Kristi Noem

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Kristi Noem
Official portrait, 2023
33rd Governor of South Dakota
Assumed office
January 5, 2019
LieutenantLarry Rhoden
Preceded byDennis Daugaard
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Dakota's at-large district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byStephanie Herseth Sandlin
Succeeded byDusty Johnson
Member of the South Dakota House of Representatives
from the 6th district
In office
January 9, 2007 – January 11, 2011
Preceded byArt Fryslie
Succeeded byBurt Tulson
Personal details
Born
Kristi Lynn Arnold

(1971-11-30) November 30, 1971 (age 52)
Watertown, South Dakota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Bryon Noem (m. 1992)
Children3
EducationSouth Dakota State University (BA)

Kristi Lynn Noem (/nm/; née Arnold; born November 30, 1971) is an American politician. Noem is the 33rd and current Governor of South Dakota since 2019. She was the U.S. Representative for South Dakota's at-large congressional district from 2011 to 2019. Before, she was a member of the South Dakota House of Representatives for the 6th district from 2007 to 2011. Noem is a member of the Republican Party.

Noem was elected governor in the 2018 election, beating Billie Sutton.[1] During her time as governor, she became known for her refusal to issue a face mask mandate in South Dakota during the COVID-19 pandemic and for her strict response to protests surrounding the Keystone Pipeline. In 2022, Noem was re-elected by a landslide.

In August 2013, conservative Newsmax magazine named Noem among the "25 most influential women in the GOP".[2] Since early 2024, she has been seen as a possible vice presidential pick for former President Donald Trump's re-election campaign in the 2024 election.[3][4]

Early life[change | change source]

Noem was born in Watertown, South Dakota,[5] and was raised with her siblings on their family ranch and farm in Hamlin County.[6] Noem graduated from Hamlin High School in 1990, and was crowned South Dakota Snow Queen that year.[7]

Noem's father was killed in a farm machinery accident in 1994.[6][8] Noem went to Northern State University from 1990 to 1994, but did not graduate.[8] Her daughter was born in 1994. Noem left college early to run the family farm. She later took classes at the Watertown campus of Mount Marty College and at South Dakota State University, and online classes from the University of South Dakota.[9] She completed her BA in political science at SDSU in 2012 while serving in Congress.[10][6]

State legislature[change | change source]

In 2006, Noem won a seat as a Republican in the South Dakota House of Representatives, representing the 6th district. In 2006, she won with 39% of the vote.[11] In 2008, she was reelected with 41% of the vote.[12]

From 2007 to 2010; she was an assistant majority leader during her second term. During her time as a state representative, Noem was the prime sponsor of 11 bills that became law.[13][14][15]

U.S. House of Representatives[change | change source]

Noem's official congressional portrait, 2013

In 2010, Noem ran for South Dakota's at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.[16] She won the Republican primary with 42 percent of the vote.[17] Noem ran against Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, eventually beating her with 48 percent to 46 percent.[18] She would go on to be re-elected three more times in 2012, 2014 and 2016.[19][20][21]

In March 2011, Republican Representative Pete Sessions of Texas named Noem one of the 12 regional directors for the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2012 election campaign.[6][22] After being elected to Congress, Noem continued her education through online courses. The Washington Post called her Capitol Hill's "most powerful intern" for receiving college intern credits from her position as a member of Congress.[23] She earned a B.A. in political science from South Dakota State University in 2012.[24]

Noem supported looking for other renewable energy options while ending the United States's use of foreign oil.[25][26][27]

Noem supported the Keystone XL Pipeline[28] and supports offshore oil drilling. In 2011, she sponsored a bill to block Environmental Protection Agency funding for tighter air pollution standards.[29] Noem was against a bill by Democratic South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson that would designate over 48,000 acres (190 km2) of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland as protected wilderness.[30]

In March 2011, Noem was against President Barack Obama's plan for the NATO-led military intervention in the 2011 Libyan civil war.[31][32]

Noem is against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and has voted to remove it.[33] She supported cuts to Medicaid.[34]

Governor of South Dakota[change | change source]

On November 14, 2016, Noem announced that she would run for governor of South Dakota in 2018 rather than seek reelection to Congress.[35] She beat South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley in the June 5 Republican primary, 56 to 44 percent.[36] She would go on to beat Democratic nominee Billie Sutton in the general election, 51.0 to 47.6 percent.[37] Noem was sworn in as governor of South Dakota on January 5, 2019, becoming the first woman to hold that office.[38] She was re-elected in 2022, winning 62% of the vote.[39]

Noem in December 2019

Abortion and protests laws[change | change source]

During her time as governor, she was known for her anti-abortion views.[40] She signed several bills making it harder to get an abortion in South Dakota.[41][42] After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, South Dakota became one of the first states to ban abortions.[43] She was also strict with protests surrounding the Keystone Pipeline project.[44] She passed several anti-protest laws and increased policing near the pipeline.[45]

COVID-19 response[change | change source]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Noem at first supported quarantine plans, however when President Donald Trump became more against government's urging lockdowns, she became more critical of lockdowns and quarantine plans.[46] Noem wanted a bill to pass the state house to give power to county and health officials to decide when businesses and schools should close.[46] However, the bill did not pass.[46] She used COVID relief funds from the government to promote the state's tourism, despite it still being unsafe to travel.[47] She did not pass face mask mandates.[48][49] She was one of few governors who had not pass statewide stay-at-home orders or face-mask mandates.[50][51]

Noem with Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence in February 2020

The Republican National Committee supported her response to the pandemic and invited her to speak during the 2020 Republican National Convention.[52] The convention speech made her very popular in the party and made her well known across the country.[53]

In July 2021, Noem criticized other Republican governors for passing mandatory measures against COVID-19 and trying to "rewrite history" about it.[54] She argued that South Dakota had successfully fought off the pandemic, however the state had the 10th-highest death rate and third-highest case rate at that time.[54]

Immigration[change | change source]

In June 2021, Noem announced that she was sending members of the state's national guard to Texas's border with Mexico with the support of Republican donors.[55] On September 22, 2021, the Center for Public Integrity sued the South Dakota National Guard and the U.S. Department of Defense.[56] The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act banned National Guard members from crossing state borders to perform duties paid for by private donors.[57]

Noem in September 2020

Prank call[change | change source]

In 2023, a reporter from Dakota News Now used Noem's personal phone number in a prank call to the former chair of the South Dakota Republican Party. The reporter was fired and Noem asked the U.S. attorney general to investigate the leak of her personal information.[58]

2020 presidential election[change | change source]

Noem claimed that the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden beat Donald Trump, had large levels of voter fraud, even though there was no evidence supports this claim.[59] On December 8, 2020, Noem had acknowledge a Biden administration, but continued to say that the election was not "free and fair."[60][61][62]

After the United States Capitol was attacked by a pro-Trump mob on January 6, 2021, Noem spoke out against the violence, saying, "We are all entitled to peacefully protest. Violence is not a part of that."[63][64] One day after calling for peace after the attack, Noem called the two newly elected Democratic senators from Georgia, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, "communists".[65]

Former President Donald Trump wanted Noem to run against U.S. Senator John Thune for the Republican nomination in the 2022 Senate election because Thune did not support Trump's claims that the 2020 election was stolen.[66] Noem said she did not want to run for the United States Senate in January 2021.[66]

2024 presidential election[change | change source]

At first, Noem was seen as a possible presidential candidate for the 2024 election,[67] but endorsed former President Donald Trump's 2024 campaign in September 2023.[68] In early 2024, Noem was mentioned as a possible running mate for Trump's re-election campaign.[3][4]

Personal life[change | change source]

She married Bryon Noem in 1992, in Watertown, South Dakota.[69] They have three children. Noem is a Protestant.[70]

Noem published her autobiography, Not My First Rodeo: Lessons from the Heartland on June 28, 2022.[71]

On September 15, 2023, the New York Post and the Daily Mail separately published articles saying that Noem had had an ongoing affair with Corey Lewandowski, since at least 2019.[72][73][74][75] Five days later, Noem's spokesperson denied the story.[76]

References[change | change source]

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  2. Meyers, Jim. "Newsmax Exclusive: The 25 Influential Women of the GOP". Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Noem touts her gubernatorial record amid VP speculation: We need 'leaders outside the swamp'". The Hill. Retrieved February 23, 2024.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Kristi Noem Gets Her MAGA Makeover". The New York Times. March 20, 2024. Retrieved April 2, 2024.
  5. "NOEM, Kristi". US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Miller, Emily (February 14, 2011). "Rep. Kristi Noem: Head of the Class". Human Events. Archived from the original on March 19, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  7. Bahr, Jeff (February 3, 2011). "Snow Queen title meant opportunity for Noem". Aberdeen News. Archived from the original on March 29, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
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  9. Schmidt, Matt (June 7, 2019). "Governor Noem". STATE Magazine. South Dakota State University Alumni Association. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  10. O'Keefe, Ed (July 12, 2012). "Rep. Kristi Noem earns her college degree". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on March 31, 2022. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
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  28. Larsen, Kevin (November 18, 2014). "Noem To Continue Fight For Keystone XL". AM 610 KCSR. Chadron, Nebraska. Archived from the original on January 2, 2015. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
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  43. Iyer, Kaanita (July 4, 2022). "South Dakota governor defends state's abortion 'trigger' ban when asked if 10-year-old should be forced to give birth". CNN. Archived from the original on August 28, 2022. Retrieved August 28, 2022.
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Other websites[change | change source]