rule could become one of the largest federal land grabs in U.S. history," said Noem in the statement. "We are actively working on the legislative front to strike down WOTUS, pushing forward in the face of vetoes and continued opposition from President Obama."

In the brief, Noem and 79 other members of Congress claim the WOTUS rule expands federal jurisdiction over land and water. Despite these claims, the EPA has argued the rule does not have the effect on farmers and ranchers some legislators would have their constituents believe.

The EPA says the rule would not give federal agencies greater power over water on farms and ranches, would not bring all ditches on farms under federal jurisdiction and does not apply to wet area on fields.

But Noem argued Tuesday the rule must be withdrawn.

"Still, we are exploring all options and with this brief, we make our views very clear to the courts: This rule goes too far and by no means follows congressional intent," Noem said.

Tuesday's announcement from Noem was the first news release issued by her office since she publicized her campaign to replace term-limited Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

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Noem, Schakowsky Lead House in Passing the Women, Peace and Security Act

2016/11/15

U.S. Representatives Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) today led the House in passing H.R.5332, the Women, Peace, and Security Act.  This bipartisan legislation would require the U.S. to develop a comprehensive strategy to increase and strengthen women’s participation in peace negotiations and conflict prevention globally as well as ensure accountability to Congress.

“We live in an extremely volatile and dangerous world where peace negotiations are ongoing in multiple regions,” said Noem.  “Women have proven to be influential forces in producing lasting peace within a community, yet are often underrepresented when it comes to conflict prevention and resolution.  With this legislation in place, we can be assured that women will have a meaningful seat at the table.  I’m hopeful these reforms, as well as the long-term thinking and accountability this legislation requires, will help produce more sustainable outcomes during future conflict resolution and peace negotiation processes.”

“When women are involved in the peace process, negotiations are more likely to end in a lasting agreement. That's the simple and powerful idea behind this legislation,” said Schakowsky. “Across time and around the world, women have been uniquely and disproportionately affected by armed conflict. This legislation will ensure that women now have a meaningful role in peace building, conflict resolution, and conflict prevention. The United States plays a crucial role in promoting peace all over the world. By making women’s participation in the peace process a national priority, we will improve national and global security."

Research shows that peace agreements are 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years when women are involved.  The Women, Peace and Security Act would – for the first time – establish women’s participation as a permanent element of U.S. foreign policy under Congressional oversight.

Reps. Noem and Schakowsky introduced H.R.5332 in May 2016 alongside cosponsors House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), and House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY).  Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) have introduced similar legislation in the Senate.

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Noem Joins Congressional Colleagues to File Amicus Brief in WOTUS Case

2016/11/15

Rep. Kristi Noem joined an effort of more than 80 Members of Congress, including Senators Rounds and Thune, in filing an amicus brief with the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals regarding the controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.  The Appellate Court is currently adjudicating the rule’s constitutionality and has put a temporary suspension on the rule until further determinations can be made. 

In the brief, the congressional members argue that the EPA’s rule expands federal jurisdiction over land and water beyond the restraints set by the Supreme Court in SWANCC v U.S. Army Corps, that Congress has the sole right to make law, and that the agencies involved have failed in their responsibility to “faithfully” execute the laws set by Congress. To view a copy of the brief, click here.

“The WOTUS rule could become one of the largest federal land grabs in U.S. history,” said Noem.  “We are actively working on the legislative front to strike down WOTUS, pushing forward in the face of vetoes and continued opposition from President Obama.  Still, we are exploring all options and with this brief, we make our views very clear to the Courts: This rule goes too far and by no means follows congressional intent.  The WOTUS rule must be withdrawn.”

This is not the first time Noem has weighed into the WOTUS debate.  In January 2016, Rep. Noem joined the House in passing legislation to block the WOTUS rule.  The legislation was also passed by the Senate, but vetoed by the President.

Additionally, in May 2014, Rep. Noem joined 231 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle on a letter urging the EPA and the Secretary of the Army to withdraw the proposed rule.

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A Deployment Ceremony On Veterans Day

2016/11/11

In Huron Friday, more than 150 service men and women with the 153rd Engineer Battalion and their families came together for a deployment ceremony.

LTC Trent Bruce said it was significant to hold the event on Veterans Day.

"Veterans Day is an important day for anyone that wears the uniform and for those that are going to be deploying, it does add something to that for their families,” said LTC Bruce.

For CPT Joshua Lien, this will be his third deployment.

The father of six boys said he believes his experience helps leaving home.

"I think it helps my family, they've done this before. They know how, kind of, all of this works,” said CPT Lien.

His wife, Crystal, however, said it never gets easier.

"My boys and I are trying not think about it. We try not to talk about it, we try not to think about it just so we can get through it without doing the ugly cry,” said Lien, with a laugh.

For families who don't know the feeling of a loved one’s deployment, Lien said it's a lot of mixed emotions.

"You're immensely proud, you're scared, you're lonely, you miss them, you're overwhelmed. But you're super proud so it's really hard to balance I'm so proud of them, I want to fall into a puddle of tears,” said Lien.

PFC Nicholas Shields, 19, is going on his first deployment.

He said he’s going into his first mission with a few goals in mind.

"Getting along with my new teammates and staying cool,” said PFC Shields.

He said his family supports him “100 percent” and even offered some advice.

"They just say keep the sand out of your pants,” said PFC Shields.

For Senator John Thune, he said they appreciated all service men and women, no matter how many deployments they’ve been on.

"Doing this on veterans day where we have the opportunity to connect the past with the present and this generation of soldiers who are going to answer the call to duty, I think, is especially fitting,” said Sen. Thune.

Representative Kristi Noem said the sacrifices these service men and women and their families go through is invaluable.

"These families are leaving us and leaving their homes to go overseas and keep us safe so that we can all go to bed at night and know that we are going to be protected and safe,” said Rep. Noem.

On what is a tough day for families, CPT Lien said the message of the day is felt by these troops.

"I think having a ceremony on Veterans Day means a lot to us,” said CPT Lien.

The 153rd Engineer Battalion leaves for an eleven month deployment to Kuwait after the holidays.

Some of their mission will include building roads and remodeling barracks on U.S. bases.

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Weekly Column: Honoring Veterans and the Caregivers Supporting Them

2016/11/04

A woman reached out to our office recently.  Her husband, a veteran now, was a medic in the Iraq War. While he’s returned home, she told us “it really is like he never came back.” He, like as many as one in five Iraq War veterans, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

For thousands, the battle does not end when the deployment does.  There are scars – both seen and unseen – that remain.  For this South Dakota family, PTSD has shown itself through fits of rage and occasionally a disconnect between the veteran and his children.  While the family knew he needed mental health support, it was admittedly difficult to recognize the slow-striking signs of PTSD right away.

Eventually, the family found Coaching into Care, a resource provided by the Veterans Administration (VA).  Through this program, they were connected with others who could understand the burdens of war and the difficult-to-discuss challenge of being a caregiver. Additionally, veterans and their caregivers can be introduced to licensed therapists and social workers who could provide professional help.

Offering this support to both veterans and caregivers in this way is critical. Over five million people serve as caregivers for veteran family members, and in doing so, they answer their own call to service.  It’s a tough job, but there is support out there.  In addition to the Coaching into Care program, the VA has set up a special Caregiver Support Line, which can be reached by calling 1-855-260-3274.  There is also help offered through the VA Family Caregiver Program.

The woman we spoke to explained that her husband’s treatment has helped him a great deal, and she continues to advocate for more mental health research for military personnel.  But she emphasized that more than anything, she wants other veterans to recognize the signs of mental illness and know it is absolutely not a weakness or a fault.  With her goals in mind, I wanted to share a few of those signs today. 

The VA identifies four types of symptoms. First, a veteran may relive a traumatic event or series of events.  This may show itself through nightmares, flashbacks, or after experiencing a sight, sound or smell that triggers them to feel the same fear or horror as when the event first occurred.

Second, an individual may avoid situations that remind them of the event, such as crowded areas or driving.  Keeping busy or ducking help might also keep them from having to think or talk about the event.

Third, you may see a change in the way a person thinks about themselves or others.  Perhaps they avoid relationships or start seeing the world as completely dangerous.

Finally, a veteran may seem to be on the lookout for danger.  This symptom may show up in the form of difficulty sleeping or concentrating, anger and irritability, or an unusual jitteriness.  If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, I encourage you to seek help. If you don’t know where to turn, the VA has set up a crisis line.  To access it, call 1-800-273-8255 or text 838255.

Our freedom comes at a cost.  This month, as we observe both Veterans Day and Caregiver Appreciation Month, I encourage you to reach out to the families who have answered the call of duty.  They deserve our respect, support, and gratitude.

To all of those who have fought and for the caregivers who support them today, I know I can never truly understand the depth of the experiences you have endured, but I pray for you always.  May God bless and protect you.

Additional Note: If you or a family member would like support from Coaching into Care, as this family recieved, the agency can be reached toll free at 1-888-823-7458.  Their hours are Monday - Friday 7am to 7pm (CT). 

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Rep. Noem offers support and advice for those affected by Cottonwood Fire

2016/11/03

The Cottonwood fire ravaged thousands of acres, and while the recovery has started, there is still a lot of work to do.

Representative Kristi Noem sat down wth a number of individuals who lost cattle, pasture, hay, and fencing from the blaze. She heard some of the issues they are facing and also gave them advice on how do deal with the government while the recovery process continues.

Rep. Kristi Noem says, "I'm here today to meet with the families that were affected by the Cottonwood Fire that happened a little while ago, and really visit with them to see what kind of help they need. I know they're already aware of federal programs that can be helpful. Other groups such as the Stockgrowers, the Cattlemen have been very helpful in getting them assistance, but I want them to know that if they run into any problems, or have issues with any federal agencies that our office is here to help as well, and mainly to let them know that we're thinking about them, we're supporting them, and that we're a resource that they can call on."

Noem, who grew up on a farm says the fire not only resulted in a large monetary loss, but it left emotional holes, especially for those who lost cattle.
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Rep. Noem meets with ranch families affected by Cottonwood Fire

2016/11/03

It's been almost three weeks since the Cottonwood Fire scorched more than 60 square miles of prairie east of Wall. The fire killed nearly three hundred head of cattle. In the aftermath, Governor Dennis Dauggard issued an emergency disaster declaration to help those affected in Jackson county. Thursday, South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem met with ranch families affected by the blaze.

"You know, I think one thing people don't realize is how this effects producers mentally. I spent my life raising cattle too, and you love your cattle. You take care of them, you take pride in your herd. And they watched them burn up and die. And some of them got injured to the point where they had to destroy them later,” said Rep. Kristi Noem (R).

Falling beef prices have compounded the loss of livestock for ranch families. Saturday November 5, there's a benefit barbecue at the Philip Fire Hall. All funds raised through good-will donations will go to the Cottonwood Fire Rancher's Relief Fund.

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Noem pleased with Hot Springs veteran home

2016/11/01

The Michael J. Fitzmaurice State Veteran Home welcomed U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem on Nov 1. Noem had yet to see the facility since the new building was finished. 

Noem actively checks how facilities in South Dakota function, and overall, Noem was pleased with how the Veteran Home serves residents. 

"When I was in the state legislature, we talked about having a facility like this, so to see it completed is wonderful. This is an amazing gift to South Dakota and to this community but also to our veterans. So I'm hopeful that it will be filled up soon and utilized, and this really is a big family. So it's a wonderful place for our veterans to come and spend their last few years together."

The Veterans Home can house up to 100 veterans. The facility is complete with a pharmacy, barber shop, and church.

Noem ended her day by stopping by Wind Cave National Park to help the bison be recognized as the national mammal.

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Wind Cave National Park hosts national mammal dedication Wind Cave National Park hosts national mammal dedication

2016/11/01

The National Bison Legacy Act proclaims the North American Bison the National Mammal, but it was honored today at Wind Cave National Park.

The ceremony celebrated the origin of Wind Cave National Park bison, and restoring bison to the western landscape. Washington representatives joined the InterTribal Buffalo Council and the National Buffalo Association to commemorate the dedication.

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem shared her stories of raising buffalo as a young child, while Jim Stone of the InterTribal Buffalo Council shared the buffalo's connection to the Native American culture.

Hot Springs high school provided a band for the event, and friends of the bison joined in fellowship over cake to conclude the day.

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Weekly Column: In a Pinch

2016/10/28

People are feeling pinched right now, caught between rising household costs and stagnant – or in some cases, falling – wages.

In recent days, we’ve learned that healthcare premiums under Obamacare are once again set to rise – this time, by a staggering 25 percent nationwide, a number that is expected to be even higher in South Dakota.

And it’s not just healthcare costs.  The Obama administration’s motor-vehicle rules are expected to push the price of a new car up by nearly $3,000 over the next decade.  The cost of common household products – including fluorescent lamps, microwaves, air conditioners, and dishwashers – are also set to rise by around $1,600 per household as a result of onerous regulations.  Meanwhile, regulatory-related expenses are now responsible for almost 25 percent of a new home’s final cost.  And if you’re looking for a break on the utility costs, the administration’s latest environmental push promises to skyrocket energy bills.

At the same time, our economy remains at a standstill.  According to a recent Bureau of Economic Analysis report, America’s real GDP grew an average of just 1 percent during the first two quarters of 2016.  That has a real impact on families.  By some estimates, the prolonged economic stagnation has cost the median American family a total of $69,000 in lost income over the last eight years.

People need relief on both sides of the equation.  To help reduce a family’s weekly expenses, regulatory reform should be one of the first federal policy changes. One proposal I’ve backed, the REINS Act, would introduce more accountability into the regulatory system, requiring that any major regulation is reviewed and approved by Congress before it takes effect.  This is just a start.  Repealing big-government mandates, including Obamacare, and replacing them with consumer-driven approaches would also help cut your monthly bills.

Just tackling expenses, however, won’t be enough.  Families need their incomes to rise as well.  Through a tax plan House Republicans proposed earlier this year, the economy could grow 9.1 percent over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation which also found that Americans of every income group would pay less in taxes under the plan.  This growth, fueled by a simpler and fairer tax code, would help raise Americans’ wages and create an environment where 1.7 million jobs could be created.

Additionally, investing in job-ready training for young people and opening new markets around the world for products grown or made in America could also help increase employment and incomes, while securing our borders can help protect opportunity at home.

It almost doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m talking to, people feel like they’re constantly being hit from all sides.  Virtually everything seems to cost more, but few people are making more.  We know how this can be resolved: the unnecessary mandates and regulations must be lifted while we create opportunities in the economy for incomes to rise. If we can do that, we can relieve the pinch all too many families feel today.

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South Dakota leaders react to new Clinton review

2016/10/28

One of the U.S. Senate's top Republicans, South Dakota's John Thune says he looks forward to learning more about the newly uncovered emails that caused the FBI to reopen the Hillary Clinton investigation.

"Hillary Clinton has an adversarial relationship with the truth, and I am glad the FBI is finally taking the appropriate steps to ensure justice is served. ” says Thune. 

South Dakota U.S. Representative Kristi Noem (R) says that with significant questions remaining, further investigation is not only warranted, but required to restore public trust.

The South Dakota Democratic Party reacts to this new October surprise, with just weeks to go before election day, by saying that FBI Director Comey is only acting out of an "abundance of thoroughness and caution."  

Party Executive Director Suzanne Jones-Pranger says there is no evidence at this time to suggest that these new emails will change the FBI's original conclusion that cleared Clinton of any wrongdoing.

South Dakota Republican Party Executive Director Ryan Budmayr says the new email review is just more confirmation that Hillary's policies are bad, but her judgements are worse.

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Noem visits Dakota Valley

2016/10/27

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem took time out of her busy schedule to tour the new Dakota Valley High School on Thursday, Oct. 13. She was greeted by Student Council members Anna Rasmussen and Karl Schenk. High School Principal Erik Sommervold, along with the two students, gave Noem a tour of the school before the school assembly.

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Kristi Noem Claims that Lower Taxes is the Answer

2016/10/25

One of the goals yet to be accomplished by South Dakota’s lone member of the US House of Representatives is tax reform and she wants to go back and continue the fight.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem has been a member of the Ways and Means Committee since 2015 and supports a plan to lower corporate tax rates so American businesses can be competitive in that arena.

“The Ways and Means (Committee) has put forward as a reform package to lower that rate down to 20 percent. It gets us competitive again. Every other developed country in the world has done tax reform in the last 20 years except the United States. (Our corporate tax rate) is the highest in the developed world and that’s why we see companies leaving and going overseas.”

Noem also says other areas of the tax code are in need of a fresh start.

“The small business rate would be at 25 percent. We consolidate the seven individual tax rates down to three. (When) we get rid of a lot of these loopholes and deductions essentially the majority of Americans could pay their taxes with a post card if we were to put this in place.”

By enacting a tax reform package as described, Noem believes the American economy would see a rate of growth around 9.1 percent.

The Republican won the seat back in 2010 and wants to serve a fourth term in the US House of Representatives. In this election she is challenged by Democrat Paula Hawks.

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Noem Votes to Send Thune Legislation Addressing Prescribed Burn Concerns to President

2016-12-05 22:43:38


Young Women Inspired at Noem's Lead Now Youth Conference (KELOLAND)

2016-11-18 17:05:35


Noem, Schakowsky Lead House in Passing the Women, Peace and Security Act

2016-11-15 22:34:38


"Girls with Sole" Founder Liz Ferro Gets Ready to Motivate at Noem's Lead Now! Youth Conference

2016-11-10 15:44:31


Rep. Noem Hold West River Town Halls (NewsCenter1)

2016-11-07 21:27:39


Rep. Noem Visits Michael J. Fitzmaurice State Veteran Home (NewsCenter1)

2016-11-07 21:27:37


Rep. Noem Visits Families Impacted by Cottonwood Fire (NewsCenter1)

2016-11-07 21:27:36


Bison becomes the National Mammal (KOTA)

2016-11-04 19:35:51


Noem Visits Dakota Valley High School (KTIV)

2016-10-14 17:55:47


Noem Visits Dakota Valley High School (KPTH)

2016-10-14 17:55:22


Join Us at Lead Now!

2016-10-06 15:45:34


Noem Opens Up About Her Time In Agriculture

2016-09-26 15:34:33


Noem’s IHS Reform Bill Receives Ways and Means Committee Approval

2016-09-21 21:51:56


Noem Votes to Put Fans First (KELOLAND)

2016-09-16 16:12:13


Noem responds to reservation hospital's ER closure (NewsCenter1)

2016-09-16 16:11:46


Black Hills National Cemetery close to tripling in size (KOTA)

2016-09-08 14:32:41


House Passes Noem Bill to Expand Black Hills National Cemetery

2016-09-07 14:49:51


Noem Talks Agriculture at Dakotafest (Ag Day)

2016-08-31 16:47:11


Noem Tours Sioux San Hospital (KELOLAND)

2016-08-26 17:49:18


Noem Tours Sioux San Hospital (NewsCenter1)

2016-08-26 17:49:14


Contact Information

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

Committee Assignments

Ways and Means

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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