Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem


Noem pays visit to IC School, WPD


Still basking in the honor of recently being named a National Blue Ribbon School by United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Immaculate Conception School welcomed a special guest in United States Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., Thursday afternoon.

In front of a crowd of students and staff, Noem formally recognized IC School’s impressive accomplishment by presenting a challenge coin to Principal Carol Dagel.

By earning the Blue Ribbon honor, IC School was recognized for finishing in the top 15 percent of schools in the state as measured by the Smarter Balanced English language arts and mathematics standardized tests. Dagel also submitted a 25-page application capturing the school’s mission and methods in educating its students.

Out of 130,000 eligible schools, IC School was one of just 342 schools across the nation to earn the Blue Ribbon honor. In South Dakota, Frederick Area Elementary School and Robert Bennis Elementary School in Brandon also earned the Blue Ribbon.

“This is a very special award and a big deal for IC School, as well as for Frederick Area Elementary and Robert Bennis. I’m glad that these students, teachers and administrators were recognized for their hard work and we can all celebrate this together,” Noem told the Public Opinion.

In addition to recognizing IC School’s accomplishment, Noem answered students’ questions as well exchanged hugs and high fives.

Later Thursday, Noem visited the Watertown Police Department to speak with local law enforcement officers in a roundtable about the issues they are facing.

“We’ve seen crime escalate across the state as well as drug use. I want to visit with them about ways we can cooperate together,” Noem said. “In addition to federal grants being out there, I’ve been working with the United States Attorney General on maybe pilot programs we can implement here in South Dakota that would be beneficial to our officers and assist them with some of the work that they do.”

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Pheasant Season: An SD Family Tradition


We grew up hunting. Dad took us big-game hunting, but it was my Grandma Dorris who made bird hunting such a big part of our family heritage. Still today, it’s something that brings the family together. (And how grateful this mom is for that!)

As much as pheasant season is a family tradition for us, it was our family business for years as well. When things got tight after we were hit by the Death Tax, we looked to diversify. They say: “When you don’t know what to do, do what you know.” Well, that’s exactly what we did. We focused our attention on hunting and started up a hunting lodge.

It wasn’t always easy. I remember many nights where I’d come in from the field during harvest at 10 or 11 at night and still have dozens of birds to clean and package. I’d work through the early hours of the morning, turn around, and do it all again. It was hard work, but I loved it.

Small businesses like this are spread across South Dakota, and they come alive this time of year. Overall, outdoor activities support around 18,000 full- and part-time jobs in South Dakota, providing more than $500 million of income.

With such a significant impact on our economy and our family dynamics, I’ve always fought hard to protect the state’s pheasant habitats. In the 2014 Farm Bill, for instance, I made sure we included critical protections for our region’s native grasslands in the final legislative language. We’ve seen this “sodsaver” program work, and I’m now working to expand the idea nationwide.

Those efforts become especially important in years like this. A tough winter and a devastating drought took a big hit on our pheasant populations. It’s an issue I heard a lot about throughout the summer, but especially during a recent stop in Mobridge – a community in prime South Dakota hunting territory that was hit particularly hard by the dry conditions.

This year’s pheasant counts are about 65 percent below the 10-year average. That leaves about 1.68 pheasants per mile. Still, South Dakota Department of Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen says: “Pheasant harvest could – read could – still approach a million birds: That is, if hunters come and hunt.”

The lower counts won’t be deterring our family. In fact, our son Booker is probably more excited about bird hunting this year than he’s ever been. I can’t tell you how many crack-of-dawn mornings he’s had recently, heading out early to find Hamlin County’s best spots for duck hunting. With the pheasant season now open, I’m confident he’ll be keeping us well fed.

I love that Booker’s gotten so excited about this distinctly South Dakota sport. It’s like a little piece of my Grandma Dorris still lives on through his excitement for bird hunting.

To all of the hunters reading this, have a safe pheasant season. Hope to see you out there!

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Washington leading push to bring women to negotiating tables worldwide


President Trump recently signed into law legislation calling for more participation of women in international affairs. An effort spearheaded by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), it requires the administration to increase the role of women in peace treaties and conflict resolution.

“It aims to empower half the population of the world,” said Kent Davis-Packard, coordinator of Women Lead at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies.

An effort to give women a seat at the negotiating table is now law of the land. Signed by President Donald Trump, it’s called the Women, Peace and Security Act. Its mission is to ensure women play an increased role in international affairs. Davis-Packard says peace agreements are 64 percent less likely to fail when women play a key role.

“This is not about women. This is about human security. So you ask if the Women, Peace and Security Act is an important or relevant act. I think it is the hope of the world,” said Davis-Packard.

The legislation calls on the administration to submit plans to Congress for promoting the presence of women in negotiations across the world. Davis-Packard says it will require big cultural changes in some parts of the world.

“The only remedy for that is consciousness change. And how do you raise consciousness? It’s the same thing as slavery. It happens, actually, through suffering,” said Davis-Packard.

Noem says this isn’t just symbolic action. She says she is confident it will have an impact.

“We want successful peace negotiations so that we don’t continue to have these kind of conflicts all over the world,” said Noem.

She says women often run businesses, take care of families and lead communities in times of conflict. Thus, she says they should be involved in preventing conflict and negotiating peace.

“They’re collaborative and if we really want to meet the needs of those areas that are having these kind of conflicts having women at the table makes sense,” said Noem.

President Trump has a year to submit his implementation strategy to Congress.

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Noem visits Elk Point, SD


Representative Kristi Noem is touring South Dakota this week and made a stop in Siouxland. 

She met with the mayor, as well as, business and community leaders in Elk Point, South Dakota, as she is touring the state. As part of the tour she wanted to make sure she touched on workforce, new business opportunities es as well as economic development.

"A lot of these counties have a need for transportation dollars to fix up roads and bridges and I know the city of Elk Point was recently given a grant to work on some of their city infrastructure and and we will be discussing that seeing how we can streamline the process" said Representative Kristi Noem.

Representative Noem serves on the House Ways and Means Committee where she helps craft policies that impact small business owners.

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Weekly Column: Grit


Grit. It’s that unshakable courage; that resolve to succeed; that hardiness which generations of South Dakotans have represented. It’s a trait we wear as a badge of honor in this state – a trait personified most intensely by the brave South Dakotans who serve in our military.

Grit is also what defined the USS South Dakota during World War II. This ship was a leader among leaders; the war’s most decorated battleship. During the Battle of Santa Cruz Island alone, it shot down 30 enemy aircraft and operationally disabled two enemy aircraft carriers to defend American assets. It would later engage in nine shore bombardments and shoot down 34 more enemy aircraft. The battleship, which was critical to America’s victory in the Pacific, was decommissioned in January 1947, although its storied reputation lives on today.

In early 2012, I joined Senator John Thune and then-Senator Tim Johnson in formally petitioning the U.S. Navy to name the next attack submarine the USS South Dakota, recognizing the accomplishments of that World War II battleship as well as the grit and determination of South Dakota veterans. Our request was granted, and this month, I’m honored to help celebrate the new submarine’s christening.

While I was unable to make it to the official event in Connecticut, I joined the celebration in Sioux Falls days before. There, we welcomed South Dakota veterans who had carried an American flag across the state, placing it in the saddlebag of a new Harley Davidson bike, custom-painted to honor the USS South Dakota. It was a powerful moment; one that reminded everyone there of the sacrifices made to defend the stars and stripes. I was proud to stand that day, with hand over heart, in honor of patriots and the American flag.

The christening of the USS South Dakota turns the page to another chapter in our state’s historic tradition of service. With a mission involving everything from conducting anti-submarine warfare to intelligence gathering, the boat’s been built to dominate the world’s coastal and deep waters.

More specifically, the USS South Dakota can hold an arsenal of Tomahawk missiles, each capable of hitting on-shore targets up to 1,240 miles away (more than three times the distance from Rapid City to Sioux Falls). And while the submarine is 10 feet longer than a football field, nearly as tall as a 12-story building, and equivalent in weight to 65 blue whales, it will move through the water with an unprecedented degree of stealth. It’s a silent protector to say the least, sophisticated enough to maintain America’s undersea supremacy throughout the 21st Century.

As the USS South Dakota submarine prepares to officially join America’s naval fleet in 2018, I ask that you join me in praying for its crew, their safety, and the missions they’re set to complete. I hope they will find inspiration in the USS South Dakota’s legacy as well as the grit, the unshakable courage, and the resolve to succeed that is found in South Dakota’s veterans.

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Rep. Noem praises Trump's EPA regulatory rollback


The country’s top environmental regulator removes restrictions on coal. Reaction among lawmakers on Capitol Hill breaks partially along party lines and the boundaries of coal country.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt wiped away President Obama’s Clean Power Plan with a stroke of his pen Tuesday, one day after he announced the Trump administrations’ decision.

“The EPA is no longer in the business of picking winners and losers,” he said Monday.

Most notably, Pruitt reversed emissions regulations proposed by the previous administration. They never went into effect, delayed by legal challenges.

“That clean power plan would have been devastating for the families of South Dakota,” said Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD).

Noem said despite all the sources the state pulls energy from – if regulations took effect -- a spike in coal costs would hit her constituents squarely in the wallet. “It doesn’t matter who I talk to in South Dakota,” she said, “there’s not people who have a lot of extra money, and they don’t see how they could pay electricity bills that would increase by 40 percent.”

But many on the left – especially from outside coal country – criticize the choice to roll back the regulations. It’s a shift they said carries few benefits and substantial environmental costs.

“I’ve been to coal country, and really good people work there,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT).

But, Welch said rolling back the regulations will hurt the country’s ability to compete with China. He said that country is at the forefront of renewable energy development.

A member of the House Energy committee, Welch argued technological advances and cheaper, cleaner alternatives are driving coal’s disappearance, not regulation. “[Supporters are] not going to change the math on the economy by really essentially pandering to a political point of view,” he said of the rollback.

The Republicans concede other factors are contributing to coal’s decline. But, Noem argues renewable sources need far more innovation before they could replace the dependability and price of coal.

Despite controlling the White House, Senate, and Congress, Republicans are struggling to fulfill pledges to scrap key elements of Obama’s legacy. But it took little effort to knockout the Clean Power Plan -- an executive order, not law.

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Trump Signs Noem's Women, Peace and Security Act


President Donald Trump has signed the Women, Peace, and Security Act, a bill sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem in the House that aims to increase and strengthen women’s participation in peace negotiations and conflict prevention globally. 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. With President Trump’s signature, the legislation has been made law.

“We live in an extremely volatile and dangerous world, and our national security often relies on the success of ongoing peace negotiations,” said Noem. “Women have proven to be influential forces in producing lasting peace within communities, yet are often underrepresented at the negotiating table. I’m grateful to President Trump for signing this important legislation and hopeful that with these reforms, as well as the long-term thinking and accountability this legislation requires, we can produce more sustainable outcomes during future conflict resolution and peace negotiation processes.”

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 enactment. 

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Harley Davidson Donated to Honor New USS South Dakota Submarine


A U.S. Flag made a trip across South Dakota this weekend on its way to the east coast.

It will arrive in Connecticut on Saturday for the christening ceremony of the new USS South Dakota submarine.

But before it gets there, the flag made a stop in Sioux Falls Monday, where it was stored in the saddlebags of a commemorative Harley Davidson motorcycle – that will also head east to the christening.

“This is one of those things we kind of dream about,” said J&L Harley Davidson’s Jim Entenman.

The specialized 2018 Harley Davidson Street Glide was unveiled at J&L Harley Davidson.

“To be able to honor our veterans who have served us in the past with this motorcycle and the graphics that we have on it of the USS South Dakota, the battle ship, the most decorated battleship in WWII.”

As the USS South Dakota fast attack submarine is set to be unveiled October 14th, the bike will also be there to commemorate, with a design that ties together the states military past, with its future.

Menno artist Mickey Harris is responsible for the bike’s one-of-a-kind artwork.

“To have the past and the future together on one vehicle was a challenge to say the least, I had to do a lot of research,” said Harris.

The new submarine, named in honor of the previous state-named WWII battleship, will be of world class technology.

“It will not need refueling in over 30 years, it will be longer than a football field and taller than a 12 story building, and it will be the absolute best submarine in the world,” said U.S. Representative Kristi Noem. “So I think it’s just perfect that it has the name of USS South Dakota.”

While decked out in its markings, the bike will not be sailing aboard the sub.

It will stay in South Dakota, where crew members of the state’s past -and present- submarine fleet will be able to take a ride.

“Well if you take one look at that motorcycle, number one, its awesome. And it represents the relationship I think we have with the state and the submarine and Harley Davidson I mean what a marriage, right?” said U.S. Navy Commander Wiley Cress.

The bike will eventually be housed at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum.

If crew members of the submarine ever make it to South Dakota, they can take the motorcycle for a ride.

A key to the bike will also be on display aboard the submarine.

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Three South Dakota schools recognized with National Blue Ribbon Award


Three South Dakota schools are being nationally recognized for their excellence with the Blue Ribbon Award. It's an award given to just 342 schools across the nation this year. Officials with Robert Bennis Elementary said their school was chosen because they were in the top 10 percent of the state for academic excellence. Many teachers said their students are what make their jobs and the award all worth it.

“It was just so cool to think that we're a part of a staff and that my kids go to a school that has received this award,” Robert Bennis Elementary 1st grade teacher, Anne Peters said. “So it does, it feels like an honor,”

Robert Bennis Elementary in Brandon, is now a Blue Ribbon School.

“This means they had high levels of achievement in growth and education,” Representative Kristi Noem said. “I think it’s great when we can bring attention and celebrate the hard work of students. It only encourages them to push even harder in the future.”

“I think overall people were impressed by it,” Peters said. “Maybe not super shocked just because the entire Brandon Valley School District is amazing and so for one of our schools to receive this is incredible.”

It’s an award many said happened because of every single person at the school.

“I don't think it starts with me as a teacher,” Robert Bennis Elementary 4th grade teacher, Tim Sylliaasen said. “I think it starts with my administrator being willing to help and get us whatever we need to get to this place where we are right now. I think I try to add a little special humor.”

Many believe making it fun for students, helps them to grow academically.

“They’re just starting on their education path,” Noem said. “So if we can make it fun and enjoyable and recognize their achievement it makes them what to continue to work hard for the rest of their lives. So if we can help it be fun, perhaps they will want to keep pushing a lot in their education.”

“If the kids enjoy coming to school I think they are going to work the hardest for you as a teacher,” Sylliaasen said.

Students agreed, their teachers are what make it fun.

“My teacher is really funny and all teachers that I've had form the past have all helped me learn something new,” 4th grader, Madisen Csordacsics said.

Those with Robert Bennis Elementary said after being nominated, six staff members met every Monday for three hours, for eight weeks to work on the Blue Ribbon Award application. Frederick Area Elementary and Immaculate Conception in Watertown were the other two South Dakota schools to win the Blue Ribbon honor. The awards will be presented next month in Washington, D.C.
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Weekly Column: Opportunity for All


Sitting across the room from Mona Drolc, you can tell she’s ready to go – and that’s not far from the truth. She’s always on the go! Mona is the Vice President of the Ups and Downs Family Support Group, a nonprofit dedicated to those with Down syndrome as well as their friends and family in western South Dakota. She serves as the Head Coach for the Rapid City Special Olympic Young Athlete’s program. She’s an instructor with South Dakota-based STRIDER bikes, teaching kids of all abilities how to ride. And above all, she’s a dedicated mother, fighting to make sure her son, David, has every opportunity in the world to succeed.

Like one in every 700 babies born in the U.S., David has Down syndrome. David also has dreams as big as his smile. He wants to get a job, become financially independent, and maybe one day even move into a house of his own. And he’s blessed with a mom who is fighting to make sure he and so many South Dakotans like him can achieve every one of these goals.

With October marking Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Mona took a trip out to Washington, D.C., to advocate for policies that create more opportunities for David. Her message was clear: Individuals with Down syndrome deserve a more level playing field; they should have access to the same opportunities as their peers.

In 2014, I helped pass legislation, which was signed into law, to move us closer to this goal. The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act – or the ABLE Act – tore down many barriers those with Down syndrome face, such as making improvements to the way those with disabilities can save for the future.

But hurdles remain. As a member of the Task Force on Down Syndrome, I’m helping to drive forward the ABLE to Work Act, which seeks to further incentivize employment. More specifically, most ABLE Act beneficiaries face tremendous medical costs over the course of their lifetime. Even with the amplified savings potential under the 2014 legislation, a cap is in place that prevents folks from saving enough to cover their long-term medical costs – let alone allow them to save for things like a home. The ABLE to Work Act would allow those with Down syndrome and other disabilities to save more in a tax-free account, helping secure financial independence.

Fundamentally, I want to create opportunities for South Dakotans from all walks of life to thrive. That’s my guiding principle. So, when kids like David have big dreams, I’m going to fight to help them fulfill every ounce of their God-given potential. I’m hopeful the ABLE to Work Act will help them do that.

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Latest ag initiative could save taxpayers $50M


Newly proposed legislation could save taxpayers $50 million over 10 years while closing an unintended loophole to the sodsaver program.

A bipartisan initiative backed by U.S. Sen. John Thune, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and two Minnesota Democrats would expand the sodsaver initiative from the Prairie Pothole Region nationwide, a program that disincentives farmers from converting native sod to cropland.

But the legislation known as the American Prairie Conservation Act would also provide an added benefit.

"We also tighten up this loophole that got sort of taken advantage of in the 2014 bill where producers would plant alfalfa to some of these acres and basically found a way to game the program," Thune said Wednesday in an interview with The Daily Republic.

According to a joint press release issue Wednesday, the loophole "allows certain noninsured crops to be planted four consecutive years with no reduction in crop insurance assistance for succeeding insured crops." The initiative would button up the loophole, requiring four cumulative years of crop insurance reductions before insurable crops planted on native sod are no longer subject to sodsaver provisions.

The sodsaver provisions have been in place in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana and Nebraska, but would be implemented throughout the country if approved. And other than the loophole, it's worked well in Thune's home state.

"The way the average person is affected is it saves taxpayer money, it eliminates and unintended crop insurance incentive to break up some of this native sod in the first place, and it also at the same time has the advantage of protecting America's diminishing prairie grasslands," said Thune, "which are so important to our livestock producers in South Dakota, and also our wildlife producers as well."

Noem, who introduced the House version of the initiative, looked at the act from the perspective of an "avid hunter and a lifelong farmer."

"With the Protect Our Prairies language included, the 2014 farm bill has helped strike a healthier balance between production and conservation in the Prairie Pothole Region," Noem said in the press release. "With proven results and the prospect of additional savings for taxpayers, now is the time to expand the program nationwide."

South Dakota's other congressional delegate, U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, is a co-sponsor of the act.

Under the act, crop insurance would reflect production capabilities on native sod, which Thune said can't generate yields quite like existing cropland can. And he sees the bipartisan legislation as the type of good governance that should receive further bipartisan backing.

"You know, there's always a little bit of resistance at times when you talk about some of these reforms, but I think by and large this is something that hopefully the commodity groups and everybody will embrace," Thune said. "Because in the long run, I think it's just good policy. And if you've got native ground that has never been cropped, it probably shouldn't be cropped by now."
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With policy and president's ear in mind, Kristi Noem seeks alliance with Ivanka Trump


Over conversations about tax reform and paid family leave, Rep. Kristi Noem is seeking common ground with one of President Donald Trump's top advisers, his daughter Ivanka.

While the two haven't spoken outside formal meetings, Noem said she's hopeful their shared policy goals and experience as mothers and policymakers will help them build a working relationship.

"I would say that we're getting closer," Noem said. "We haven't spent any time outside of the meetings just chatting or having coffee or anything, but that may be possible because she wants to work on the issues that I feel passionately about and she feels passionate about too."

The former South Dakota rancher and business owner and the New York-born model and business executive don't have much in common, but Noem said she's hopeful they can develop a relationship that will help them pass legislation.

"We certainly have led very very different lives, but I think that's kind of thing we're missing now in this country is the ability to find common ground and relate to people," Noem said. 

Befriending Ivanka Trump could be a key step in gaining the president's ear, Noem said. The president historically has valued his daughter's perspective in key policy conversations and often brings her to meetings and public appearances.

"When you're talking to her, I think there's a chance that that will end up in a conversation that she'll have with the president and people in the White House as well," Noem said.

South Dakota's lone House representative said she has invited the president and Ivanka Trump to the Mount Rushmore state but hasn't yet had someone take her up on the offer.

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Noem, Hartzler, Bordallo Introduce Housing for Survivors of Sex Trafficking Act


Congresswomen Kristi Noem, Vicky Hartzler, and Madeleine Bordallo today introduced H.R.3942, the Housing for Survivors of Sex Trafficking Act.  This bipartisan legislation would better support transitional housing programs for sex trafficking survivors.

“A home is so often where recovery begins, and yet, transitional housing for sex trafficking survivors is scarce,” said Noem. “In many cases, sex trafficking survivors require stronger security protocols and different support services than other victims of violence. To better respond to these unique needs, I’m proud to join Congresswomen Hartzler and Bordallo on this bipartisan bill. We’re hopeful it will extend transitional housing, healing, and hope to many more trafficking survivors.”

H.R.3942 would open the Department of Justice’s Transitional Housing Assistance Grant to those looking to provide support to sex trafficking victims. This funding is open to state and local governments as well as nonprofit organizations, including domestic violence and sexual assault victim service providers and coalitions.

The legislation is a continuation of efforts by Noem to address human trafficking in South Dakota and around the country. Earlier this year, the House passed the Noem-backed H.R.2200, Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Act. This legislation reauthorizes resources that are used to prevent human trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute traffickers.

Additionally, the House passed H.R.2480, Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act, which Rep. Noem cosponsored as well. This legislation would expand eligibility for Department of Justice grants to allow law enforcement agencies to qualify for federal funding for the development and execution of programs that fight sex trafficking. Both bills remain up for consideration by the Senate.

Noem is also a cosponsor of the bipartisan H.R.1865, Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. This legislation would lift barriers for the federal government, states, and victims to go after websites, like, that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking.

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Thune and Noem Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Effort to Expand Sodsaver Initiative


U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and U.S. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), a member of the House Agriculture Committee, today introduced companion versions of the bipartisan American Prairie Conservation Act (S. 1913 and H.R. 3939). This new sodsaver legislation, which, according the Congressional Budget Office, would save more than $50 million over ten years, would disincentivize the conversion of native sod to cropland by closing a crop insurance yield substitution loophole in all 50 states. Thune first authored sodsaver initiatives in the 2008 and 2014 farm bills for nationwide implementation.

Sodsaver, which has only been implemented in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana, and Nebraska, is a cost-saving initiative that disincentivizes, but does not prevent, farmers from converting native sod to cropland. Farmers who choose to break up native sod and convert it to cropland face a reduction in crop insurance premium subsidy assistance and a reduction in guaranteed yields of insured crops.

“By closing loopholes and applying these more effective sodsaver provisions nationwide, we can save taxpayers money, eliminate an unintended crop insurance incentive to break native sod, and protect America’s diminishing prairie grasslands that are so important to our grazing livestock producers,” said Thune. “Not only is this an example of a good-government solution, but the savings achieved by our bill could be used elsewhere in an already cash-strapped farm bill.”

“The sodsaver provision we implemented in six Midwestern states as part of the 2014 Farm Bill has successfully reduced the conversion of native sod, saved taxpayer dollars, and encouraged wildlife habitat,” said Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan legislation would extend this small, commonsense change to the crop insurance program and boost conservation efforts and savings nationwide.”

“As an avid hunter and a lifelong farmer, I truly appreciate that in South Dakota our hunting tradition is just as strong as our commitment to agriculture,” said Noem. “With the Protect Our Prairies language included, the 2014 Farm Bill has helped strike a healthier balance between production and conservation in the Prairie Pothole Region. With proven results and the prospect of additional savings for taxpayers, now is the time to expand the program nationwide.”

“I am proud to re-introduce this legislation that will conserve critical wildlife habitat while allowing farmers to manage their lands as they see fit,” said Walz. “By working together and promoting common sense conservation practices we can protect critical wildlife habitat, support our farmers, and support the hunting and fishing industry that is an integral part of our state’s economy.”

The American Prairie Conservation Act would:

  • Apply sodsaver’s prohibition to substitute crop insurance yields on native sod that is converted to cropland nationwide;
  • By requiring crop insurance premium subsidies and yield guarantees be reduced for a total of four cumulative years for any crop, close an existing loophole that allows certain noninsured crops to be planted four consecutive years with no reduction in crop insurance assistance for succeeding insured crops;
  • Make crop insurance assistance more reflective of production capabilities on all native sod that is converted to cropland nationwide;
  • Require producers who convert native sod to cropland to certify to the Farm Service Agency the number and location of acres of native sod that are converted in an existing automated crop certification system so the converted acres would be accurately tracked;
  • Apply to both crop insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

A loophole in existing sodsaver statute allows producers to plant non-insurable crops on newly converted native sod for four successive years. After the four successive-year window, producers could then plant insurable crops, such as corn, wheat, and soybeans, without any reduction in crop insurance assistance. The American Prairie Conservation Act requires four cumulative years of crop insurance assistance reductions before insurable crops planted on native sod that are converted to cropland are no longer subject to sodsaver provisions.

U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) are cosponsors of the American Prairie Conservation Act.

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Noem Supports Life, Helps House Pass Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act


Rep. Kristi Noem today joined the U.S. House of Representatives in passing H.R.36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Cosponsored by Noem, the legislation bans abortion after 20 weeks – the point at which studies have shown an unborn baby can feel pain.

“A strong and growing body of medical research provides evidence that at 20 weeks, unborn babies can feel pain – and still, our federal laws allow for these babies to endure the pain of a life-ending abortion,” said Noem. “Every life – including an unborn baby’s life – has dignity and value, so while I believe we have a long way to go to protect the smallest among us, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a step in the right direction that I’m proud to support.”

Noem believes this legislation is a step in the process of protecting all unborn lives. She is also a cosponsor of H.R.490, the Heartbeat Protection Act, which would protect babies once a heartbeat is detected, and H.R.681, the Life at Conception Act, which she helped introduce and would define life as beginning at conception. Read More

Noem bill would guarantee women a seat at table in peace talks


Women would be guaranteed a seat at the table when the United States negotiates peace agreements under a bill awaiting the president's signature.

The bipartisan legislation titled the Women, Peace and Security Act would require the Trump administration to set up a plan within one year that ensures that women's participation in peace negotiations and conflict prevention is a permanent element of U.S. foreign policy.

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., and Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.VA., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, brought forth the proposal, which passed last week in the House and in August passed in the Senate.

Peace agreements where women were involved in their creation are 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years, according to a study by the International Peace Institute.

Despite that, women made up just 4 percent of peace agreement signatories and 9 percent of peace negotiators between 1992 and 2011, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

"I was surprised to see that we didn’t make it a priority in the United States to have women at that table, asking questions and because of the dramatic change and success of peace agreements where women are involved," Noem said. "I felt we needed legislation that encouraged Department of Defense to make sure that always happened."

Lisa Hagen, an assistant professor of political science at South Dakota State University, said having women involved in negotiations or policymaking often yields a better result as women focus on collaboration rather than taking credit for successes.

"In general, it's this idea that women, not just in peace agreements but in all sorts of policy conversations, are more focused on consensus building and work to ensure that everyone comes away from the table satisfied with the result," Hagen said.

Women often have a unique position in areas of conflict, being used for human trafficking and taking over businesses and other roles when soldiers go off to war, she said. And including women in peace talks can help aid faster community recoveries.

“When it comes time to negotiate peace, they know what the community needs to have in order to survive,” Noem said.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the measure into law.

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House passes Noem bill to cut-off Social Security benefits to felons


The House on Sept. 28 approved legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) to prevent people with outstanding felony warrants or parole violations from claiming certain Social Security benefits, resulting in $2 billion in estimated savings.

Under the Control Unlawful Fugitive Felons (CUFF) Act, H.R. 2792, those with outstanding felony warrants, parole violations and probation violation warrants wouldn’t be able to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Once outstanding issues are resolved, benefits would be restored.

Savings realized by the enactment of H.R. 2792, which cleared the House with support from U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Kevin Brady (R-TX), would be used to offset the costs of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.

“Hardworking taxpayers should not have to pay people who are fleeing from the law,” Noem said. “Not only is it unfair to ask taxpayers to do so, but it’s self-defeating to subsidize someone’s prolonged flight from justice.”

The CUFF Act, which is endorsed by police and sheriffs’ organizations, protects taxpayers and helps law enforcement officers apprehend those who have committed serious felonies, including murder, rape and kidnapping, Noem said.

Speaking in support of the bill, McMorris Rodgers, the House Republican Conference chair, said the goal of the measure is to ensure that taxpayer dollars benefit “lawful, hardworking Americans and the programs that benefit them.”

Brady, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, echoed McMorris Rodgers’ sentiments and applauded Noem for leading the CUFF Act to House approval.

“The legislation passed today reinforces the original intent of a law, signed under President Clinton, to help ensure our taxpayer dollars are going toward law-abiding Americans,” Brady said. “By prohibiting wanted felons and parole violators from receiving monthly SSI payments, this bill saves millions of dollars to instead support a program that strengthens low-income families and the at-risk communities in which they live.”

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Soldiers of 153rd Engineer Battalion welcomed home from deployment


Nearly one year ago, crowds swarmed the Huron Arena, teary-eyed and anxious for what the future held.

On Saturday, many of the same people again gathered in the large event center, shedding tears once more, but this time thankful to have their loved ones home from a 10-month deployment to the Middle East.

The 165 soldiers of the Huron-based 153rd Engineer Battalion and its Parkston-based Forward Support Company were welcomed home with praise and recognition on Saturday morning, and there were few empty seats to be found as Maj. Gen. Timothy Reisch, adjutant general of the South Dakota National Guard, addressed the soldiers during the unit’s deactivation ceremony.  

“Huron and Parkston are two of strongest National Guard communities we’ve got,” said Reisch, former commander of the 153rd. “... This mobilization that was just completed is just as significant to our history as any of the former world wars, I can tell you that.”

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard was scheduled to appear, but fell ill last minute, so South Dakota Lt. Gov. Matt Michels filled in. He brought humor to an otherwise serious ceremony, bringing a young boy, named Oscar, dressed in a military outfit on stage. To a roar of applause, Oscar identified his father who came home from deployment as Cmrd. Trent Bruce.

But Michels also took time to remind attendees that being a soldier is a serious job that affects the entire country.

“None of us in elected offices, none of us that have businesses, none of us that have dreams that we make possible, could make that possible without you men and women as soldiers saving us and keeping us under a civilian government and freedoms you’ve put your lives on the line for,” Michels said. “Thank you for our freedom.”

The troops returned to the United States from the Middle East earlier in September, landing in Fort Bliss, Texas. While there, they completed demobilization requirements.

The mission of the 153rd was to provide command and control of assigned or attached engineer units, while the FSC provided logistics and maintenance support.

Because the soldiers successfully completed those duties, they returned home safely to their families, U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds said. But the soldiers couldn’t have been successful overseas without their families and friends at home, he said.

“When they mobilized this National Guard unit, they mobilized communities, so thank you to the communities, too,” Rounds said. “To (a soldier’s) spouse, there’s no such thing as a handbook you go by to figure out how to be a spouse of a member of the armed forces … but you do a marvelous job.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem reflected on the day in November 2016 that the soldiers gathered to say goodbye, and voiced appreciation for a reunion. She went on to thank the soldiers for not complaining about the problems of the world, and for instead working toward resolving those issues.

And, to U.S. Sen. John Thune, the soldiers of the 153rd, along with the entire South Dakota National Guard, are the state’s “pride and joy.”

“We live in a free country, the greatest country on the whole planet because of the men and women and families willing to make it so,” Thune said. “We thank you for a job well done and a mission accomplished.”

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Weekly Column: South Dakota's Native American Heritage


Native American heritage is woven into South Dakota's story, much like the buffalo is. Tribal traditions have enriched our culture and played an important role in the American journey. Please join me on Native Americans' Day in recognizing and honoring their influential heritage. Read More

Noem Congratulates Angels in Adoption Nominees


Rep. Kristi Noem today announced Robert and JoDee Ingalls of Faith, South Dakota, have been honored as 2017 Angels in Adoption. Ranchers in rural South Dakota, the Ingalls family has been blessed with 11 biological children, including a newborn baby, and seven adoptive children.

“It is so special to be able to nominate as Angels in Adoption a family as compassionate and faithful as the Ingalls,” said Noem. “I remember seeing a Facebook message JoDee posted a while back where she wrote: ‘We’re all different… interests, number of chromosomes, abilities, color” and still they are a family with ‘an incredible love of each other… Maybe children are the example God intended us to use to teach adults.’ Certainly, our world could learn a thing or two from the Ingalls family.  With each birth and each adoption, Robert and JoDee have taught their children compassion, patience, inventiveness, and understanding. They are more than deserving of the title Angels in Adoption.”

“We deeply appreciate Congresswoman Noem’s ongoing interest and support in strengthening families,” said Robert and JoDee Ingalls.  “We are also grateful to our family, church, and community who so selflessly supported us during our adoptions and through the times of our children’s medical treatments.  Our children have enriched our lives in ways we never dreamed.”

A strong supporter of adoption, Noem is a cosponsor of H.R.2476, the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act, which would make the current tax credit fully refundable to help more families afford to adopt.

The Ingalls family, along with more than 100 other recipients from across the country, have been recognized by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) as Angels in Adoption.  Over the last 15 years, CCAI has honored more than 1,800 ‘Angels’ from across the country who have made a lasting impact on the lives of children.

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

Committee Assignments

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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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