Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Noem Staff to Hold Mobile Office Hours in Platte on October 22

2014/10/22

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem today announced that Rick Vallery, a staff member out of Pierre, will hold Mobile Office Hours in Platte on Wednesday, October 22.  Vallery will be available that day between 9:45AM and 10:45AM at Dutch’s (2 West 7th Street, Platte) to meet with residents who need help with a federal agency or have concerns or comments they would like passed along to the Congresswoman.

If area residents are unable to meet during the Mobile Office Hours from 9:45AM to 10:45AM, please contact Rep. Noem’s Sioux Falls office at 275-2868 or visit her website at www.noem.house.gov to schedule a separate appointment or get immediate assistance. 

- WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22 -

WHAT: Noem Staff Hold Mobile Office Hours in Platte     
WHEN: Tuesday, October 22, 2014 – 9:45AM to 10:45AM (CT)
WHERE: Dutch’s (2 West 7th Street, Platte)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Platte residents may meet with Rick Vallery, a staff member out of Pierre, to get help with a federal agency or pass on any concerns or comments they have for the Congresswoman.

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Noem in Aberdeen on October 21

2014/10/21

Rep. Kristi Noem will be in Aberdeen on Tuesday, October 21, to tour the Sanford Hospital and meet with the Aberdeen Development Corporation.  If you plan to cover either event, please contact Brittany Comins at brittany.comins@mail.house.gov.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WHAT:  Noem to Meet with Hospital Staff at Sanford
WHEN:  Tuesday, October 21 – 2:00PM (CT)
WHERE:  Sanford Hospital, Medical Center Conference Room (2905 3rd Avenue SE, Aberdeen)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Rep. Noem will be meeting with hospital staff at Sanford Hospital.  Prior to the meeting, she will be touring the facility, but because the tour enters patient areas, press are not permitted to accompany.

WHAT:  Noem to Meet with Aberdeen Development Corporation
WHEN:  Tuesday, October 21 – 3:30PM (CT)
WHERE:  Aberdeen Development Corporation (416 Production Street N, Aberdeen)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Rep. Noem will be meeting with the Aberdeen Development Corporation to discuss top issues facing community businesses.

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Noem Staff to Hold Mobile Office Hours in Gregory on October 21

2014/10/21

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem today announced that Rick Vallery, a staff member out of Pierre, will hold Mobile Office Hours in Gregory on Tuesday, October 21.  Vallery will be available that day between 1:00PM and 2:00PM at Sissy’s Cafe (601 Main Street, Gregory) to meet with residents who need help with a federal agency or have concerns or comments they would like passed along to the Congresswoman.

If area residents are unable to meet during the Mobile Office Hours from 1:00PM to 2:00PM, please contact Rep. Noem’s Sioux Falls office at 275-2868 or visit her website at www.noem.house.gov to schedule a separate appointment or get immediate assistance. 

- TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21 -

WHAT: Noem Staff Hold Mobile Office Hours in Gregory    
WHEN: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – 1:00PM to 2:00PM (CT)
WHERE: Sissy’s Cafe (601 Main Street, Gregory)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Gregory residents may meet with Rick Vallery, a staff member out of Pierre, to get help with a federal agency or pass on any concerns or comments they have for the Congresswoman.

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Noem in Madison on October 20

2014/10/20

Rep. Kristi Noem will be in Madison on Monday, October 20, to speak with students at Madison Central High School and address the Madison Rotary Club.  If you plan to cover either event, please contact Brittany Comins at brittany.comins@mail.house.gov.

Monday, October 20, 2014

WHAT:  Noem to Speak at Madison High School
WHEN:  Monday, October 20 – 10:30AM (CT)
WHERE:  Madison Central High School, Auditorium (800 9th Street NE, Madison)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Rep. Noem will be speaking to the senior class about the legislative process and her role in Congress. 

WHAT:  Noem to Address Madison Rotary Club
WHEN:  Monday, October 20 – 12:00PM (CT)
WHERE:  Nicky’s Restaurant (1407 NW 2nd Street, Madison)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Rep. Noem will be giving the Rotary Club an update of her work in Congress.

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Bat proposal worries Black Hills timber industry

2014/10/20

The Black Hills timber industry could suffer irreparable damage if the northern long-eared bat is added to the list of endangered species, according to a nonprofit trade group.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to add the bat to the endangered species list because of a fungus called white-nose syndrome that is killing bats in the eastern U.S.

The bat thrives in the Black Hills region of western South Dakota. A listing would restrict forest management, including timber harvest and mountain pine beetle management, said Ben Wudtke, forest programs manager for the Black Hills Forest Resource Association.

A possible restriction would be no harvesting of trees over three inches in diameter from April through October, when the bats are leaving the caves and mines in which they hibernate for the winter and moving to nests in trees.

"That's the prime time for doing forest management activities that improve the health of these forests," Wudtke told the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/1rmYZMB ).

U.S. Sen. John Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem, both South Dakota Republicans, recently asked federal wildlife leaders to withdraw the proposed listing, saying it could endanger more than 1,500 jobs in the Black Hills.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to make a decision next spring.

Officials are concerned about being able to manage the forest, but they also want to do what's best for the bat if it truly is endangered, said Kerry Burns, a U.S. Forest Service forest wildlife biologist in the Black Hills.

"We want to incorporate conservation measures that are truly going to make a difference," he said. "The first and foremost threat is white-nose syndrome."

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Noem in Fort Thompson for Wiconi Wawokiya Prayer Walk October 17

2014/10/17

Rep. Kristi Noem will be in Fort Thompson for the Wiconi Wawokiya Prayer Walk on Friday, October 17.  If you plan to cover the event, please contact Brittany Comins at brittany.comins@mail.house.gov.

Friday, October 17, 2014

WHAT:  Noem to Participate in Wiconi Wawokiya Prayer Walk

WHEN:  Friday, October 17 – 12:30PM (CT)

WHERE:  Wiconi Wawokiya Shelter (101 Red Horse Road, Fort Thompson)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Rep. Noem will be participating in the walk, which draws attention to healing against child abuse, drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, human trafficking, and broken relationships.  Rep. Noem will also offer a prayer for healing and comfort at the conclusion of the walk.

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Weekly Column: Tackling Diabetes

2014/10/17

This last week, I met with a nine-year-old girl from Black Hawk.  Her name was Lauren.  She is an incredible young lady and I had a great time getting to meet her.  But Lauren and I were there to visit about a very serious issue. Lauren, like more than 200,000 young people in America, has diabetes.

Each year, tens of thousands of Americans – including many children – learn they have diabetes.  While nearly 10 percent of Americans have the disease, there are still a number of misperceptions surrounding diabetes and what it means for everyday life.  That’s why I wanted to take a moment this week to write about some things each of us should be aware of regarding diabetes.

First, there are two kinds.  Type 1 diabetes, which is what Lauren and my nephew Hunter have, occurs when a person’s immune system destroys cells that release insulin.  Without insulin, we can’t absorb sugar, which is needed to produce energy.  With Type 2 diabetes, people aren’t able to use the insulin that is produced right away and over time, the pancreas may begin making less and less insulin.  The majority of people with diabetes have Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented and children with a family history of Type 1 diabetes or certain genetic factors can be at increased risk.  Type 2 diabetes can be delayed, if not prevented altogether, by maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, and exercising.

There are different ways to treat diabetes.  Both Lauren and Hunter, for instance, wear an insulin pump.  This essentially gives them short-acting insulin 24 hours a day so their sugar levels are kept in check.  Other people may take shots, oral medication or adjust their eating habits to help control blood-sugar levels. 

Some with Type 2 diabetes may be able to make lifestyle adjustments that allow them to reverse the diagnoses.  But for those with Type 1 diabetes, there is currently no cure.  Scientists are working very hard, however, to identify one for kids like Lauren and Hunter and advancements have been made.

During our visit, I asked Lauren if there was anything else she wanted people to know about diabetes.  She said, “Diabetes is not contagious, so don’t be scared to be around someone with it.”  To me, that comment was another reminder that we can all do more to debunk myths and increase awareness about diabetes.  In South Dakota, Governor Daugaard has declared October as “Diabetes Awareness Month” after learning about Lauren’s brave efforts to take on diabetes. 

I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to have folks focusing on diabetes – especially childhood diabetes – this month.  I still remember when our family found out Hunter had diabetes.  We all had so many questions and those first few months after he was diagnosed were a crash course for all of us.  To be honest, it’s something our family continues to learn about as he grows and as new technologies and treatments become available to him.  But he’s been such a great kid through it all and he’s turning out to be an incredible young man.

Hunter has been an inspiration to our family and I’m thankful we have young people like him and Lauren out there, encouraging other kids who have been diagnosed, moving researchers and lawmakers to tackle this disease, and inspiring each of us. 

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Smiles abound as officials inaugurate cheese plant

2014/10/17

Antoine Fievet told the crowd at the inauguration ceremony for the new Mini Babybel plant in Brookings, S.D., in early October that his great-great grandfather started the company in France in 1865.

The chairman and CEO of the Paris-based Bel Co. said that after all those years, the biggest investment ever by the longtime family company has been taking place in South Dakota. The Brookings plant, Bel’s third in the United States will use about 500,000 pounds of milk per day to produce 1.5 million Mini Babybel portions every day with a production capacity of more than 22 million pounds of cheese every year.

The milk will come from two dairy co-ops in the region, Dairy Farmers of America and Land O’ Lakes.

The $144 million facility, with the latest in technology and the size of four football fields, will employ 215 people with the workforce expected to increase to 250 by the end of the year. There is room at the 48-acre site to double the plant’s production sometime down the road and employ as many as 400 people.

Fievet, who spent some years in America after the company first moved to this country in 1970, said its mission is to “share smiles with families” and ensure that its products continue to be innovative. The innovation has been achieved with all of the new technology at the Brookings plant.

Frederic Nalis, president and CEO of Bel Brands USA, said sales of Mini Babybels were up 24 percent in 2013 and have tripled in the past five years. Such numbers convinced company officials that it made sense to build the plant in Brookings.

Sales in the U.S. account for 75 percent of the product sold outside of France, making the U.S. the No. 1 market for Mini Babybels in the world since the product was introduced in this country in 1979.

At the ribbon-cutting, held at the Swiftel Center because of the cold, windy weather that prevented the event from being held in a tent outside the plant just off Interstate 29, it was mostly a big “thank you” to all of the people involved – from South Dakota state officials to Brookings City Council members and all of those from Bel who chose South Dakota in January 2012 when the choice was down to two states.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who grew up milking dairy cows on his family farm near Dell Rapids, described in detail a trip made to Bel Brands USA headquarters in Chicago in May 2011 when a delegation made a pitch to have the company build in Brookings.

He recalled the team of former state agriculture commissioner Walt Bones, South Dakota State University dairy science department head Vikram Mistry, state commissioner of economic development Pat Costello, Brookings Mayor Tim Reed and others who talked about the state’s business climate, the SDSU dairy program that could supply trained workers, the robust milking operations in the region and the dedicated and hardworking workforce.

Bel officials noted similarly in their comments that those were the main reasons for selecting Brookings.

Expanding on those selling points, Daugaard noted that the number of dairy cows, currently at about 97,000 in the state, is expected to increase by about 20,000 to 117,000 cows through more and expanded dairies already permitted.

That’s still far below the approximately 250,000 dairy cows South Dakota had during its peak in the 1960s. However, the numbers fell as low as 80,000 before the current rebound. The governor also reported that seven California dairy producers and one from Wisconsin currently are looking at moving operations here.

He said the numbers show the state’s commitment to continue to work to help Bel and others in the state long after they become operational.

“Our door remains open, and we want to continue to help you find success,” Daugaard told the French delegation.

He also said the SDSU dairy department is one of only two in the nation with a program offering both training in dairy production and dairy processing.

He said the hardworking people of South Dakota are the state’s biggest selling point, adding and that he often hears leaders of other companies say they have their most productive plants in the state because of those employees.

“In January of 2012 when you chose Brookings, you made us smile,” Daugaard said. “Two years later, we are still smiling.”

Among those smiling were U.S. Sen. John Thune and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, both South Dakota Republicans.

Thune joked that with all of the Norwegians, Germans and Swedes in the state, “we are delighted to now have our first French settlement.”

On the federal level, he said, his office will continue to work on securing trade agreements and expanding export markets.

Noem complimented Francine Moudry, who oversaw the two-year construction project, calling her a “rock star” in the way she handled her duties and became the face of the company in Brookings and the state. Moudry plans to stay in Brookings with plans to lead other possible company construction efforts around the country.

Noem said she thinks the new federal farm bill gives the dairy industry a stable safety net that can benefit producers and processing companies.

Reed said it’s so nice after the recent process of attracting the company and then having the structure being built that the operation and its employees are finally a part of the community.

He said that when he first read and learned about the company, he knew it should move to his city because of its reputation for caring for the environment, its workers and its customers.

“Every time I drive by the plant, I smile, too,” Reed said.

The Mini Babybels, also manufactured at a company plant in Leitchfield, Ky., are individually wrapped in signature red wax and cellophane and come in seven varieties. The product is sold in grocery and specialty cheese stores in six-, 10- and 14-count multipacks and also is available in new single-serving units in convenience and drug stores. The company’s Laughing Cow cheese wedges also are made at Leitchfield.

The company has 28 production facilities in 25 countries and posted sales of $3.5 billion last year. It employs almost 11,000 people. The other U.S. plant is in Little Chute, Wis.

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Noem Staff to Hold Mobile Office Hours in Onida on October 16

2014/10/16

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem today announced that Rick Vallery, a staff member out of Pierre, will hold Mobile Office Hours in Onida on Thursday, October 16.  Vallery will be available that day between 1:30PM and 2:30PM at the Phoenix Community Center (110 S. Main Street, Onida) to meet with residents who need help with a federal agency or have concerns or comments they would like passed along to the Congresswoman.

If area residents are unable to meet during the Mobile Office Hours from 1:30PM to 2:30PM, please contact Rep. Noem’s Watertown office at 878-2868 or visit her website at www.noem.house.gov to schedule a separate appointment or get immediate assistance. 

- THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16 -

WHAT: Noem Staff Hold Mobile Office Hours in Onida    
WHEN: Thursday, October 16, 2014 – 1:30PM to 2:30PM (CT)
WHERE: Phoenix Community Center (110 S. Main Street, Onida)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Onida residents may meet with Rick Vallery, a staff member out of Pierre, to get help with a federal agency or pass on any concerns or comments they have for the Congresswoman.

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Legislators highlight impact of listing northern long-earned bat as endangered

2014/10/16

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) said on Tuesday that the Interior Department and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) should withdraw a proposed endangered species listing for the northern long-eared bat.

Noem and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said in letters to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Fish and Wildlife Services Director Dan Ashe that there was insufficient supporting data to list the long-eared bat as endangered, and that its listing could threaten forest health and jobs.

“The proposed listing of the long-eared bat as endangered and corresponding guidance provides a significant and unnecessary distraction from the real issues at hand,” Noem said. “While white nose syndrome is a species-threatening disease that has jeopardized northern long-eared bat populations in many states, the proposal focuses primarily on habitat – a non-factor according to many researchers. The misguided proposal not only avoids the primary cause of the problem, but also restricts active forest management, endangering more than 1,500 jobs in the Black Hills area. Any effort to preserve the species should focus on the disease.”

Thune said he was “deeply concerned” with the decision to list the long-eared bat as endangered alongside proposed forest management guidance that could harm the economy in Black Hills, S.D.

“These proposed regulations don’t address the real problem — eradicating white nose syndrome,” Thune said. “The long-eared bat’s population decline is due to the white-nose syndrome and is not related to current forest management practices. If FWS and the Interior Department are serious about protecting both the northern long-eared bat and the Black Hills National Forest — it will repeal its proposed listing, focus on addressing white-nose syndrome and continue active forest management, including timber sales.”

Black Hills Forest Resource Association Programs Manager Ben Wudtke said the restrictions are an “eminent threat” to forest product companies and sustainable forest management in the Black Hills.

“These restrictions on forest management are proposed despite acknowledgement by the FWS that timber harvest activities have not posed any threat to this species and may actually improve habitat used by the long-eared bat,” Wudtke said. “It is imperative the FWS change their interim guidance to reflect the benefits of active forest management for long-eared bat habitat in western forests.”

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SD Republicans don't want bat listed as endangered

2014/10/16

Two top South Dakota lawmakers are calling on federal authorities to withdraw a proposed listing of northern long-eared bats as endangered.

U.S. Senator John Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem sent a letter to U.S. Interior Department and Fish and Wildlife Service leaders on Tuesday saying there is insufficient supporting data to warrant the listing.

The Republican lawmakers say the proposal would restrict forest management and threaten more than 1,500 jobs in the area of Black Hills National Forest. They say regulations could harm the timber industry.

Thune and Noem say the proposed regulations wouldn't address white nose syndrome, which officials say has killed more than 5.5 million bats across the Northeast and Canada. The lawmakers say the agencies should focus on combating the syndrome rather than increasing forest regulations.

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Family Heritage Alliance holds 4th Annual STAND Banquet

2014/10/14

The Family Heritage Alliance held its 4th Annual STAND Banquet Tuesday night to share its members' values of faith, family and freedom.

The keynote speaker was former presidential candidate Senator Rick Santorum.
More than 600 people were in attendance, four of them being honored, including Sen. John Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem.
The executive director says it is a night to stand for the values they triumph across the state of South Dakota.

Executive Director Dale Bartscher says, "We are here to enthuse, excite, to inspire the men and women in the house to hold fast to our family values that are under great attack in society today. So these are champions in the house here today, and we're honored to have them here."

The event is the only fundraiser for the Family Heritage Alliance.
Their goal was to raise $200,000.

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Thune, Noem to FWS: Listing Bat as Endangered Threatens Forest Health, Jobs

2014/10/14

U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Representative Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota) today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dan Ashe calling on the FWS to withdraw its proposed listing of the northern long-eared bat (NLEB) as endangered due to insufficient supporting data to warrant the listing.

“I am deeply concerned by the FWS’s pending decision to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered while simultaneously proposing flawed forest management guidance that could significantly harm the Black Hills economy,” said Thune. “These proposed regulations don’t address the real problem—eradicating white nose syndrome. The long-eared bat’s population decline is due to the white-nose syndrome and is not related to current forest management practices. If FWS and the Interior Department are serious about protecting both the northern long-eared bat and the Black Hills National Forest—it will repeal its proposed listing, focus on addressing white-nose syndrome, and continue active forest management, including timber sales.”

“The proposed listing of the long-eared bat as endangered and corresponding guidance provides a significant and unnecessary distraction from the real issues at hand,” said Rep. Noem. “While White Nose Syndrome is a species-threatening disease that has jeopardized northern long-eared bat populations in many states, the proposal focuses primarily on habitat – a non-factor according to many researchers. The misguided proposal not only avoids the primary cause of the problem, but also restricts active forest management, endangering more than 1,500 jobs in the Black Hills area. Any effort to preserve the species should focus on the disease.”

"The restrictions proposed by the FWS are an eminent threat to forest products companies and sustainable forest management in the Black Hills, and will do nothing to address the disease that is the sole cause for concern with this species,” said Ben Wudtke, Forest Programs Manager of the Black Hills Forest Resource Association. "These restrictions on forest management are proposed despite acknowledgement by the FWS that timber harvest activities have not posed any threat to this species and may actually improve habitat used by the long-eared bat. It is imperative the FWS change their interim guidance to reflect the benefits of active forest management for long-eared bat habitat in western forests."

Listing the long-eared bat as endangered and the ensuing regulatory restrictions on forest management could effectively end active management in the Black Hills National Forest, which will cause declining forest health, increase the likelihood of large scale wildfires, and severely impact the timber industry in the Black Hills. Thune and Noem’s letter cites the more than 1,500 jobs that contribute over $119 million to local economies in the Black Hills that will be jeopardized if these regulations are put into place.

Text of Thune and Noem’s letter is below:

__

October 14, 2014

Secretary Sally Jewell
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

Director Dan Ashe
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Jewell and Director Ashe:

We are writing regarding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposal, published in the Federal Register (FR Volume 78, Issue 191, October 2, 2013), to list the northern long-eared bat (NLEB) as endangered due to the effects of white-nose syndrome (WNS). 

It is our concern that the FWS has insufficient supporting data to warrant listing the NLEB as an endangered species, particularly given the absence of WNS in so much of its range.  In addition, we believe the FWS failed to adequately gather and consider credible information available from state government entities and other non-federal sources before proposing to list the NLEB.

According to the proposed listing, WNS was recognized by the FWS as the single overriding factor in the listing decision: “WNS alone has led to dramatic and rapid population level effects on the northern long-eared bat” and “the species likely would not be imperiled were it not for this disease.”  At the same time, the Service recognizes that the distribution of WNS covers only portions of the NLEB’s range in the U.S. and abroad.  In fact, as of this past August, WNS has never been documented in 17 of the 39 states within the NLEB’s U.S. range, and the idea of WNS expanding across the entirety of the NLEB range is only speculation. 

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture joined the FWS in identifying WNS as the primary threat to the NLEB, stating in its comments on the listing that “research indicates that northern long-eared bat population reductions appear to be disease driven rather than habitat loss driven.”  However, the majority of the restrictive conservation measures recommended in the Interim Conference and Planning Guidance (ICPG) apply not to disease but to habitat-related activities, including forest management.  These recommendations are especially troubling since the FWS findings show that forest management does not have a significant negative impact on the species. 

Although appropriate measures should be taken to stem the spread of WNS, the proposed restrictions on forest management in the ICPG are overly burdensome and may actually lead to deterioration of NLEB habitat.  The South Dakota Department of Agriculture shares our concerns and explains in its comments: “We are concerned that the ICPG is overly restrictive … The measures would severely limit our ability to manage forests for insect and disease outbreaks, fuel reduction, and habitat for other species.”  Extensive buffers and seasonal and other management restrictions identified in the ICPG will have significant negative impacts on forest management activities throughout the Black Hills region.

Contrary to what the ICPG recommendations imply, forest management activities can significantly improve NLEB habitat, which was also highlighted in the proposed listing (FR Volume 78, Issue 191, October 2, 2013). Additionally, accumulation of fuel load in the absence of adequate forest management will result in wildfires burning much hotter, potentially destroying larger areas of suitable NLEB foraging and summer roosting habitat. 

If the FWS determines that the NLEB is an endangered species, we request that any listing focus on addressing WNS and not forest management activities that are unrelated to the spread of WNS. Prior to any listing decision, the ICPG should be revised to recognize the many benefits of responsible forest management throughout the western range of the NLEB, and the overly burdensome restrictions on forest management activities should be removed. 

More than 1,500 jobs, which contribute more than $119 million to local economies in the Black Hills region, are at stake.  If the restrictions outlined in the ICPG are adopted, those communities would suffer devastating losses with no real benefit to the NLEB.  The most constructive step the FWS could take to benefit the NLEB would be to focus on addressing WNS, which is the primary threat to the species.

Sincerely,

Cc: Tom Tidwell, Chief, U.S. Forest Service

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Weekly Column: Think Pink

2014/10/10

We dread the idea of hearing  the word “cancer.”  How could we not?  It indicates a battle, a life-threatening illness, an uncertainty about the future.  It is difficult to watch a loved one go through it; I can’t imagine what it would be like to take on that battle myself.

Most families in South Dakota have been impacted in one way or another by cancer.  This month, we turn our attention specifically to breast cancer, which more than 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with each year.  Except for skin cancers, this is the most common cancer among American women, although it’s important to note that men can be diagnosed with it as well.  In 2013, there were 600 reported cases of breast cancer and more than 100 breast cancer-related deaths in South Dakota.

Through the increased awareness each October and the dedication of advocacy groups and medical researchers, we are gaining more and more information about how this disease works.  This information gives us better tools to detect breast cancer early and moves us closer to finding a cure.

Breast cancer knows no boundaries.  It is not constrained by age, gender, or geographic location.  Nonetheless, there are factors that put you at greater risk.  Being a woman and getting older are the most common risk factors.  A woman’s risk of breast cancer also increases if she has a mother, sister or daughter who has been diagnosed with it.  On the other side of the coin, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy, and limiting alcohol intake can help lower your risk.

Other than changing your lifestyle, the most important thing you can do is detect it early.  The National Breast Cancer foundation has created one tool to help you make an early detection plan.  Just visit www.earlydetectionplan.org.  98 percent of people who detect breast cancer early survive past the critical five-year milestone.

Today, there are more than 3 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.  South Dakotan Debbie Reeves is one of these survivors.  Despite the challenges, Debbie has seemed to stay incredibly positive.  Earlier this year, she told news outlets, “Cancer is no fun, but you learn from it…. There were so many gifts that came out of breast cancer.  My children’s faith grew and my husband and I are just great.  And although I would never, ever want to do it again, I would do it again in a heartbeat to get gifts like that.”

For many survivors, the battle does not end after a clean scan.  The physical, emotional, and even spiritual healing may continue for years to come.  If you are a survivor, there are resources for you throughout South Dakota.  Sanford Health has a Cancer Survivorship Program, which includes Embracing Life retreats for survivors of breast cancer.  Avera has programs as well, including their “A Time to Heal” series. 

This month, please join me in thinking pink.  Use this as motivation to put together an early detection plan.  Urge your friends and family to do the same.  Learn more about breast cancer and how it could be impacting your mom, your neighbor, or you through resources like www.beyondtheshock.com.  Find out how you can be a support system for those impacted. Get involved in one of the many breast cancer awareness activities throughout South Dakota this month.  Together, we can beat this.

I’ll close this column with this message for women facing the battle.  It is a line from a tribute written by Olivia Newton-John, herself a survivor of breast cancer:  “Fight each round.  Take it on the chin.  And never, never, never ever give in.”

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SD Representative Kristi Noem stops in Siouxland

2014/10/09

South Dakota's lone Congresswoman made a stop in Siouxland Thursday to talk with some of the state's future voters.

Representative Kristi Noem stopped at Dakota Valley High School to talk with students about her career in politics.

She also answered the student's questions about hot button issues, like the terrorist group ISIS and the ebola outbreak that's found its way into the United States.

Noem is currently campaigning, and says stops like this are one of her favorite parts of the campaign trail.

"I want them to be involved in their government. I want them to be able to be interested in how these policies are made in Washington, D.C. and at the state level impact them and their families every single day. I think when they get the chance to have this kind of dialogue, it becomes real to them," Noem said.

Noem is running against Karina Robinson for South Dakota's only seat in the House.

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Noem in North Sioux City October 9

2014/10/09

Rep. Kristi Noem will be in North Sioux City on Thursday, October 9, to speak to the junior and senior government classes at Dakota Valley High School.  If you plan to cover the event, please contact Brittany Comins at brittany.comins@mail.house.gov.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

WHAT:  Noem to Speak at Dakota Valley High School
WHEN:  Thursday, October 9 – 10:45AM (CT)
WHERE:  Dakota Valley High School, Auditorium (1150 Northshore Drive, North Sioux City)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Rep. Noem will be speaking to junior and senior government students about the legislative process and her role in Congress.

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Noem in Sioux Falls October 7

2014/10/07

Rep. Kristi Noem will be in Sioux Falls on Tuesday, October 7, to speak with the Sertoma Club and welcome home the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 1742nd Transportation Company.  If you plan to cover either event, please contact Brittany Comins at brittany.comins@mail.house.gov.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

WHAT:  Noem to Speak at Sertoma Club
WHEN:  Tuesday, October 7 – 11:30AM (CT)
WHERE:  CJ Callaway’s (500 E. 69th Street, Sioux Falls)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Rep. Noem will be speaking with the Sertoma Club about her recent work in Congress, including federal support for the Lewis & Clark Water System and the EPA’s navigable waters proposal.

WHAT:  Noem to Speak at Welcome Home Ceremony for the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 1742nd Transportation Company
WHEN:  Tuesday, October 7 – 2:30PM (CT)
WHERE:  Sanford Pentagon (2210 W. Pentagon Place, Sioux Falls)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Rep. Noem will be welcoming home the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 1742nd Transportation Company, based out of Sioux Falls and Flandreau.  The unit is returning from a tour in Afghanistan.

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National Guard troops welcomed back as rock stars

2014/10/07

For the rest of her life, Maddie Foss might never get a more memorable surprise than she will experience today.

During her English class at North Dakota State University, she will be told she has a special guest. In will walk her sister, Mackenzie. That would be Spc. Mackenzie Foss, of the 1742nd Transportation Company of the South Dakota Army National Guard, back from deployment to Afghanistan.

The 1742nd was officially welcomed home Tuesday in a ceremony at a crowded Heritage Court at the Sanford Sports Complex Pentagon. Mackenzie Foss, though, has managed to preserve a fiction that the homecoming has yet to take place.

"I have it all set up," she said.

On her first full day back in South Dakota, journeying from Brookings to Fargo to surprise her sister might be one of the more ambitious ways to mark the conclusion of the 1742nd's 10 months of active service. But all the soldiers have means to convince themselves they are truly home.

For Kyle Groenwold, also of Brookings, "It won't seem real until I'm in my recliner." But with 6-year-old daughter Kyleigh slung on his hip and wearing his cap at the conclusion of the welcome home ceremony, he already was certain he wasn't back in Afghanistan.

A welcome home ceremony was held Tuesday for 162 soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard's 1742nd Transportation Company. The event for Sioux Falls and Flandreau soldiers was held following their nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Sheila Diercks, a first-grade teacher at St. Michael's School, will be accompanied to class today by her husband, David. They were married only a couple of weeks before he left for Afghanistan.

"It was tough, but we got through it," she said.

Now, "my students are excited to meet him."

All the soldiers returned safely, which ensured a celebratory air to the ceremony at the Pentagon.

Swinging into the Heritage Court two-by-two with loose, confident strides while Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town" and cheers from the audience reverberated through the building, the members of the 1742nd looked like they had just won a championship.

"What a great way to welcome home the soldiers of the 1742nd," Gov. Dennis Daugaard said. As the music echoed, "I almost thought to myself 'They're rock stars.' That's the way it should be. Well, the 1742nd is better than rock stars," the governor said.

The company members marched down the center aisle of chairs filling the court. Some joined family members there while the rest peeled off left and right to climb into grandstands also crowded with family members that, impossibly, managed to absorb them.

Daugaard, Rep. Kristi Noem, Flandreau city council member Dan Sutton and National Guard Adjutant General Timothy Reisch all took an opportunity to salute the unit for successfully accomplishing its mission. In large measure, this involved dismantling forward military bases as part of the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan.

"You figured out how to get that last load out with drivers who spoke a different language and who were from a different culture," the 1742nd's commanding officer Capt. Tyler Gerlach said of his soldiers.

Noem said the unit's safe return "is true testimony to the fact God answers prayers." She told the soldiers, "You make us proud to be from the state you come from."

Reisch noted the sacrifices made by family members while the 1742nd was deployed. He said the unit's safe return was "a huge burden lifted from families." He also urged the soldiers to carefully manage their return to their families and civilian life.

"Don't automatically think things are going to snap back to the way they were before you left," he cautioned.

"You may have a new new car or a new house," he continued as chuckles rolled through the audience. "Relax, take it all in."

Daugaard pointed out seven babies had been born to the wives of soldiers while the 1742nd was deployed. "That's better than a new house or a new car," he said to a resounding cheer.

The governor also cited the National Guard's service in South Dakota during natural disasters.

"You are a rescue army that comes into town at the times people need the moral reassurance and inspiration you provide."

Gerlach picked up of Reisch's theme of managing the transition back to civilian life.

"It's going to take sometime longer for some of you. For some, it will click this afternoon," he said. "Be patient with each other."

Gerlach added that 10 months ago in a ceremony marking the company's departure from South Dakota, he stood in a receiving line and was told repeatedly, "Bring them home."

"I will not tell you I accomplished this. We accomplished it," he said of the almost 150 soldiers who did all the right things to keep themselves safe.

For Foss, 20, spending almost a year away from home in a war zone sharpened her regard for the life she enjoys in South Dakota.

"You understand and appreciate little things," she said. "Green grass. Not having sand build up in your room. Being able to hug your mom when you want to."

When the buses carrying the soldiers arrived in Sioux Falls, Sheila Diercks said she anxiously watched for the husband she has spent precious little time with. "He was one of the last ones off the first bus," she said.

There is some debate whether she saw him first or he saw her first. But as they stood together amid the milling soldiers and family members on the floor of the Pentagon at the conclusion of the welcome home ceremony, she looked up at him and grinned.

"We'll fight about that another time," she said.

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Welcome home ceremony scheduled for 1742nd Soldiers

2014/10/03

A welcome home ceremony for 162 Soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard's 1742nd Transportation Company is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 2:30 p.m. (CT) at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. 

The Sioux Falls and Flandreau-based 1742nd is returning from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The public is encouraged to attend. 

Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Congresswoman Kristi Noem, Flandreau Mayor Mark Bonrud and Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the SDNG, are planned speakers for the ceremony.

The 1742nd's mission in Afghanistan was to provide medium transportation support and convoy security. They also provided retrograde support and augmented various supply and service functions. 

The unit returned to the United States on Sept. 27 and has been completing demobilization requirements at Fort Hood, Texas, before returning to South Dakota. Read More

Washington, Take Note of South Dakota

2014/10/03

This last week was another incredible reminder of all that South Dakota is doing right to create a healthy, growing economy.  Nationally, our economy continues to struggle.  The unemployment rate remains around six percent, millions have left the workforce, and those who haven’t left are finding it tough to get a job.  Despite all national indications, South Dakota is thriving.

Early in the week, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that South Dakota saw the fifth highest growth in personal income during the second quarter of 2014.  This 2.3 percent growth shows in very real numbers that the state’s healthy economy is directly impacting our families.  Notably, the growth wasn’t limited to just one sector.  We saw increases for farmers, manufacturers, retailers and those in the construction industry.

On Thursday, I had the chance to sit down with a dozen or so retailers.  These are the people from whom we buy our groceries, our farm supplies, our televisions, washers and dryers.  They operate the restaurants in our hometown and the gift shops when we’re on vacation.  They employ about 127,000 people across the state and are directly or indirectly responsible for about 17 percent of South Dakota’s GDP. 

Every retailer or small business starts with an idea.  What I’ve come to know – and what the folks I sat down with last week explained – is that South Dakota has created an environment where ideas are actively fostered. Our state tax policy makes it cheaper to run a business. The workforce is one of the most dedicated and talented in the country.  We put our heart into everything we produce.  And we are surrounded by communities that generously support each other during the good times and pull together like a family would during the hard times.

It’s probably no wonder then that I joined Governor Daugaard on Friday to welcome a new manufacturer to Brookings.  In addition to 3M and Daktronics, Brookings is now home to a new Babybel cheese manufacturing facility.  It was an honor to welcome them to our state.

I’ve worked hard to replicate South Dakota policies on the federal level because they’ve proven time and again to work.  I’ve focused on increasing support for job training, leveling the playing field for businesses of all shapes and sizes, and reducing the burden of taxes and regulations on all of us.  At times, we’ve been successful.  The EPA’s talks of further regulating dust and farm chores have been thwarted.  Job training programs were put in place for veterans.  We’ve started to cut down on government spending by, among other things, enacting the strictest deficit control provisions since President Reagan.

There’s still a lot more to be done.  But I won’t stop fighting for hardworking taxpayers until you get a government that you deserve – a government that does more with less, is accountable to taxpayers, and doesn’t put regulations or taxes or poorly thought out policies between you and your American dream. 

South Dakota’s doing it right.  Washington ought to take note.

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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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