Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem


House Passes Noem's Women, Peace, and Security Act, Sends Bill to President Trump


Rep. Kristi Noem’s Women, Peace and Security Act is headed to President Trump for his signature after unanimous passage in the U.S. House of Representatives today. The 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 greater accountability to Congress.

“When America’s security depends on the success of peace negotiations, we must make sure every proven conflict prevention tactic is on the table,” said Noem. “We know women can be influential forces in producing lasting peace, yet we’re often underrepresented when it comes to conflict prevention and resolution. With this legislation, we can better ensure women are able to use their influence to produce more sustainable outcomes during future conflict resolution and peace negotiation processes. I strongly encourage President Trump to sign this legislation quickly.”

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.

Noem first introduced the Women, Peace, and Security Act in May 2016. While it was passed by the House, the Senate didn’t act on the legislation before the end of the last Congress.

As a result, Noem reintroduced the legislation in May 2017 and worked with Senate sponsors to push the legislation toward passage. With approval from both the House and Senate, the bill now heads to the president for his signature.

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Weekly Column: Ellsworth's Place in Our Military's Strategic Framework


When America needs a workhorse, when we need to flex our muscles and show our strength, when we need to respond to terrorists in the Middle East or deter a tyrannical North Korean dictator, America turns to Ellsworth Air Force Base. Read More

SD congressional delegation continues to fight for DC Booth


South Dakota’s congressional delegation has requested vacant employee positions at the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives be filled.

A letter sent Monday to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service outlined the importance of the hatchery as well as the staffing decline since officials at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began discussing the closure of the hatchery in June 2013.

“The D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery is critically important to the Spearfish community, its economy, and its residents, as more than 160,000 people visit the Hatchery each year,” the delegation of Sens. John Thune, and Mike Rounds, and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, wrote. “The Hatchery has provided jobs and volunteer opportunities in the community, and it exemplifies a successful federal public lands partnership.”

They asked that at least two full-time positions be filled at the federal-managed hatchery.

In 2013 the historic hatchery employed seven full-time employees. That number dropped to one person, the hatchery’s supervisor, Carlos Martinez, in 2014. It remained such until 2016 when Mitch Adams returned as the facilities operations specialist — he previously served as the park ranger at the hatchery; and April Gregory, former Booth Society executive director, was hired to fill the vacant museum curator position this January.

Three vacant positions remain, said Karen Holzer, executive director of the Booth Society, the nonprofit friends support group of the hatchery. Those positions include an administrative officer, park ranger, and an archivist historian.

The delegation says that re-filling two full-time employee positions is necessary to “operate and maintain the facility and safeguard its visitors.”

“The Booth Society has been advocating the filling of the vacant positions at the D.C Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives over the past several years,” Holzer said. “We have been in contact with the South Dakota delegations including Senator Thune, Senator Rounds, and Representative Noem and their offices in regard to the vacancies at the Hatchery.”

She added that members from Thune’s and Noem’s staff visited the hatchery in recent months to learn more about the facility.

“The D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives has been understaffed since the closure threat in 2013,” Holzer added. “… The additional staff will enable the Hatchery to move forward on projects and programs that have been set aside in recent years.”

According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Fish and Wildlife Service began discussions in June 2013 on whether to close the hatchery and others throughout the country.

The closure date was slated for October 2013.

A letter writing campaign and petition drive resulted in more than 47,000 signatures and more than 6,000 letters sent to service officials.

Wildlife service officials repeatedly denied that D.C. Booth or other hatcheries were being eyed for closure, but later admitted that they asked their regional offices for recommendations on hatcheries to close in a cost-saving measure. The regional offices compiled lists with hatcheries based on the federal funding received versus the fish it produces.

In an email to the Black Hills Pioneer seeking further comments, Thune’s office noted that “The Hatchery Review (closure threat) no longer appears to be moving forward. Sen. Thune is hopeful that the closure situation has passed and that U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees are supportive of D.C. Booth. However, adequate staffing is essential to the facility’s operation and to ensure that it is safe for the 160,000 annual visitors. Sen. Thune will continue to oppose any efforts to close D.C. Booth or relocate the archives and will be pressuring USFWS to keep it adequately staffed.”

Additionally, Thune’s office noted that although it is too early to tell what the current administration’s stance is on the National Fish Hatchery System as a whole, his staff will continue working with them and highlighting the benefits of D.C. Booth. The administration does appear to be supportive of recreational fishing.

“The first step was to stop any closure from moving forward, and I was pleased the report language I had included in legislation last year was taken to heart by the Department,” Noem told the Pioneer. “Next is addressing the staffing issues, which we directed the Department to do again in this year’s House-passed legislation. These conversations are ongoing, but we’re optimistic. This administration understands the needs of investing in economic opportunities, and especially given tourism’s importance West River, there’s a good argument to be made here. We’ll continue to drive this message home with Secretary Zinke and the administration.”

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Weekly Column: Real, Genuine Accountability


Trust in government is at an all-time low – and who could blame folks? Fraud, mismanagement, and abuse are rampant within government agencies. Taxpayer dollars are too often misspent by bureaucrats. And many people aren’t given basic courtesies when they interact with some federal employees. We need accountability in government – and I mean real, genuine accountability.

A few weeks ago, after speaking to the Watertown Rotary, a local radio commentator summarized my remarks like this: “If you don’t like the IRS, it probably doesn’t compare to Rep. Kristi Noem’s disgust with the agency.” It’s true – and the agency’s lack of accountability has a lot to do with that disgust. This should be a “service first” agency, but customer service at the IRS is appalling. During 2015, only 38 percent of callers could reach an IRS representative. Meanwhile, they targeted conservative groups and wasted millions of dollars on conferences and “Star Trek” parody videos.

Through the House, we’ve passed legislation to prevent the IRS from targeting taxpayers for political gain. We’ve passed a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. And we’ve passed legislation I wrote to stop the IRS from rehiring employees who have already been fired for misconduct. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats and President Obama blocked much of this agenda from moving forward.

Thankfully, we turned a new leaf with President Trump’s election. Alongside the previously mentioned reforms, one of the best ways to hold the IRS accountable is by drastically reducing its role. By simplifying the tax code, we’re hopeful most Americans’ tax returns could fit on a postcard once tax reform goes through. That leaves little room for the IRS to take advantage of hardworking South Dakotans.

But I have a problem with federal agencies beyond the IRS too. Today, a wanted felon can evade prosecution for months – even years – and yet somehow still receive a check from the Social Security Administration every 30 days or so. Let’s be clear: taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to make payments to people who are running from the law. Period.

I’ve introduced legislation to stop these payments, which is making quick progress in the House. This is not simply a fairness issue either. Staci Ackerman, the Executive Director for the South Dakota Sheriffs’ Association points out: “This bill will also limit [wanted felons and parole violators’] ability to avoid justice using taxpayer dollars to evade capture.” On top of it all, the legislation is estimated to save more than $2 billion.

I’ve also introduced legislation to bring greater integrity to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which is the country’s primary assistance program for low-income individuals and families. Today’s program often perpetuates poverty, rather than opportunity. With my legislation, we realign TANF with its core mission: offering upward mobility and the opportunity for greater financial independence to hardworking Americans.

Additionally, I’m fighting to make sure the Indian Health Service (IHS) is held responsible for the care it delivers. Whether it’s a drug testing program for employees or strengthening fiscal accountability measures, greater accountability will better keep the IHS focused on serving tribal communities.

I’ve also voted to expand whistleblower protections within the VA and streamline the process required to fire any VA employee, reforms President Trump signed into law. All of this only scratches the surface of what’s being done, which highlights just how broken the federal government is.

As we continue to work toward fixing agencies across the board, I encourage you to reach out to my office if you need assistance with the IRS, VA, Social Security, or any other federal bureaucracy. We can help you navigate the process and, when necessary, hold them directly accountable on your behalf.

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Thune, Noem Invite South Dakotans to Apply to U.S. Service Academies


U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today invited South Dakota students interested in being nominated to one of the four U.S. service academies for the class of 2019 to apply by October 31, 2017.

South Dakotans between the ages of 17 and 23 may apply to any of the four service academies if they meet eligibility requirements in leadership, physical aptitude, scholarship, and character. The four service academies are the Military Academy at West Point, New York; the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York.

“The men and women who attend our nation’s military academies are some of the very best our country has to offer,” said Thune. “Their leadership and commitment protect our nation and keep our freedoms secure. It is an honor to nominate South Dakotan each year to our nation’s service academies.”

“Year after year, I’m amazed by the integrity, grit, and determination of the South Dakota students who apply to our nation’s service academies,” said Noem. “I’m honored to be able to nominate some of these incredible young people to serve and I look forward to seeing all they will accomplish.”

Thune and Noem will each compile separate lists and make nominations to the academies of the most qualified candidates by January 31, 2018. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications to both congressional offices in order to better their chances of receiving a nomination. The academies will make the final decision on acceptance and announce appointments next spring.

Interested applicants should contact Thune’s office at (605) 334-9596 or Noem’s office at (605) 275-2868. 

More information.

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Noem Bill to Keep Fugitives Off Social Security Receives Committee Approval


Introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem, the Control Unlawful Fugitive Felon (CUFF) Act was approved late Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee. The legislation would prohibit individuals with outstanding felony warrants or parole violations from receiving certain Social Security benefits. The bill is estimated to save more than $2 billion.

“It’s incredible to think that a wanted felon can evade prosecution for months – even years – and yet somehow still receive government-issued checks every 30 days or so,” said Noem.  “This legislation is commonsense. Taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to make payments to people who are running from the law.”

“We greatly appreciate Representative Noem’s efforts to hold wanted felons and parole violators accountable for their actions,” said Staci Ackerman, Executive Director of the South Dakota Sheriffs’ Association. “This bill will also limit their ability to avoid justice using taxpayer dollars to evade capture.”

The CUFF Act discontinues Supplemental Security Income payments for those with an outstanding warrant, parole violation warrants, and probation violation warrants. Benefits can be restored once the individual resolves any outstanding issues.

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Noem speaks at convention in Sioux Falls Noem speaks at SD Wildlife Federation Convention


The South Dakota Wildlife Federation's annual convention was held in Sioux Falls Saturday.

South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem spoke at the event to talk about conservation options in the next farm bill.

She says the convention lets producers know what kind of programs hey can utilize and how it can best be implemented on their land.

"We really have to make sure that our conservation programs give producers an option. We have to have a balance on our land, provide habitat for our pheasant population, an dour waterfowl population," Noem said.

The convention is the states oldest and only conservation organization focused on developing legislative policy that impacts outdoor sports.

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Weekly Column: A Beacon for Freedom and Opportunity


Almost one in four Americans weren’t yet born when the towers fell and the Pentagon was struck on September 11, 2001. For them, the threat of terrorism has always been present, security always enhanced, and shoes always removed at airport security checkpoints. Sometimes I forget that Booker, born less than a year after the attack, is one of these people. He learns about it in history class, but the pages of a textbook can never quite convey what it was like to live through that day.

I remember exactly where I was. Like so many other mornings, it started off as such a normal Tuesday. Get the girls up and off to school, jump in the pickup, and flip on the radio. But then the reports started coming in…

A plane strikes the World Trade Center in New York City. A second tower is hit. The Pentagon too. And then, that chilling moment when New York City’s streets fill with dust, the images of which can never be forgotten; the first tower had collapsed. Minutes later, we learn another plane crashed in Pennsylvania. The second tower falls. And America unites in grief, determination, and prayer.

Many of us might even still remember President Bush’s words just hours after: “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America… [W]e’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

Sixteen years later, radical Islamic terrorists continue to make threats on this beacon of freedom – even waging an attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. ISIL, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and others have sought to expand their physical boundaries and the reach of their violent ideology. These groups are convicted to destroy, not only towers and embassies, but our people and values. They will not succeed. “[America] will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail” – a promise made by President Bush days after the attack and safeguarded by our men and women in uniform every single day.

“The attacks of September 11 were intended to break our spirit. Instead, we have emerged stronger and more united,” New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said in December 2001.

It’s undeniable that individual Americans will always have ideological differences, but for those of us who lived through that day, the memory of September 11 binds us together. Particularly in this day and age, that’s a message the next generation could benefit from hearing.

When I talk to Booker about September 11, I want him to understand that we mark this day, not only because of the terror carried out, but because of America’s resiliency in the face of terror. We were and continue to be the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. No one – not the terrorists who piloted those planes, not those who attacked our embassy in Benghazi, not those waging war in the Middle East today – will keep that light from shining. Read More

Mereen-Johnson expands after doubling sales, workforce


Mereen-Johnson, manufacturers of heavy-duty industrial woodworking machinery, held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of its expanded manufacturing facility. The ceremony was attended by South Dakota's U.S. Representative Kristi Noem. 
"This expansion, which grows our manufacturing facility by 20 percent, will allow us to meet the increasing demand for our machines across the country and around the world," said Paul Wilmes, Mereen-Johnson CEO. "It also demonstrates our strong commitment to the City of Webster, Day County and the State of South Dakota."
Mereen-Johnson makes heavy-duty woodworking equipment and has been headquartered in Minneapolis since 1905. The company opened its "Western Division" in Webster in 1973. The Webster location has grown over the years, and in 2006 Mereen-Johnson consolidated all of its manufacturing in Webster.
Over the past five years, Mereen-Johnson has more than doubled both its sales and its workforce in Webster.
"Not only will we increase our capacity, but we will also increase our efficiencies with the additional space," said Mark Pearson, Mereen-Johnson plant manager. "This will allow us to better compete on the global stage."
"As someone who's run a family farm and small businesses, I know just how tough it is to keep a place going year after year, but Mereen-Johnson has done that in Webster for more than 40 years," said Representative Noem. "I am thrilled to see the continued investments Mereen-Johnson is making, not only in the expansion of their Webster facility, but also in their commitment to workforce development. It's exciting to see companies like this grow and create economic opportunity for South Dakotans."
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Lawmakers hold farm bill hearings and listening sessions


Lawmakers are holding farm bill listening sessions and hearings around the country ahead of the writing of the next farm bill. With the current low commodity prices, they want to know how the new legislation can help.

At Dakotafest in Mitchell, South Dakota's Congressional delegation heard what farmers need from a farm bill to help with low prices.

"The feedback we received today was very helpful," said Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. "I think folks are looking for some changes in the commodity programs so they work better for them."

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said they heard the urgency about providing an adequate safety net in the next farm program, especially with farmers reeling from the drought in South Dakota. "They're in favor of updating basis. They're in favor of doing something to change or modify the five-year Olympic average, because yields have been sort of volatile depending on where you are and what year you're in," Thune said. "Ultimately, in bad economic times like what we have right now, that safety net becomes more important than ever."

As a result, there was a great deal of talk about increasing the loan rate, which Thune thinks makes sense.

"The loan rates haven't been changed in forever. It's high time that we do it, but that again becomes a budget issue, and that's an expensive thing to do," he said.

Farmers also told lawmakers they want the crop insurance program preserved.

"Hopefully we can maintain the support that the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) supplies to the crop insurance," said Dave Poppens with the South Dakota and American Soybean Associations. "That's a valuable part of our tool box ... in a time of loss."

Plus, Thune said farmers want a strong conservation title in the next farm program.

"You heard a lot of complaints from particularly northeastern South Dakota farmers on wetlands issues and then I think also expanding CRP cap," he said.

As a member of the Senate Ag Committee, Thune has offered an option to CRP — Conservation Reserve Program — in a short-term set-aside program that would not require the budget outlays the CRP program does.

The theme was much the same at the House Agriculture Committee field hearing at Farmfest in Morgan, Minn. More than two dozen people provided testimony about an array of concerns over the rural economy.

However, House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway, R-Texas, sees more of tweak than an overhaul of the current legislation.

"Cotton has to get back into Title I," he said. "We'll have to address the dairy program, the Margin Protection Program for milk and the (Agriculture Risk Cover) County payment scheme, those are the big three."

Livestock producers also asked for a $150 million foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank. Krist Wollum, Minnesota Cattlemen's Association president, said the bank is important "so we can have access to the vaccines we need in case an outbreak were to happen in the United States. If some type of event like that were to happen in the U.S., we would be facing basically an end to our exports."

House Ag Committee ranking member and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., was surprised with testimony that crop insurance is more important than the Title I safety net or increasing reference prices.

"I think people are being realistic and realize we don't have a lot of money to do what needs to be done, and they're going to protect the most important thing and that's crop insurance," he said.

The big key is going to be finding the money for the farm bill. Conaway said the committee is facing a potential $10 billion cut based on the 2018 House budget.

"Once that's finalized — if in fact we wind up having to come up with $10 billion — then we will come up with it as all the authorizing committees will," Conaway said. "The budget committee gave me great flexibility in making that happen if that's the case. I don't really think it's going to happen, but if it does we'll make it happen."

Conaway and Peterson continue to tell farmers they're committed to getting a farm bill done by the end of the year because of the immediacy of low prices.

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Weekly Column: Back to School


Can you believe the kids are back in school? Kassidy and Kennedy are in Brookings now – Kassidy for work and Kennedy to wrap up her last year at SDSU. I can’t figure out how time flew by so fast! At least we still have Booker at home for a few more years. He started his sophomore year this fall and already has a few football games under his belt (Go Chargers!)

With one in high school, one in college, and another just getting into their career, I have a front-row ticket to the continuum of our education system. From this perspective, one thing is abundantly clear: states, individual school districts, and parents should have more control over what happens in schools than the federal government.

The Obama administration had pushed to federally regulate everything from what was taught in the classroom to what was served in the lunchroom. Whether it was a student in inner-city L.A. or Booker in Hamlin County, South Dakota, they wanted every student to learn the same thing, eat the same thing, do the same thing. I wholeheartedly disagree with that approach.

Last Congress, I helped get the Every Student Succeeds Act signed into law. At its core, the legislation stops federal micromanagement. It gives states greater flexibility to spend money in a way that benefits their students most. It empowers parents to hold schools accountable and modernizes the Impact Aid program, which many South Dakota schools rely on.  Maybe most notably, the new law ensures the federal government can’t pressure states into adopting specific academic standards, like Common Core.

Now, I’m working to do the same thing for school lunch. The Obama administration created a failing one-size-fits-all meal program that severely restricted meats, grains, sodium, and more without a good scientific basis for doing so. The sodium restrictions, for instance, were so limiting that many schools would have a difficult time serving milk or cheese because of the naturally occurring sodium in those products. Unbelievable!

I’ve introduced legislation to retain the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research and recommendations as a resource for schools, but there would be no requirement to follow the existing mandates.

I believe in the same philosophy of local control when it comes to colleges and universities too. Earlier this year, I helped the House pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act, which among other things would give states and local community leaders more flexibility in using federal education dollars. This way, states can innovate new learning experiences, better encourage apprenticeships and internships, and develop programs around the local economy’s needs. Understanding the relationship between those educating Kennedy and those hiring Kassidy is essential as we prepare all students for good-paying, in-demand South Dakota jobs.

The bottom line is that I want kids of all ages and backgrounds to be excited about their future in South Dakota. That is best accomplished by decentralizing education and giving those closest to our kids greater control.

During their first few days back, I got to speak with fourth and fifth grade students in Rapid City. These kids were so inquisitive, so eager to learn. It was clear they were surrounded by teachers and school administrators who care deeply about their success. It’s this community and involved parents that I can trust to make decisions about our kids’ education, not federal bureaucrats who are trying to put every student into a single, nationwide model.

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Noem makes stop in Watertown


With Congress set to reconvene next week for an important September, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., appeared before the Watertown Rotary Club at a Thursday luncheon at Ramkota Inn to touch on a variety of regional, national and global issues.

Before Hurricane Harvey devastated cities, particularly Houston, in its wake, Congress was already set to tackle the issues of passing a budget and raising the debt ceiling. Now, with the ongoing hurricane’s preliminary damage estimates ranging into the billions of dollars, Noem said that Congress will look at crafting a relief package.

“We’ll look at funding and I think that will be part of the discussion we have as soon as we get back to Washington, D.C.,” Noem told reporters. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody that has been impacted.” 

Noem noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is already involved and that there are already hurricane relief provisions included in existing federal programs, much like how winter storm disaster relief is including in the farm bill.

“This is another one of those situations that will drive home the importance of making sure there are programs there and they are accountable to the taxpayers while we provide that kind of relief,” Noem said.

During her speech, Noem touched on the prospect of tax reform — one of the congressional Republicans’ major priorities this year — and what that might look like. Noem has a particularly unique perspective with a seat on the Ways and Means Committee, which handles taxes and trade, among other issues.

“I’ve been working on tax reform for about a year and a half,” Noem said.

While Noem said the Republican-controlled House of Representatives wants to enact comprehensive tax reform, one package she has helped develop has a simple theme of lowering federal tax rates for everybody. That includes lowering the corporate rate down to 20 percent from 35 percent.

“Right now, we have the highest tax rate in the developed world. It is a disadvantage for companies to locate within the United States,” Noem said. “If we lower that, we will be a haven for these businesses. They will move back especially if we give them permits.”

Noem said the proposal also calls for the individual rate to be reduced from 7 percent to 3 percent.

“We’d get rid of virtually all the loopholes and the exemptions that are in the tax code today,” Noem said, although she added that some exemptions, such as the mortgage interest deduction, would still remain.

Perhaps most significantly, Noem said the proposed reform package would break up the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“There is no agency that has abused taxpayer information more than the IRS and used it to target individuals,” Noem said. “As a committee, we have called to break up that agency because of the lack of accountability.”

According to Noem, the IRS transgressions include rehiring fired employees and employees stealing office equipment.

Noem also touched on the upcoming debate to raise the debt ceiling. In order to allow the United States Treasury to continue borrowing money and pay its bills, thereby avoiding default, Congress must vote to raise the debt ceiling sometime before October.

Noem does not support unconditionally raising the ceiling.

“I would like to tie that to spending reforms. I don’t think you should raise the debt ceiling in this country unless you tie it to changing your ways in how we spend money. We’re still deficit spending,” she said.

However, when coupled with the need to also pass a budget, Noem told reporters that she would not be willing to risk a federal government shutdown.

“I don’t support a government shutdown. I think we can come together to agree on not only dealing with the debt ceiling but dealing with funding the federal government in a responsible manner while putting in reforms that control spending in the future,” Noem said. “No family in South Dakota gets to live like the federal government does. This government has been overspending for years. They can’t perpetuate that any longer. Since I’ve been in the House (in 2011), we’ve cut $1 trillion worth of spending. We have gotten results but we haven’t gotten them to where they need to be.” 

For agriculture, Noem said some congressional members will look to protect and enhance the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in the next farm bill. That includes raising the maximum number of qualifying acres throughout the nation and analyzing the formula in where CRP acres are located.

“We really felt like South Dakota got shortchanged,” Noem said, citing an instance in which the state only was awarded 101 acres out of 42,000 submitted for consideration.

Noem said the lack of CRP acres contributes to the bleak 2017 outlook in the number of pheasants per mile. As outlined in Tuesday’s Public Opinion, the Watertown area is forecasted to have only 0.81 pheasants per mile one year after it had 1.78 pheasants per mile.

“Our pheasant numbers are down because they have no habitat,” Noem said. “Farmers and ranchers make a tough decision on what to do with their land because they have to pay their bills.”

Giving a nod to some farmers and ranchers who may be reluctant to sign up for a 10-year CRP contract, Noem said that Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., has put forward a bill allowing for shorter terms in the three to five-year range. 

Turning her head briefly to the global stage, Noem said the United States should keep a watchful military eye on North Korea with its leader Kim Jong-un.

“That guy is nuts. He’s crazy. He’s an egomaniac and a narcissist. He doesn’t care about people. He cares about himself and his own power,” Noem said. “That’s not a normal individual we’re dealing with. I’m very concerned about North Korea. We have fighter jets loaded, ready and prepared all the time because of the situation we’re facing in North Korea. What we’ve seen with their ballistic missile that flew over Japan (on Tuesday) was accelerated much farther than we’ve seen over the last 20 years.” 

After speaking in Watertown, Noem traveled to Webster Thursday afternoon for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate machinery manufacturing company Mereen-Johnson’s facility expansion.

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Rep. Noem lashes the IRS


If you don't like the IRS, it probably doesn't compare to Rep. Kristi Noem's (R-S.D.) disgust with the agency. 

Noem, who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, is back in South Dakota where she was a guest of the Watertown Rotary club Thursday.

When asked about the IRS, Noem wasted no time taking the IRS to task for what she said has been years of mismanagement. She took aim at the federal agency for diverting funds away from customer service to fund other areas of the IRS, that she says were frivolous.

Noem says she gets the fact there are people who have written checks to political entities but that it’s not the job of the IRS to target people. She said it’s their job ensure taxes get paid and paid fairly.

The Congresswoman says the IRS was purposely diverting money away from customer service and that many in Congress believe the motivation was to make it look like they needed more money so their activities would continue to receive more funding from lawmakers.

She said the House Ways and Means Committee blueprint breaks up the IRS to ensure better accountability and customer service. President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint cuts IRS funding by 239 million dollars.

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Noem Accepting Applications for Spring Interns


Rep. Kristi Noem is accepting applications for spring internships in her Washington, D.C.; Sioux Falls; Rapid City; and Watertown offices.

Student interns will work with staff on various constituent service and communications projects, as well as assist with legislative research. Both South Dakota and Washington, D.C. internships provide students with first-hand knowledge of the legislative process and the countless other functions of a congressional office.

College students who would like to intern in any of Representative Noem’s offices should submit a cover letter and resume to by Friday, November 17, 2017.  For more information, contact Michael Maloof at 202-225-2801.

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Law enforcement showcases programs to combat drugs


South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem brought chairman of the House Oversight Committee Trey Gowdy to Rapid City Monday, to get a look at how area law enforcement is dealing with drug crime.

Both Noem and Gowdy toured Rapid City's 24/7 program and the Juvenile Services Center.

"It's a challenge in South Carolina for us to recruit and retain folks at our detention facilities,” said Gowdy. “So everything from the way you triage juveniles, to the way you structure your pay scale are things I’ve noticed."

Violent crimes have doubled, rape has tripled and the drug epidemic is growing in South Dakota according to Noem.

Law enforcement gave them an update on mental health and behavioral health services at the Pennington County Jail and juvenile center.

Both Noem and Gowdy said the facilities are getting good results.

"That has been extremely encouraging for me and I'm looking at ways we can perpetuate that across the state,” said Noem. “How can we make sure this type of program is successful in a smaller town and how we can get them more connected?"

Noem said that school and churches need to get involved with educating and building awareness.
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Calvary Christian students impress Noem with political prowess


For the first day of school at Calvary Christian Elementary, students showed off their political knowledge while visiting with U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem.

Noem explained to fourth and fifth grade students how the federal government functions and what it's like to represent South Dakota in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Students followed up with questions of their own, finding out what Noem does for fun in Washington, and what she thought was the most important bill that passed the House this year.

In response, Noem said she enjoys working out with her fellow members of Congress before she starts her day. And to her, the most important bill passed in the House was the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

"I think a lot of kids picture Washington D.C. and it seems so far away,” said Noem. “The fact that they can have someone come and tell them about what it is like to be in Congress, is a different perspective then they have experienced before."

The congresswoman was impressed by the students’ questions, especially when it came to global issues.

"There was a boy here named Eddie, that asked about ISIS and the war in Iraq,” said Noem. “I think that is an eye opener for everyone, that these kids even in fourth and fifth grade realize that there’s conflicts happening across the globe and that we have challenges in dealing with them."

Noem's school visit was just one of numerous stops across South Dakota this week before she heads back to Washington. Congress returns to session on Sept. 4.

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Noem speaks to Rapid City students


South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem continued her stay in the Black Hills Tuesday with a visit with some local fourth and fifth graders.

Noem was talking with students at Calvary Christian Elementary in Rapid City Tuesday morning.

They talked about topics ranging from her desire to repeal and replace Obamacare to what she does for fun while she's in Washington.

She says she appreciates the different kids of questions that she gets from children.

Rep. Noem says, "I tell them a lot about my responsibility, how my kids have handled my being in Congress, how their lives changed when I went there to work for South Dakota. And I explain our voting process a little bit. So we talk a little about government, but we also talk about what real life is and what it's like for somebody that serves in Washington and comes home. They ask a lot of really cool questions like what do you eat? Where do you sleep?"

As far as what happens next when she returns to Washington ... Noem says helping the people of the Houston area is the big priority.

She also says she doesn't see a government shutdown over the funding of a border wall.

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Reps. Noem, Gowdy learn from South Dakota law enforcement


Given the nation's ongoing opioid crisis and South Dakota's growing methamphetamine epidemic, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) spoke with several criminal justice agencies Monday to develop some insight on the challenges they face.

Noem and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) began the day in a roundtable discussion with local police departments and the Pennington County Sheriff's Office. They then toured the 24/7 program and juvenile services center in Rapid City.

Noem, who's worked on criminal justice reform this year in Washington, said the community must take a larger role in fighting crime in South Dakota — which has worsened in recent years.

"Our violent crimes have doubled in the last 10 years. Our rapes have tripled, and we do have a drug epidemic that's growing each and every month that we have to make sure that we're not only addressing that, and that law enforcement has the tools that they need, but how do we help families heal as well,” Noem said. “So, there are federal resources that we can utilize, but also, how do we build strong communities -- so that this doesn't happen for the next generation."

South Dakota’s lone representative in the U.S. House said she invited Rep. Gowdy, who chairs the house oversight committee and has a lengthy history as a prosecutor, because of his powerful voice in Washington.

"It's always difficult to find a balance between rehabilitation on the juvenile side, public safety, which is the overarching theme, and then you have the adult system where it's both to rehabilitate but also to punish,” Gowdy said. And to be able to find the right balances, I was struck with how innovative some of your programs are, the willingness to try different things."

Gowdy said he'll likely take some South Dakota ideas, like the 24/7 program, and look to implement them back in South Carolina.

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Noem, Gowdy Get First-Hand Look at SD Drug Crime


Rep. Kristi Noem, along with House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, today joined Rapid City-area law enforcement in a first-hand look at local drug crime and policing challenges. In addition to meeting with officers, Noem and Gowdy visited the 24/7 Program (an alternative to jail for those with substance abuse convictions) and the Juvenile Services Center (a detention facility for young offenders).

“Over the last decade, South Dakota has seen a significant rise in violent and drug-related crimes. The cycle needs to end,” said Noem. “South Dakota law enforcement officers have worked incredibly hard to keep communities safe in the face of rising challenges. I was grateful Trey and I could meet with them, share ideas and best practices, and discuss opportunities to better ensure South Dakota leads the nation in safety.”

“Law enforcement officers across the nation dedicate their lives to the precept which undergirds our country, our way of life, and our republic - respect for and adherence to the rule of law,” said Gowdy. “I am thankful for Kristi’s commitment to supporting law enforcement and am appreciative of today's opportunity to discuss how we, as Members of Congress, can best assist our officers and work to reduce drug-related crime in South Dakota, South Carolina, and all around the country.”

For six years as a federal prosecutor, Gowdy prosecuted the full range of federal crimes, including narcotics trafficking rings. As 7th Circuit Solicitor, Gowdy enhanced and expanded Drug Court and implemented a Drug Mother Protocol designed to assist expectant mothers break the cycle of addiction. He now serves as the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which works to ensure the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the federal government.

In 2016, Noem and Gowdy joined to help pass the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act, which broadened the scope of people subject to criminal prosecution for drug traffickers. Months later, they joined again to help pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which aimed to enhance coordination between criminal justice, substance abuse agencies, and first responders, among other things. Both bills became law in May 2016 and July 2016, respectively.

Earlier this year, Noem and Gowdy voted to pass the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act, which would allow Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants to be used for hiring and training law enforcement officers. Over the last five years, South Dakota has received $13 million in COPS grants. The legislation passed the House and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.

In addition to these efforts, Noem has cosponsored legislation to strengthen the border against illegal immigration and drug trafficking, ensure border spotters for drug traffickers can be held accountable, and close a gap in shipping rules that could be exploited by drug traffickers. She has also been in close contact with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the rising levels of drug abuse and violence in South Dakota.

Beyond drug enforcement and policing, Noem and Gowdy discussed efforts to combat human trafficking in Rapid City.

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What local law enforcement is doing to combat drug crime


South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem brought chairman of the House Oversight Committee Trey Gowdy to Rapid City Monday, to get a look at how area law enforcement is dealing with drug crime.

Both Noem and Gowdy toured Rapid City's 24/7 program and the Juvenile Services Center.

"It's a challenge in South Carolina for us to recruit and retain folks at our detention facilities,” said Gowdy. “So everything from the way you triage juveniles, to the way you structure your pay scale are things I’ve noticed."

Violent crimes have doubled, rape has tripled and the drug epidemic is growing in South Dakota according to Noem.

Law enforcement gave them an update on mental health and behavioral health services at the Pennington County Jail and juvenile center.

Both Noem and Gowdy said the facilities are getting good results.

"That has been extremely encouraging for me and I'm looking at ways we can perpetuate that across the state,” said Noem. “How can we make sure this type of program is successful in a smaller town and how we can get them more connected?

Noem said that school and churches need to get involved with educating and building awareness.

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Noem Meets with Students at Calvary Christian Elementary School (KEVN)

2017-08-31 16:07:42

Noem, Gowdy Get First-Hand Look at SD Drug Crime (KNBN)

2017-08-29 14:53:13

Noem, Gowdy Get First-Hand Look at SD Drug Crime (KEVN)

2017-08-29 14:53:06

Noem, Gowdy Get First-Hand Look at SD Drug Crime (KOTA)

2017-08-29 14:53:06

Noem Pushes for a Simpler Tax Code (KDLT)

2017-08-22 13:42:17

Noem Talks Farm Bill at Dakotafest (KELOLAND)

2017-08-17 14:51:34

Noem Focuses on Human Trafficking Awareness at Rapid City Event (KEVN)

2017-08-01 16:44:25

Noem Talks Human Trafficking in Rapid City (KOTA)

2017-08-01 16:43:56

Noem Introduces the DRY Act (KELOLAND)

2017-08-01 16:43:22

Noem Talks Drought Relief (KEVN)

2017-07-24 20:23:24

Noem Questions VanderWal on Tax Reform's Impact on SD Ag

2017-07-13 17:43:27

Noem Welcomes SD Producer to Testify on Tax Reform before Key Committee

2017-07-13 16:36:50

Noem-Backed Anti-Trafficking Bills Pass House

2017-07-12 21:34:49

Following Noem Request, USDA Opens CRP for Haying (KNBN)

2017-07-11 17:37:00

House Passes Noem Bill to Protect Families Challenged by Drug Abuse (KEVN)

2017-06-30 17:36:09

Noem Urges USDA to Act Quickly in Delivering Livestock Forage Program Relief

2017-06-23 20:19:14

Debate Begins on Noem’s IHS Reform Bill

2017-06-21 19:24:26

Noem's Women, Peace, and Security Act Passes House

2017-06-20 22:22:19

House Passes Noem's Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act

2017-06-20 22:02:26

Noem: China’s Acceptance of U.S. Beef Imports Is a Welcome Change for the Market (KNBN)

2017-06-16 16:20:34

Contact Information

1323 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2801
Fax 202-225-5823

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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