Congresswoman Noem’s Weekly Column: Passport Needed ASAP

noem press header kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Passport Needed ASAP
By Rep. Kristi Noem

As though weddings aren’t stressful enough, international weddings can put an entirely new twist in the planning process.  Earlier this year, our office in Sioux Falls received a call from a panicked mother-of-the-bride.  She and her husband were leaving the very next day for their daughter’s destination wedding, but her husband’s passport was expired.  We picked up the phone and immediately got in touch with a U.S. State Department hub in Minneapolis.  About 24 hours later, the father-of-the-bride was on a plane and able to walk his daughter down the aisle.

Believe it or not, this kind of thing happens often.  Last year alone, our office helped more than 600 South Dakotans navigate federal agencies like this.  Sometimes it was because a person just forgot their passport had expired.  In other cases, however, there were problems with Social Security, Medicare, Tricare, or Veterans Administration (VA) benefits.  At other times, a family was looking to grow through an international adoption or a small business wanted to expand with a loan from the Small Business Administration.  While we always hope these interactions with the federal government go smoothly and that you are treated with the respect you deserve, that isn’t always the case.  In the instances where things don’t go as planned, our office is here to help. 

While we can’t guarantee a favorable outcome in every situation, we will do our best to ensure you receive a fair and timely response.  It’s our way of making sure the federal government remembers who it is accountable to.  And if you ask me, that is one of the most important functions of a congressional office. 

Please know our door is always open.  We have office locations in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Watertown, if you ever want to stop by and visit with someone in person.  We also have a regular staff presence in Aberdeen and Pierre.  Additionally, our staff travels to smaller towns throughout the year where they will meet with local businesses and city officials, but also make themselves available if you need help.  Of course, we can always be accessed online at noem.house.gov or by calling toll-free 855-225-2801.

The bottom line is this:  whether you’re looking to walk your daughter down the aisle or into an appointment at the VA, know that our office is here to try to make that happen.

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