Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Noem efforts to allow year-round sales of E15 fuel pay off

2018/10/12

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) this week commended an announcement by the president that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will start lifting restrictions on year-round sales of E15 fuel, which the congresswoman says would benefit farmers in South Dakota and elsewhere around the country.

“To stabilize the ag economy, we need to expand market access, and ethanol is a huge market that, because of federal regulations, we’ve been unable to fully tap into,” Rep. Noem said following U.S. President Donald Trump’s directive that the EPA will start a rulemaking process to allow for the year-round use of 15 percent ethanol blends.

“I am grateful that he has followed through on this promise to the American people,” said Rep. Noem.

Known as E15, the fuel is a higher-octane fuel composed of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. E15 received EPA approval in 2012 for use in model year 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks, medium-sized SUVs, and all flex-fuel vehicles, according to the Renewable Fuels Association, which says E15 is available at retail fueling stations in 28 states.

Rep. Noem has repeatedly pushed to expand that decision and end what she has called unnecessary limitations on E15 to help farmers and the agricultural economy, while reducing consumer spending and the nation’s reliance on foreign oil.

“President Trump and I have had many conversations about the expansion of E15,” said Rep. Noem. “He knows where I stand, and that I wouldn’t give up on this issue until we made it right for farmers in South Dakota and for consumers who are demanding more affordable, homegrown fuels.”

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) also applauded the president for recognizing the importance of ethanol sales for farmers in the Midwest.

“Ethanol sales help drive demand for corn in Illinois and the announcement … will broaden opportunities for our farmers looking to sell more E15,” said Rep. LaHood. “Not only will the expansion of E15 sales benefit our farmers in central and west-central Illinois, but this will provide fuel retailers and consumers with more cost-efficient choices that reduce gas emissions into our environment.”

Several stakeholders also are thrilled about the president’s Tuesday announcement.

“We appreciate the key role Congresswoman Noem played in getting us to this point, particularly as a chair of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus and as a strong supporter of renewable fuels,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “This announcement is great news for farmers, biofuel workers, retailers and consumers everywhere who want to enjoy cleaner, more affordable options at the fuel pump.”

Scott VanderWal, president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau, also praised Rep. Noem for her leadership in Congress, particularly for her efforts to help “the administration understand the importance of increasing market access for agricultural products,” he said. “The best way out of the current poor ag economy is to find new markets and expand existing ones.”

Also thanking Rep. Noem for being a biofuels champion in Washington, D.C., was Jeff Broin, chief executive officer of POET LLC, a leading producer of biofuels and coproducts based in Sioux Falls, S.D.

“This is a historic directive – not only for our farmers, but for the nation as a whole,” Broin said. “The move to E15 will provide consumers with the choice to fill up with low-cost, high-performance fuel year-round, while improving air quality in our country’s largest cities.”

Lisa Richardson, executive director of South Dakota Corn, called the president’s announcement on Oct. 9 “an exciting day for corn producers.”

“I would like to thank Representative Noem for her continuous advocacy with President Trump on behalf of South Dakota producers,” she said. “We welcome this announcement and the opportunity to supply more of our nation’s fuel supply.”

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Noem: Expanding Ethanol Opportunities

2018/10/12

Agriculture is South Dakota's number one industry – by a significant margin. All in all, it contributes about $25.6 billion to the economy, so when ag booms, South Dakota booms. Of course, when droughts hit or markets slide, everyone feels that too.

In recent years, farm incomes have collapsed, in part because of natural disasters and in part because prices have been suppressed by foreign buyers. This administration set out to rebalance our trade relationships. For example, the European Union announced its willingness to join the U.S. in new trade talks, and Canada and Mexico have come to the negotiating table and helped us produce a better, fairer deal for American agriculture. 

China took a different path, retaliating harshly against our farmers and ranchers. This retaliation greatly concerns me, and I’ve talked with farmers and ranchers across South Dakota about its impact. Recent news reports, however, suggest China’s finances have taken a hit from trade disputes, causing the Chinese government to implement extraordinary measures to shore up its economy.

Nonetheless, their retaliation has hit American producers. In response, the U.S. Agriculture Department offered up a $12 billion aid package. But farmers don't want aid; we want market access. As Scott VanderWal, President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau explained: “The best way out of the current poor ag economy is to find new markets and expand existing ones.”

This October, President Trump took a major step forward in opening up an existing market that's not been fully tapped into. More specifically, his administration took an action that previous administrations were unwilling to take, approving year-round E15, a move that will help consume another 2 billion bushels of corn, while potentially saving consumers up to 10 cents per gallon at the pump.

Under the president's direction, the Environmental Protection Agency will begin the rule-making process, allowing for 15 percent ethanol blends to be used throughout the year, which is currently prohibited unnecessarily. Jeff Broin, the CEO of POET, a Sioux Falls-based ethanol producer, called the move "a historic directive - not only for producers, but for the nation as a whole." I agree.

Over the last year, I've been putting tremendous pressure on the administration to make this move. President Trump and I have had many conversations about year-round E15. He knows where I stand, and that I wouldn't give up on this issue until we made it right for farmers in South Dakota – as well as consumers who are demanding more affordable, homegrown fuels. 

That work is now beginning to pay off. We're getting results and earning "an opportunity to supply more of our nation's fuel supply," as Lisa Richardson, Executive Director of South Dakota Corn explained. Simply put, South Dakota can revolutionize the way we fuel both our vehicles and our economy – we just need the opportunity to do so. Read More

With Relentless Pressure from Noem, Trump Approves Year-Round E15

2018/10/09

After months of relentless pressure from Rep. Kristi Noem, President Donald Trump today took the first step toward lifting restrictions on year-round E15. More specifically, under the president's direction, the EPA will begin the rule-making process that would allow for 15 percent ethanol blends to be used throughout the year.

“To stabilize the ag economy, we need to expand market access, and ethanol is a huge market that, because of federal regulations, we've been unable to fully tap into," said Noem. "President Trump and I have had many conversations about the expansion of E15. He knows where I stand, and that I wouldn't give up on this issue until we made it right for farmers in South Dakota and for consumers who are demanding more affordable, homegrown fuels. I am grateful that he has followed through on this promise to the American people." 

"We are thrilled that the President is moving forward with his promise to deliver year round sales of E15, and we appreciate the key role Congresswoman Noem played in getting us to this point, particularly as a Chair of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus and as a strong supporter of renewable fuels,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “This announcement is great news for farmers, biofuel workers, retailers and consumers everywhere who want to enjoy cleaner, more affordable options at the fuel pump.”

“We commend Rep. Noem for her leadership in Congress and helping the Administration understand the importance of increasing market access for agricultural products,” said Scott VanderWal, President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. “The best way out of the current poor ag economy is to find new markets and expand existing ones.”

“I would like to thank President Trump, on behalf of our 2,000 employees and our 30,000 producers, for fulfilling his promise to the Midwest and our industry. I'd also like to thank Rep. Noem and our other biofuel champions in Washington for their strong support throughout this process,” said Jeff Broin, CEO of POET. “This is a historic directive – not only for our farmers, but for the nation as a whole. The move to E15 will provide consumers with the choice to fill up with low-cost, high-performance fuel year-round, while improving air quality in our country’s largest cities.”

“Today is an exciting day for corn producers. Allowing year-round E15 is a move South Dakota Corn has been pushing for years. I would like to thank Representative Noem for her continuous advocacy with President Trump on behalf of South Dakota producers,” said Lisa Richardson, Executive Director of South Dakota Corn. “We welcome this announcement and the opportunity to supply more of our nation’s fuel supply.”

A co-chair of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, Noem has been a leading ethanol advocate, putting immense pressure on the Trump administration to lift E15 restrictions and allow year-round usage. She has met on numerous occasions with President Trump and top administration officials on the topic and led more than 20 House members in urging the EPA to approve expanded ethanol opportunities. Furthermore, Noem has consistently pushed to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which the Obama administration repeatedly fell short of meeting and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt failed to make the adjustments needed in the new administration.   Read More

Noem: Celebrating Tribal Heritage

2018/10/05

I have had the honor of receiving a Star Quilt from tribes in South Dakota on a few occasions. Star Quilts are often used in Native American culture as a symbolic way to honor and protect a person on their journey through life. It’s incredibly meaningful and a big encouragement as we work together to tackle some of the challenges in the journey ahead.

Each October, we celebrate Native Americans' Day – an opportunity to honor South Dakota's nine Native American tribes, as well as their heritage, culture, and traditions. If you haven’t been to a tribal celebration, I encourage you to find an opportunity this fall.

That said, there are tremendous challenges in Indian Country today – from economic and workforce development to healthcare. Despite a workforce shortage in good-paying, high-skill jobs on reservations, fewer than one in 10 Native American students will attend college. SDSU is pursuing one program to help change that, however. It’s called the Wokini Initiative and is designed to help more tribal students earn their degree. We’re working now to get more resources into the program, offering hope, enrichment, and upward mobility for many students.

Alongside workforce development, we need economic development. For too long, inconsistencies in tax law have created confusion and discouraged investment in Indian Country. Understanding this, I introduced legislation to better reflect the unique needs of tribal communities. More specifically, the bill puts tribal governments on equal footing with states, ensuring they are fully eligible under the tax code to receive certain tax benefits and enter into public-private partnerships. It also expands economic development tools to make investing more affordable in these high-need areas.

At the same time, we must address the tribal healthcare crisis. Today, many tribal members receive life-threatening “care” from a broken Indian Health Service (IHS). In recent years, watchdog reports have documented appalling cases of negligence and poorly delivered care. Babies were born on bathroom floors with no doctor present. Facilities were forced to wash surgical equipment by hand due to broken sterilization machines. Medical personnel were coming to work with certifications that had lapsed. An IHS pediatrician was tried for sexually abusing children. No one should have to live in these third-world medical conditions – especially not folks in South Dakota.

I've been working with tribal leaders to improve the IHS for years, and this summer, I introduced the most recent version of my comprehensive IHS reform bill. Through the legislation, we offer more tools to recruit and retain quality medical and administrative personnel. We would also cut red tape and increase transparency. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to continue to drive this legislation forward in the weeks ahead.

It’s critical we recognize and honor the tremendous contributions tribal communities have made throughout our shared history. That’s why I worked to recognize the Tatanka as our country’s national mammal and honor the Lakota Code Talkers with a Congressional Gold Medal. I’m proud of the rich Native American heritage that’s woven into South Dakota and grateful that we, as a state, set aside a day each October to recognize that legacy.

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Delegation Urges FCC to Restore Predictability to Universal Service Fund’s High Cost Program Budget

2018/10/03

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today urged Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to immediately act to restore sufficiency and predictability to the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) High Cost program’s budget, ensuring South Dakotans have access to high-quality broadband and voice services that are comparable in quality and price to those available in urban areas.

“The USF High Cost program is critical for millions of rural Americans and foundational for the success of reaching universal service goals in rural America,” the delegation wrote. “Yet the High Cost program budget has remained static at 2011 levels. It is essential that the High Cost program evolve and keep pace with technological advancements. It is also critical that after the High Cost budget is updated, it keep pace with inflation going forward.”

Full text of the letter below:

The Honorable Ajit Pai

Chairman

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street Southwest

Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Pai:

As the congressional delegation from the State of South Dakota, we write to express our strong support for immediate action by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to restore sufficiency and predictability to the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) High Cost program’s budget. Fully funding this program will help ensure rural South Dakotans have access to high-quality broadband and voice services comparable in quality and price to those available in urban areas.

While the Federal government has made rural broadband a national priority, the long-term insufficiency and uncertainty of the USF High Cost budget needlessly undermines investment in and planning for deployment in rural areas. Therefore, we were happy to hear you commit at the August 16, 2018, FCC oversight hearing to taking action by the end of this year.

The USF High Cost program is critical for millions of rural Americans and foundational for the success of reaching universal service goals in rural America. Yet the High Cost program budget has remained static at 2011 levels. It is essential that the High Cost program evolve and keep pace with technological advancements. It is also critical that after the High Cost budget is updated, it keep pace with inflation going forward.

The current budget limits are hindering rural broadband deployment and harming consumers. In South Dakota, the limit is estimated to cut support that carriers would otherwise have received for broadband deployment by more than $11 million over a twelve-month period. These reductions in support will require providers to postpone or even cancel broadband investment, reducing the availability of rural broadband. These cuts also threaten to increase the cost of broadband service to consumers in rural areas and put at risk the ability of providers to repay loans for investments already made, undermining the viability and sustainability of broadband in rural areas. More than 75 percent of South Dakota’s land mass is served by rural carriers, and it is crucial that these consumers are not left behind.

The responses to the FCC’s USF High Cost Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking confirm the need to provide – and indicate broad support for –long-term, sufficient, and predictable funding to rural carriers, ensuring that rural consumers have access to affordable broadband.

Consistent with prior letters expressing concerns about High Cost budget shortfalls, we urge the Commission to establish a sufficient and predictable budget that will help eliminate the rural divide while also providing certainty to carriers planning deployment and maintenance of rural broadband.

Thank you for acknowledging the need to eliminate the digital divide by assuring affordable broadband for rural American consumers. We look forward to continuing to work with you in achieving a positive resolution on this important issue for rural America.

Sincerely,

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Following Noem’s Urging, VA Announces Grant Approval for East River Veteran Cemetery

2018/10/01

Following a push from Rep. Kristi Noem, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today approved a grant request to fund construction for an East River Veterans Cemetery. South Dakota could begin seeing these funds as early as next year.

“South Dakota has a proud legacy of military service and patriotism,” said Noem. “This grant from the VA will help expedite the process of establishing a peaceful resting place to remember and honor those who have served.”

In June, Rep. Noem, Sen. Thune, and Sen. Rounds wrote a letter to VA Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs Randy C. Reeves expressing support for the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs’ application to establish a new veteran cemetery in Sioux Falls. 

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Noem Statement on US-Mexico-Canada Agreement

2018/10/01

Rep. Kristi Noem today issued the following statement after the United States, Mexico, and Canada announced an agreement has been reached on the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement:

“For the last year, I have been pressing President Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer to finalize an agreement that works better for South Dakota agriculture – and finalize it quickly. We have met on several occasions to discuss the dire situation producers are in as a result of poorly negotiated trade deals and the changes needed. I am pleased the pressure we put on this administration has resulted in a preliminary deal. I will be reviewing the details of this agreement closely, but I’m optimistic we are headed toward an agreement that treats South Dakota agricultural goods more fairly, expands market access, and sets unprecedented standards for science-based sanitary and phytosanitary measures. I will continue weighing in with the Trump administration as this process advances, but I’m hopeful we’re on the cusp of a better deal for American manufacturing and agriculture.”     

Rep. Noem sits on the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, which has primary jurisdiction over trade issues in the U.S. House.

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Noem: Making an Impact for Students

2018/09/28

I’ve always believed decisions are best made at the local level, particularly when it involves the education our kids are receiving. That was a big driver behind the work we did in the Student Success Act, which was designed to reduce the federal footprint and empower both parents and local school districts.

That work is ongoing, however, as federal policies continue to impede on local decision-making. One issue where we continue to work is the Impact Aid Program, which reimburses local schools for revenue losses that occur when nontaxable federal land is in their districts.

More specifically, schools rely on local property taxes to pay the bills. Tax is not collected, however, on federal lands, such as military installations, Indian Trust land, and national grasslands. As a result, a school bordering Ellsworth Air Force Base must overcome tremendous budgetary challenges as no taxes are paid on the property in much of their district.

That’s where the Impact Aid Program comes in. As Hilary Goldmann, who heads an association dedicated to maintaining Impact Aid, explains: The program “pays for teacher salaries, school counselors, technology, student transportation and other education programming…”

In South Dakota, about 30 school districts are eligible for the program. These school districts are often located in rural areas with few taxpayers and where administrators double as bus drivers, teachers, and coaches.

Simply put, Impact Aid helps ensure we maintain a level playing field for all South Dakota school districts. Going to school near the Air Force Base or one of South Dakota’s nine Indian Reservations shouldn’t limit classroom resources.

Earlier this fall, I was honored to be recognized by more than 50 South Dakota teachers who are part of the country’s leading Impact Aid group for my work to strengthen this critical support system. More specifically, they discussed my work on bipartisan legislation to increase the program’s efficiency and provide greater flexibility to the school districts that receive it. They also discussed the provisions I introduced to improve Impact Aid in the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Jamie Hermann, who is president of Impact Schools of South Dakota, noted: “Every time Impact Aid school districts needed assistance, Rep. Noem was there to help successfully lead the charge. From the first meeting with her, she recognized the federal government’s financial obligation to school districts that have a decreased tax base due to the federal government ownership of the land.”

Those are humbling words to hear, but I’m grateful for the award and will continue to fight so classrooms have the resources our kids need to succeed.  Read More

Noem-Sponsored Tax Reform 2.0 Passes House

2018/09/28

Rep. Kristi Noem today led the U.S. House of Representatives in passing Tax Reform 2.0. The legislative package makes permanent the tax relief families and small businesses received through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The landmark package also includes provisions to simplify retirement savings, allow parents to start education savings accounts for their unborn children, and promote innovation for small startup businesses.

“The historic tax cuts we passed last year have been life-changing for the people of South Dakota. I hear it everywhere I travel in the state,” said Noem. “The tax cuts help our small businesses stay in businesses and put money in families’ pockets. Tax Reform 2.0 goes another step forward. Through this bill, we incentivize innovation and give hardworking Americans more opportunities to save.”

WATCH: Noem Speaks in Support of Tax Reform 2.0 on House Floor

Last year, Noem served as one of the only farmers or ranchers on the final tax cuts negotiating team, making her a critical advocate for South Dakota’s number one industry. The legislation gave producers access to enhanced expensing tools, immediate deductibility, and like-kind exchanges. Additionally, Noem championed the Child Tax Credit, which doubled to $2,000/child under the tax cuts package, and saved the Child Care Credit from repeal.

Highlights of Tax Reform 2.0

  • Makes the following provisions from 2017’s historic tax cut permanent:
    • Lower tax rates
    • Doubling of the Child Tax Credit from $1,000/child to $2,000/child
    • Doubling of exemption levels for the Death Tax
  • Creates a new Universal Savings Account to offer a fully flexible savings tool for families
  • Expands 529 Education Savings Accounts so families can use the money to pay for apprenticeship fees, homeschooling, or student debt
  • Offers New Baby Savings by allowing families to access their own retirement accounts penalty-free for expenses when welcoming a new child through birth or adoption
  • Allows small businesses to join together to create a 401(k) plan more affordably
  • Allows new businesses to write off more of their initial start-up costs
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PHOTO: Noem Receives Impact Aid Award

2018/09/26

Rep. Kristi Noem was honored this week by more than 50 South Dakota school administrators for her "outstanding contributions to the Impact Aid Program." Noem was awarded the Friend of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools Award for her years-long effort to protect the program, which provides payments from the federal government to local school districts to make up for local taxes lost on account of a federal presence within their school districts, such as military bases and federal land like Indian Reservations or federal grasslands. More than 30 South Dakota school districts are Impact Aid districts.

Pictured from left to right: Chad Blotsky, Hilary Goldmann, Rep. Kristi Noem,  Trista Hedderman, Jocelyn Bissonnett

“Impact Aid helps ensure we maintain a level playing field for all South Dakota school districts," said Noem. "Going to school near Ellsworth Air Force Base or one of South Dakota's nine Indian Reservations shouldn't limit classroom resources. I'm grateful for this generous award and will continue to fight so classrooms have the resources our kids need to succeed."

“Every time Impact Aid school districts needed assistance, Rep. Noem was there to help successfully lead the charge,” said Jamie Hermann, President of Impact Schools of South Dakota. “From the first meeting with her, she recognized the federal government’s financial obligation to school districts that have a decreased tax base due to the federal government ownership of the land.”

Noem chairs the bipartisan House Impact Aid Caucus and is a long-time supporter of the program. In March, Noem successfully led more than 100 Members of Congress in urging the Appropriations Committee to preserve Impact Aid funding for fiscal year 2019. They wrote: “Often, these school districts are located in rural areas with few taxpayers and where administrators double as bus drivers, teachers, and coaches. These dollars provide a foundational education program for all students; many schools would close their doors without the support of Impact Aid.”

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Noem, House colleagues seek EPA approval of year-round sale of E15 fuel

2018/09/21

To help support home-state farmers across America, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) spearheaded a bipartisan group of 23 U.S. House members in seeking approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for year-round sales of E15 fuel.

E15, a higher octane fuel composed of 5 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, received EPA approval in 2012 for use in model year 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks, medium-sized SUVs, and all flex-fuel vehicles, according to the Renewable Fuels Association, which says E15 is available at retail fueling stations in 28 states.

Rep. Noem and her House colleagues sent a Sept. 13 letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler strongly encouraging the Trump administration to reduce federal regulations on ethanol rather than implementing policies that they said only work against American farmers and slow down growth of the biofuels market.

“Our ag economy has really suffered in recent years,” Rep. Noem said on Sept. 18. “By ending unnecessary limitations on E15, we have a big opportunity to help farmers and our ag economy save consumers money, and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.”

Joining the congresswoman in signing the letter were U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Sam Graves (R-MO), Don Bacon (R-NE), Tom Emmer (R-MN), and Collin Peterson (D-MN). Reps. Noem and Peterson lead the bipartisan Biofuels Caucus.

Specifically, the lawmakers – who referred to themselves as “representatives of our country’s strongest farming communities” – encouraged the EPA to consider “reducing regulations, like those that prohibit the year-round sale of E15.”

“This regulatory change would increase consumption of biofuels while also lowering RIN prices, which eases implementation of the RFS and provide consumers with another choice at the pump,” they wrote, referring to a Renewable Identification Number (RIN), which the U.S. Energy Department says are attached to the physical gallon of renewable fuel as it is transferred to a fuel blender.

After blending, RINs are separated from the blended gallon and are used by blenders, refiners or importers as proof that they have sold renewable fuels to meet their mandated volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS), the department says.

Additionally, Rep. Noem and her colleagues addressed the EPA’s 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) proposal under the RFS.

The EPA’s July 10 proposed rule states that biodiesel production can reach 2.8 billion gallons in 2019 and the congressmen asked that the final rule incorporate this conclusion, as well.

“The RFS promotes economic development and energy security for American farmers and families,” they wrote Wheeler. “The proposed rule for the 2019 RVO demonstrates a strong commitment to ethanol production and future growth for cellulosic and advanced biofuels.”

And while the increase to 2.43 billion gallons in biomass-based biodiesel for 2020 is a positive step, they wrote, “these commitments and the integrity of the RFS are undermined if the EPA continues to abuse the hardship waiver authority for small refineries.”

The members said the EPA approved 48 retroactive RFS waivers for refineries for 2016 and 2017 obligations that ended up depleting some two billion gallons in the marketplace. They urged the agency “to put an end to these secret waivers” until a newly established process makes public the name of the refinery, the gallons waived, and other information.

“Additionally, accounting for any 2019 waived gallons in the final rule would help ensure biofuel production is not harmed by retroactive refinery exemptions,” according to the letter.

Rep. Noem, a leading ethanol advocate in Congress, supports upholding the RFS, according to her staff, and has “put immense pressure on the Trump administration to lift E15 restrictions and allow its use year-round.”

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SD School Board Member Joins USDA Roundtable Following Noem, Thune Recommendation

2018/09/21

Following a recommendation from Rep. Kristi Noem and Sen. John Thune, Mitchell School Board member Neil Putnam met with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue this week to discuss opportunities for local school boards to collaborate on school meal improvements.

“Representative Noem and Senator Thune understand just how crucial school meals are – for both the physical and academic wellbeing of our kids,” said Putnam. “It was an honor to represent South Dakota before Secretary Perdue this week and advocate for legislation that eliminates unnecessary mandates and regulations and gives local school boards the chance to preserve more resources for the classroom. We all want successful students, and by improving school meals, we’re paving the way for a happier and healthier future for our kids.”  

“I firmly believe those closest to our kids make the best decisions for our kids, so it’s good to see USDA engaging on-the-ground leaders like Neil Putnam,” said Noem. “Neil is a passionate advocate on the issue of school nutrition, and I’m confident his testimony will have an incredible impact on our country’s school nutrition program and, as a result, the academic and extracurricular performance of our kids.”

“Local leaders know their communities better than anyone else, so I’m glad Neil Putnam’s voice was heard and South Dakota had a seat at the table at USDA with Secretary Perdue,” said Thune. “The Mitchell community should be proud of Mr. Putnam’s effort to ensure the school lunch programs are effective for students and their communities.”

Noem and Thune have helped lead congressional efforts to grant greater flexibility on school meal programs. Earlier this Congress, Noem introduced legislation that transforms all of the USDA’s school lunch, breakfast and a la carte requirements into voluntary nutritional guidelines, giving states and local schools much-needed breathing room. Thune, meanwhile, backed a bill to improve child nutrition standards while increasing flexibility for South Dakota schools.

According to USDA estimates, school food requirements cost local school districts and states $1.22 billion in FY2015.  Meanwhile, a 2015 GAO report showed a continued decline in school meal program participation since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act took effect in 2010.  More specifically, National School Lunch Program participation declined by 1.4 million children – or 4.5 percent – between the 2010-11 school year and the 2013-14 school year.  The non-partisan agency also reported that “new federal nutrition requirements contributed to the decrease.” Prior to the 2010-11 school year, participation in the program had been increasing steadily for many years. Read More

Noem: Celebrate Women in Business

2018/09/21

With a little over 80 percent of us in the workforce, South Dakota has the country’s highest rate of working moms. I’m proud to have been part of this group, as a farmer and rancher, the owner of a hunting lodge, and a manager at my mom’s restaurant. I won’t say it’s always been easy, but I never did it alone. My family and I were always surrounded by friends, loved ones, and a community that had our back. It’s one of the wonderful things about South Dakota.

There’s a day every September that’s set aside to celebrate women in business, and in South Dakota, there’s a lot to celebrate. Today, more than 23,000 South Dakota women own and operate small businesses. What’s interesting is that while we top the nation when it comes to working moms, our state has the lowest percentage of women-owned businesses, so we have room to grow.

Like any business, women-owned businesses benefited greatly from the tax cuts package we passed last December. In it, we included a first-ever 20-percent, small-business tax deduction to help lift the financial burden of job creation.

At the same time, we gave working families a break on childcare costs. In South Dakota, at an average of nearly $500 per month, infant care tends to cost nearly 70 percent of what it costs to rent a home. To put it another way, a year of infant care costs just $2,000 less, on average, than a year of college. That puts many working families between a rock and a hard place financially. They can’t afford to live on a single income, but the cost of childcare if both parents work is unaffordable.  As such, I fought to protect the Child and Dependent Care Credit. This allows families to claim up to $6,000 of child care expenses and deduct a portion of that from their federal income tax bill each year.

We’re now working to build on those victories, finding more ways to help businesses get their start and grow. This September, my committee approved another round of tax cuts. Among other provisions, the legislation allows new start-up businesses to write off more of their initial start-up costs. I’m hopeful that will help more people ride the tidal wave of growth we’ve seen in recent months.

I’m also working on a repeal of regressive taxes, like Obamacare’s 10 percent tanning bed tax. Today, 70 percent of tanning salons are women-owned, and many are suffering as a result of the Obamacare tax. Studies show roughly 10,000 tanning salons have closed nationwide as a result of the 10 percent levy, resulting in 80,000 people losing their job. The tax needs to be repealed.

All of that said, women-owned businesses are on the rise. According to one recent study, women are starting 1,821 new U.S. businesses every day – a big increase from an average of 952 for the five years prior. That’s good news for all of us.

But let me close with a little advice my grandma gave me that’s served me well – not only in business, but as a mom and as a member of the House. She told me to just say yes when opportunities arise. I would advise the same. Say yes and try a new hobby. Say yes and learn a new skill. Say yes and start a new business venture. You don’t have to commit to it for the rest of your life, but give it a try. You’ll never know where that opportunity will lead.

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Noem Congratulates 2018 Angels in Adoption

2018/09/20

Rep. Kristi Noem today announced that Danny and Amanda Oaks of Rapid City, South Dakota, have been honored as 2018 Angels in Adoption.

After having two children biologically, Danny and Amanda Oaks locally adopted a baby girl. A few years later, their adopted daughter’s birth mother asked them to adopt her newborn baby girl. They agreed and became a family of six.

“It’s very special to recognize such an incredible family through Angels in Adoption,” said Noem. “From the first time I heard the Oaks’ story, it was clear their journey would help inspire others wanting to make a difference through local adoption. It is an honor to nominate them. Congratulations, Danny and Amanda, on this well-deserved recognition.”

“We feel honored to receive this nomination,” said Danny and Amanda Oaks. “It is God who orchestrates families and places us all where He would have us. It’s been our joy to see the Lord use adoption to turn us into a family of 6. May anyone who sees our name or picture recognize the loving choice made by the girls' birth mom, the hours of work put in by social workers and counselors to ensure peace in the choice, as well as the financial support poured out by those around us. It is our joy to cherish all of our children and point them to Jesus, the Maker of families, the Redeemer of heartaches and loss.”

A strong supporter of adoption, Noem successfully advocated to preserve the Adoption Tax Credit during tax reform discussions and has cosponsored the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act, which would make the current tax credit fully refundable to help more families afford to adopt. Additionally, Noem is a cosponsor of the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, which bans government discrimination of faith-based adoption agencies.

The Oaks 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 18 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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Noem, Peterson Lead Bipartisan Push for Year-Round E15

2018/09/18

Representatives Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) today led more than 20 House members in urging the EPA to approve year-round E15. The bipartisan letter to Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler strongly encourages the Administration to reduce federal regulations on ethanol instead of implementing policies that only work against farmers and slow the biofuels market down.

“Our ag economy has really suffered in recent years,” said Noem. “By ending unnecessary limitations on E15, we have a big opportunity to help farmers and our ag economy, save consumers money, and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.”

Noem has been a leading ethanol advocate in Congress, consistently pushing to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard. The Obama administration repeatedly fell short of meeting the law’s targets, and former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt failed to make the adjustments needed in the new administration. While her work on that continues, Noem has put immense pressure on the Trump administration to lift E15 restrictions and allow its use year-round. She has met on numerous occasions with President Trump and top administration officials to advocate in support of year-round E15.

Reps. Noem and Peterson lead the bipartisan Biofuels Caucus.

 

LETTER TEXT:

Dear Acting Administrator Wheeler,

As representatives of our country’s strongest farming communities, we are writing to share our comments regarding the 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) proposal under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS).

The RFS promotes economic development and energy security for American farmers and families.  The proposed rule for the 2019 RVO demonstrates a strong commitment to ethanol production and future growth for cellulosic and advanced biofuels. Although the increase to 2.43 billion gallons in biomass-based biodiesel for 2020 is a positive step, the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged in its proposed rule (83 Fed. Reg. § 132 July 10, 2018) that biodiesel production can reach 2.8 billion gallons in 2019 and we ask that the final rule incorporate this conclusion. But these commitments and the integrity of the RFS are undermined if the EPA continues to abuse the hardship waiver authority for small refineries.

The EPA approved 48 retroactive RFS waivers for refineries for 2016 and 2017 obligations, effectively eliminating 2.25 billion gallons in the marketplace. The 2019 RVO targets and the success of the RFS will continue to be undermined if the EPA does not account for further waivers. We urge the EPA to put an end to these secret waivers until a process is established to make the name of the refinery, the gallons waived, and other relevant information publicly available. Additionally, accounting for any 2019 waived gallons in the final rule would help ensure biofuel production is not harmed by retroactive refinery exemptions.

Instead of advancing policies that would hurt farmers and prevent market growth of ethanol, we encourage you to also consider reducing regulations, like those that prohibit the year-round sale of E15.  This regulatory change would increase consumption of biofuels while also lowering RIN prices, which eases implementation of the RFS and provide consumers with another choice at the pump.

We look forward to working with you to help protect the RFS and urge you to address these issues so this important program continues to drive economic growth and investment in our rural communities.

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Noem: Tax Reform 2.0: Better Stability. Better Future.

2018/09/17

Last year, we overhauled the tax code for the first time since Ronald Reagan was president. With the passage of these historic tax cuts, the average South Dakota family of four will see their after-tax income rise by $2,400. We doubled the Child Tax Credit to $2,000 per child. We eliminated the marriage penalty. Pro-growth reforms are producing higher wages and lowering utility bills. As a result, the job market is booming, middle-class income is at an all-time high, unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 49 years, and wages are steadily growing.

These tax cuts changed the trajectory of our economy, but we’re not stopping there. In early September, my committee approved new tax relief legislation we’re calling Tax Reform 2.0 – a three-pronged package of bills that will lock in the tax cuts for families and small businesses, make it easier for families to save more for retirement, and promote innovation for startup businesses. How?

First, Tax Reform 2.0 makes permanent tax cuts for middle-class families, small businesses, and family farmers and ranchers. In the first round of tax reform, we made sure the first $24,000 a couple makes is tax free. We also doubled Death Tax exemption levels and offered a 20 percent small business tax exemption (which applies to many family businesses in South Dakota). This new wave of tax reform makes certain these provisions are permanent, providing much-needed stability and certainty for families and small businesses, giving them more freedom to spend their money as they choose.

That’s important because this is a significant savings for families. Consider a couple with two children. Both parents teach and make the average salary for a South Dakota educator. Their savings? $2,600 – or nearly 1,000 gallons of milk. The savings is due in large part to the doubling of both the Standard Deduction and Child Tax Credit.

Next, the new tax relief legislation helps families save for retirement by helping local businesses provide retirement plans to their workers. At the same time, we’re taking steps to expand education savings accounts by giving families flexibility to use the funds to pay for apprenticeships or cover the cost of homeschooling. I’m hopeful this will allow families to plan for the future while providing financial stability for today.

Maybe think about it in this context: Jon and Jennifer have been putting money into a 529 Education Savings Account for years. Now, their daughter, Julia, is in middle school, and they’ve decided to homeschool her. Because of Tax Reform 2.0, they’d be able to use those 529 savings to cover the cost of curriculum – penalty free.

Finally, this legislation will promote entrepreneurship by allowing start-up businesses to write off more of their initial start-up costs. I’m hoping this will help more South Dakotans ride the tidal wave of growth we’ve seen in recent months.

While no tax plan will be perfect in everyone’s eyes, I’m optimistic about the impact this package could have on South Dakotans. Our tax code should support people, not punish them. By creating sustainability, incentivizing innovation, and expanding savings opportunities, we can take another step toward forming a growth-oriented tax code for the next generation. Read More

Committee Approves Noem-Sponsored Tax Reform 2.0

2018/09/13

Rep. Kristi Noem today helped advance Tax Reform 2.0 through the House Ways and Means Committee, setting the stage for the full House to consider the bill in the weeks ahead. The Noem-backed legislation is a three-pronged approach to make permanent the tax relief families and small businesses received through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Furthermore, it includes provisions to simplify retirement savings and promote innovation for startup operations.  

“Since President Trump signed our historic tax cuts last year, we’ve seen our economy roar back, producing more job opportunities and larger paychecks for South Dakotans,” said Noem. “Tax Reform 2.0 would make sure the benefits families are enjoying today are benefits they’ll be able to enjoy long into the future. In addition to that, we’ve added new options for folks at all stages of life – from starting a business to starting a family to starting retirement. I look forward to continuing this debate in the full House and am incredibly optimistic about what this plan can do for the hardworking people of South Dakota.”

Last year, Noem served as one of the only farmers or ranchers on the final tax reform negotiating team, making her a critical advocate for South Dakota’s number one industry. The legislation gave producers access to enhanced expensing tools, immediate deductibility, and like-kind exchanges, all of which are being made permanent in Tax Reform 2.0. 

Highlights of Tax Reform 2.0

  • Makes the following provisions from 2017’s historic tax cut permanent:
    • Lower tax rate
    • Doubling of the Child Tax Credit from $1,000/child to $2,000/child
    • Doubling of exemption levels for the Death Tax
    • First-ever Paid Family Leave Tax Credit
  • Creates a new Universal Savings Account to offer a fully flexible savings tool for families
  • Expands 529 Education Savings Accounts, so families can use the money to pay for apprenticeship fees, homeschooling, or student debt
  • Offers New Baby Savings by allowing families to access their own retirement accounts penalty-free for expenses when welcoming a new child through birth or adoption
  • Allows small businesses to join together to create a 401(k) plan more affordably
  • Allows new businesses to write off more of their initial start-up costs

WATCH: Noem Encourages Passage of Tax Reform 2.0

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Noem: Breaking Barriers Surrounding Mental Health

2018/09/07

In South Dakota today, about 30,000 adults and 9,000 kids live with serious mental health conditions. With nearly every family and every community impacted, it’s overloaded the system. As a result, too many are falling through the cracks, landing in a jail cell, homeless shelter, or worse.

The reasons for this are numerous. Some people may lack the financial resources for treatment. Others may be able to afford help, but there are no spaces available. Still others may fear what their friends or family may think, so they never seek assistance. We need to break these barriers down.

While not everything can be solved on the federal level, we’ve worked over the last few years to aggressively address this issue in the U.S. House. In 2016, for instance, we passed legislation I cosponsored to help make sure families can be meaningful partners in caring for those with serious mental illnesses. That same legislation made advances in tele-psychiatry to better reach rural communities and offered more tools for suicide prevention, especially in tribal communities. Other provisions were included to fix the shortage of crisis mental health beds, improve the transition from one level of care to another, and even offer alternatives to institutionalization for those with serious mental illnesses.

More recently, the House passed a bill I introduced that aims to dig into the mental health resources available to those on Medicare. Today, millions of seniors lack adequate access to mental health services. By taking a data-driven approach, I’m hopeful we can quickly and accurately target resources to do the most good with the fewest amount of taxpayer dollars.

At the same time, we’ve been working to increase access to mental healthcare for veterans. In 2016, we got the Clay Hunt SAV Act signed into law, which I’m hopeful will help as nearly two dozen American veterans lose their life to suicide daily. We have also dedicated more resources to exploring how factors like military service, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and traumatic brain injuries can put one at higher risk for suicide.

Still, there is much that must be done in this area. While this is not true in every circumstance, the consequences of not addressing mental health concerns could be a matter of life and death.

This month is Suicide Prevention Month in South Dakota. We have one of the nation’s highest suicide rates, so please be aware of the people in your life. If someone you know is struggling with their mental health, act now. If it’s an emergency, dial 911 immediately. If not, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is open around the clock for help. Don’t wait to call. Together we can work to overcome this. 

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Noem: Finding a Level Playing Field

2018/08/31

Around 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders. If we can’t reach foreign consumers on a level playing field, our growth is limited.

For years, China has exploited its massive purchasing power, often at the expense of American farmers, ranchers and manufacturers. When the Trump administration set out to rebalance this trading relationship, China retaliated. I recently invited Scott VanderWal, a Volga-area farmer and president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau, to testify at a congressional hearing on trade. He explained, “The problem is [China] knows just where to punch us back in a dispute: by targeting our agriculture products. Through no fault of our own, and unintentionally, [the agriculture] industry ends up being used for leverage.”

The undue burden agriculture is bearing is something I’ve worked to impress upon the administration. After numerous conversations with President Trump and administration officials, I was pleased to see the USDA announce a $12 billion aid package this summer that gives South Dakota producers an added safety net.

The proposal takes a three-pronged approach: Give producers a boost, expand a USDA food-buying program to increase demand, and develop new global market opportunities. I’m hopeful this package will offer some breathing room for farmers and ranchers. 

But talk to almost any producer, and they’ll tell you they want trade, not aid.

While China dominates the global market for commodities, Canada and Mexico are some of America’s most important trading partners. For more than two decades, NAFTA has set the rules of trade on the North American continent, but when President Trump took office, he launched a renegotiation process to modernize the deal.  

This August, the U.S. renegotiation team reached a preliminary agreement with Mexico, which imports around 39 percent of American ag products. According to the White House, the pact includes a continuation of zero tariffs on agricultural products, new standards for ag biotechnology, improved transparency, and more. It’s a promising development that I’m hopeful will help drive Canada to the table and once again offer producers greater certainty in trade.

Of course, agriculture isn’t the only industry that’s confronted trade challenges in recent months. This January, in response to a claim that Canada was unfairly dumping paper into U.S. markets, the Commerce Department applied heavy tariffs while the agency investigated the claims. South Dakota’s local newspapers rely on this imported paper because U.S. paper mills are already running at full capacity and can’t provide all the paper needed to keep prices low. The tariffs increased newsprint costs by nearly 30 percent.

All but one U.S.-based paper mill opposed the tariffs, and small-town South Dakota newspapers told me the costs were too much to bear, so I pushed back. I introduced the PRINT Act, which would have temporarily suspended the tariffs in order to give the Commerce Department time to investigate the impact. I also joined Sens. Thune and Rounds in a letter to David Johanson, Chairman of the International Trade Commission (ITC), urging him to reject the tariffs. In late August, the ITC agreed to our request and nullified the tariffs, delivering an important victory for hometown newspapers, for the small-town businesses who advertise in those papers, and for consumers in South Dakota.

As we look at ongoing trade negotiations, it’s important that we continue to strive for a level playing field. Americans produce some of the world’s best products, and those goods ought to be sold in a marketplace that is fair, open, and competitive. Read More

Collins, Noem, Poliquin win in ITC over imported newsprint

2018/08/31

The legislative efforts of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and U.S. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) to end federal tariffs placed on imported Canadian newsprint helped convince the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) to terminate the taxes.

Since the tariffs were put in place this January on imports of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada, newsprint costs increased for many local printers, book publishers and newspapers around the country, for some more than 30 percent, according to the lawmakers.

On Aug. 29, the ITC unanimously voted that the U.S. industry is not materially injured or threatened by the Canadian paper imports, which the U.S. Department of Commerce previously had determined were subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value. The ITC then said “no antidumping or countervailing duty orders will be issued on imports of this product from Canada.”

“Local newspapers document the heartbeat of small town South Dakota, but unnecessary newsprint tariffs have threatened their survival,” Rep. Noem said. “Getting these tariffs nullified was an important and hard-fought victory for more than 125 local newspapers in South Dakota, whose reporting strengthens our sense of community and connection.”

Sen. Collins said she was “delighted” that the ITC heard the concerns of industries and federal lawmakers, which for months complained that the import taxes “were severely harming publishers and printers, which employ hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

“The tariffs also threatened to negatively impact the U.S. paper industry by permanently shrinking its customer base,” Sen. Collins said.

Her Maine colleague in the U.S. House, Rep. Poliquin, called the ITC ruling “a huge win for Maine workers and Maine jobs.”

“This ruling corrects a misguided policy that had enabled a single producer in Washington State to take advantage of manufacturers across the country, including our mills in Maine,” said Poliquin, referring to the initial determination by the Commerce Department that was based on claims made by a single American manufacturer, the North Pacific Paper Co.

“I’m pleased the ITC has helped to level the playing field for Maine workers,” added Rep. Poliquin, whose staff said in a statement that 100 percent of the newsprint used by Maine newspapers comes from Canada, and newsprint costs in the state rose by 22.5 percent following institution of the import tariffs.

All three lawmakers this year applied legislative pressure on the ITC to kill the tariffs on imported Canadian newsprint.

In addition to sending letters to the ITC chairman and testifying before the commission, for example, Sen. Collins and Rep. Noem also introduced identical versions of the Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade (PRINT) Act of 2018, S. 2835/H.R. 6031.

The bipartisan measure would temporarily suspend the tariffs so the Commerce Department could investigate their impact on local newspapers. The U.S. Senate version garnered 33 cosponsors while 38 members cosponsored the House bill.

“The strong, bipartisan support for reversing the ITC’s preliminary determination was reflected by the fact that the PRINT Act I introduced in May to suspend these tariffs was cosponsored by one-third of the Senate,” Sen. Collins pointed out this week. The “unanimous decision will help save jobs and ensure local newspapers remain strong, vibrant voices in their communities.”

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Contact Information

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

Committee Assignments

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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