South Dakota Democrats react to Governor Noem’s State of the State Address

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release)- Following Tuesday’s State of the State address by Governor Kristi Noem, South Dakota Democratic legislators provided the following statements:

Sen. Reynold Nesiba (Minnehaha County)

“There is much that South Dakota Democrats and the Governor agree. We applaud her deepening commitment to taking care of new moms and children in the first 1,000 days of life. We too believe in the dignity of work, respect for all, and are committed to freedom. We also want to enhance South Dakota’s outdoor way of life while creating more opportunities for our ranchers, farmers, and business owners.

“However, the Governor’s commitment to new life in South Dakota makes one wonder why she continues to oppose Pre-K education and to oppose state funding to address our childcare crisis. She also opposed accepting federal dollars to reduce child hunger during the summer that would be consistent with her support for families.

“And on some points, we simply disagree. The governor brags that we pay the cost of background checks for concealed permit applicants. We use revenue generated in part from infant formula and baby food to pay for that. That’s simply wrong.”

Rep. Oren Lesmeister (Dewey County)

“The Governor says freedom works here, and we’re spending all of this money on advertising. Why don’t we spend those same dollars to help bring our in state Native American population into the workforce.”

Rep. Kameron Nelson (Minnehaha County)

“The Governor offered many generalities in her state of the state address. She continues to use ‘freedom’ as a dog-whistle to push conservative policies in our State and attract new freedom-loving Americans. Democrats love freedom too.

“The Governor overlooked the tragic loss of lives during the pandemic as she touted the freedom to work. There was no mention of federal stimulus dollars that have coursed through South Dakota over the last 3 years to bolster our economic recovery and the strong economy that she touts. South Dakota has seen a 3.2% increase in personal income growth, and yet our state median income has decreased. Not as strong as the Governor makes it out to be.

“Once again, Governor Noem insists on refusing federal funds to feed hungry children in South Dakota, update our cybersecurity and make South Dakota competitive across the nation. Our Democratic caucus will prioritize an individual’s right to access healthcare and earn a living wage as well as support our Native communities, provide opportunities for the best education, and build a South Dakota for everyone.”