DES MOINES, Iowa – As Gov. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., took the stage at the Family Leadership Summit 2021, she was quick to commend Gov. Kim Reynolds, R-Iowa. This opening set the tone for the rest of her remarks. Noem’s time on stage offered her a chance to introduce herself to Iowans.
Noem spoke about growing up in South Dakota with a John Waynesque cowboy of a father, and the hard work ethic she learned along the way. Her father’s death was what later prompted her entrance into politics:
“He [Noem’s father] was killed in an accident when he was 49 years old and our whole life changed at that point in time. I was still in college but ended up coming home and becoming the general manager of the operation. But we got hit with death taxes, and we had a lot of land, we had a lot of machinery and cattle…but we didn’t have any money in the bank. It made me angry, and so people asked how I got involved in government, politics – it was because of that, it was that we really needed to show up and have an impact on the country.”
She continued her remarks by speaking about her goal of building strong families. She noted that the state of South Dakota passed eight pro-life bills in 2021 and that she has a staff member on her team who bears the title “unborn advocate.” Noem spoke about the regulatory and tax reform the state had undergone, and her support of law enforcement.
Going on to highlight the state of South Dakota before, during, and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, Noem noted:
“And we were the only state that didn’t close a single business and never defined what an essential business was because frankly, I didn’t believe governors had the authority to tell you your business wasn’t essential. We didn’t shelter in place, we didn’t mandate it or anything – we just trusted people and today in South Dakota we have the least amount of hours lost by any worker in the country.”
She continued to highlight some outcomes of those decisions:
“[We have the] least amount of wages lost by any worker in the country, least amount of businesses are closed because of the pandemic, our unemployment is 2.9 percent and we have the fastest-growing GDP rate in the country at 9.9 percent. Thousands of people are moving to South Dakota – they’re not moving because of our weather. They’re moving because they want to be like us, they want to live somewhere where the government respects them…We just did what conservatives have always said that they believed – we just did it and we proved that it worked, and South Dakota has been an example to the nation.”
Noem concluded her remarks by speaking about her Christian faith. She then led the audience in a rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic before exiting the stage.
Governor @KristiNoem closes her time on stage at #FLS21 by leading the audience in singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. pic.twitter.com/Nzy3CeJqVu
— The Iowa Torch (@IowaTorch) July 16, 2021
Listen to Noem’s full remarks below: