By Christopher Harper
If you want some common sense in this uncommon time, you should look toward South Dakota and its governor, Kristi Noem.
I have a strong fondness for South Dakota since I went to high school there and wrote a book about my teenage cronies.
But Noem makes sense when it comes to politics and policies.
At 49, she’s a rising star in the GOP and may have enough heft to seek the presidency in 2024. She served from 2007 to 2001 in the South Dakota legislature and then eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives until she became the state’s first female government in 2019.
During the pandemic, she took a rational approach to COVID-19. She did not implement face mask mandates and left communities the flexibility to do so. She expressed her doubts about mask-wearing for children because of studies on the decreased risk from exposure to the virus. As a result, she encouraged schools to stay open.
When vaccines became available, South Dakota’s distribution system was so flawless that The Wall Street Journal dubbed Noem “The Vaccine Queen.”
Noem is a pro-life, fiscal conservative who has railed against federal spending, such as the recent stimulus package.
She said she believes the package “bails out those states that shut down their economies” and “rewards them for making people stay in their homes and for taking away a business’ right to be open and take care of their customers and their employees.
“So it’s incredibly detrimental to our state because we made the right decisions. We trusted people,” she said. “We have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and are tied for it with Nebraska, and we’re getting through this together.”
Noem complained that the package rewards Democrat strongholds like California, Illinois, and New York and punishes Republican states like South Dakota.
When MSNBC’s Joy Reid recently did a hit job, attacking Noem and the public event she attended last year at Mount Rushmore with President Trump, the South Dakota governor didn’t take back down.
“Some of today’s radical Left just hates America–and rather than being shunned, the most toxic voices are rewarded with TV shows and newspaper columns. Criticism of my policies isn’t enough. They must also attack America’s history and most basic institutions,” she told supporters. “I will fight back by doubling down on conservative principles. I’m only a target because we’ve been effective, and this is no time to let up.”
Kristi Noem talks common sense. It’s what makes her a serious possibility for 2024.