Former Noem staffer starts war of words, attacks Governor and others, earns sharp rebuke from Governor’s spokesman

Caroline Woods, spouse to Family Heritage Alliance director Norman Woods, and a Noem staffer for a time, came out in the Rapid City Journal this past week with an editorial that took a surprising swipe at her former boss for taking a more measured approach on last years’ transgender participation in sports issue:

First, let’s start with last year’s women’s sports bill that promoted fairness in women’s sports. The South Dakota legislature put this strong bill on Gov. Noem’s desk prohibiting biological males from competing in women’s sports. It protected girls in K12 sports and college. She tweeted that she was “excited” to sign the bill. Well, she quickly changed her mind. She reversed course after getting woke pressure from people including Matt McCaulley, who double-dips as a Sandford Health lobbyist and a paid advisor to Gov. Noem, and D.C. elitist, Corey Lewandowski, who is just plain creepy.

Read the entire column here.

The entire column just popped up out of the blue without any prior indication of criticism on the issue from Woods, especially given the harsh tone. Which the mainstream media ate up, because of its anti-Noem tone.

But the coverage also afforded the Governor’s people the opportunity to clap back hard:

In a statement to Fox News, Noem communications director Ian Fury described Thorman Woods as a “disgruntled former staffer.”

“This op-ed is filled with misinformation and outright lies. It comes from a disgruntled former staffer that moved to SD [South Dakota] from DC and only worked in the governor’s office briefly,” said Fury. “This op-ed reflects more work than she did in her seven short months working here. Her DC agenda did not reflect SD values, and we were happy to see her go.”

And..

“Given HB 1217’s problematic provisions, there was a higher risk of the entire bill being enjoined if South Dakota were to be sued by the NCAA. If that had happened, no girls in South Dakota would have been protected (at K-12 or collegiate level),” he said. “Now that other states have linked arms, as Gov. Noem urged at the time, she is excited to protect girls’ sports at both the K-12 and collegiate level, just as she’s done with her executive orders.”

Read it all here.

State House & Senate trying to improve relations this session

After some policy disagreements over the past year, House and Senate Leadership are at least publicly telling reporters that they are trying to get along better this session, according to the Argus Leader:

To some House Republicans, Schoenbeck has been the architect of the Senate’s success in policy differences with the House.

Schoenbeck said he and Gosch are trying to set a new tone this session.

“There were obviously some bumpy roads last year,” he said. “I would tell you that this year has absolutely started off on a different foot. We’ve been texting each other, but I’m not saying we’re dating.”

Unlike the fractious Republican caucus in the House, Schoenbeck said Senate Republicans have been cohesive and fearless.

Read it all here.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Pain in in the Pocketbook

Pain in the Pocketbook
by US Senator John Thune
January 14, 2022

Year-over-year inflation reached 7 percent in December – its highest level in 40 years. That’s seven straight months in which inflation has been higher than 5 percent. As South Dakotans struggle to keep up with steep increases in grocery prices, fuel prices, and heating bills, this record-high inflation is taking a major toll on the pocketbooks of families and those living on a fixed income. Despite growing wages throughout 2021, Americans have now experienced a de facto pay cut as they watch their wage growth get eroded by rising costs. 

Families aren’t the only ones on the receiving end of the inflation pain. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, high inflation is a top concern of small business owners across the nation, likely due to the fact that annualized inflation for wholesale goods increased by a staggering 9.7 percent, which affects business owners and families alike.

At its most basic level, inflation is created when there are too many dollars chasing too few goods in the economy. What we’re seeing today is a textbook example of it. When Democrats took office last January, inflation was at 1.4 percent. That was well within what most economists would consider to be an acceptable range – what’s commonly called the target inflation rate. And it could have stayed there had Democrats not decided to pass a massive multi-trillion-dollar government spending spree under the guise of COVID relief – passing it mere weeks after Congress had just approved a major COVID relief bill targeted toward actual COVID needs. That unnecessary government spending, of course, had serious economic consequences: a soaring inflation crisis with no clear end in sight.

Any level-headed person would think that the economic pain Americans continue to experience after months of rising prices would give Democrats pause. They would be wrong, though, because Democrats actually spent most of last year trying to double down on their reckless tax-and-spending strategy that helped lead to the inflation crisis we’re seeing today.

President Biden and congressional Democrats seem to believe that they can’t be bothered to pay attention to a real crisis – one that has real economic consequences for South Dakota families. Instead, Democrats in Washington are focused on passing their radical agenda that is full of heavy-handed and government-knows-best policies. I am hopeful that the shocking inflation numbers that were just released will resonate with Democrats and help redirect their attention to issues that are draining Americans’ pocketbooks.

It’s time for Democrats to recognize that families, small businesses, and our broader economy cannot afford any more reckless government spending.

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Congressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Column: Voting is a Sacred Right

Voting is a Sacred Right
by Congressman Dusty Johnson
January 14, 2022

Sunday night, New York City passed a law that will allow noncitizens (green card holders and DACA recipients) the right to vote in municipal elections. More than 800,000 noncitizens will now be eligible to vote. This is a serious mistake. 

Nor is this an isolated incident. San Francisco passed a similar measure back in 2018 to allow noncitizens, including those without legal status, to vote in school board elections.  Additionally, College Park, Maryland; Montpelier and Winooski, both in Vermont, have allowed noncitizens to vote in municipal elections as well. 

Voting is a sacred honor, and we should vehemently protect the voting rights of legal citizens. But allowing non-citizens to vote waters down the value of citizenship. If we allow everyone to vote, we diminish the hard work of those who spent years becoming a naturalized citizen. Why should we give citizens of other countries power in setting the policies of American governments?

Free, fair, and accountable elections are vital to the survival of our democracy, and lawful American citizens should never be denied the right to vote. I believe in protecting election integrity, and laws and policies like that of New York City, threaten that objective. Simply put, only Americans should vote in American elections. 

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Governor Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Fairness in Girls’ Sports Matters 

Fairness in Girls’ Sports Matters
By Governor Kristi Noem
January 14, 2022

This week, the 2022 legislative session kicked off, and I presented my State of the State address to the people of South Dakota. I described how South Dakota is stronger than it has ever been in its 133-year history. This did not happen because of what government did. It happened because of what government did NOT do. To preserve what we have and grow even stronger, we need to remember why government exists in the first place – to protect the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  

One way a young girl exercises her liberty is on the fields and in the gyms of South Dakota: playing basketball, swimming competitively, and running track, just to name a few popular sports here in the Mount Rushmore state. It is in playing sports that a young girl can learn how to achieve and how to succeed. But some in our society want to take those opportunities to succeed away from our young women.  Some schools and organizations across the country have sought to take away their freedom to achieve by changing the rules of the games.  

When our children participate in sports and activities, they learn valuable lessons like teamwork, perseverance, and hustle. For many activities, the playing field is level for boys and girls: debate, theater, and academic competitions, to name a few. But for other activities, the playing field is not equal between boys and girls because of basic, common-sense biology.   

Allyson Felix is an American track and field star. She has won 25 Olympic and World Championship medals, including 17 gold medals, the most of any track and field athlete ever – male or female. She specialized in the 400-meter race, with a lifetime best of forty-nine-point-two-six seconds. Yet HUNDREDS of high school aged boys have run faster times than that. Common sense tells us why. Boys’ and girls’ bodies are biologically different.  

In South Dakota, only girls can play in girls’ sports according to the executive orders I signed almost a year ago. To advance that action even further, earlier this month I asked the Legislature to introduce my bill ensuring fairness in girls’ sports. 

Congress passed Title IX years ago to guarantee that girls have a level playing field on which they can succeed — to ensure their liberty to achieve. They can win high school championships, maybe earn scholarships, maybe even go on to play professional sports. We need to protect the freedom of our young girls to go out there and do it.   

How do we achieve this through the legislature? 

We will establish a framework that will allow parents to challenge schools that allow students who are born male at birth to compete in girls’ sports. The legislation I am proposing includes the ability for a parent to hold schools accountable in court. Parents will be able to sue to play, not to pay. This is not about creating financial windfalls — it is about ensuring parents have the tools to fight for their daughter’s ability to compete on a level playing field.  

This issue matters to me for many reasons. I participated in high school sports. I wasn’t as good as my two daughters, Kassidy and Kennedy, who both played college sports. If my girls had competed against men, their ability to compete would have been dramatically limited. Participating in college sports teaches teamwork, leadership, work ethic, and grit. It develops talent and skills. I would not have wanted my daughters to miss out on such an opportunity. 

 I have led the charge on this issue for years. When the USDA tried to force boys and girls to compete against each other in 4-H Rodeo, I led the fight to protect fairness for girls.  And we won in 2018 because we approached the fight in a smart way.  

Now we will make sure we have the strongest law in the country. 

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Flags at Half-Staff at State Capitol in Honor of Former Supreme Court Justice Richard Sabers

Flags at Half-Staff at State Capitol in Honor of Former Supreme Court Justice Richard Sabers

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem ordered that flags be flown at half-staff at the State Capitol from sunrise until sunset on Monday, January 17 in honor of former State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sabers.

A funeral mass for Richard will take place at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Sioux Falls at 11 am on Monday, January 17.

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Sanford Health COVID update – a few more hospitalized, and a troubling trend.

I missed it earlier this week, but here’s the Sanford Health update on those who have been hospitalized for COVID 19.  Big thing I notice in comparison to last week,  The number of people who have been vaccinated as a percentage of those being hospitalized seems to be going up.

Which leads to some concern of whether the base vaccination is as effective against variants. The stats don’t mention the booster, but, that would be good to know.

If you don’t have the vaccination, the statistics show you’re at a far greater risk to get quite ill. Won’t happen to everyone, but it is happening, and you might end up in the hospital.   Or you could try to self treat with sheep dewormer, and have people suggest you drink urine. (Seriously, I’m not kidding. That’s the nutty treatment du jour).

The choice is yours.

Rave Announces Candidacy for District 25 State Senate

RAVE ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR DISTRICT 25 STATE SENATE

Baltic, SD – Lisa Rave announced her candidacy for the South Dakota District 25 State Senate for the upcoming 2022 election cycle.

“With over 30 years of experience as a pharmacist, I believe my perspective and unique background in both healthcare and business will have a positive impact on resolving the challenges faced by the citizens of our state,” said Rave.

Rave earned a B.S. in Pharmacy from South Dakota State University and Master’s in Business from the University of Sioux Falls. She works as a pharmacist in information technology at Avera with a background in retail and home delivery pharmacy. She served on the South Dakota Board of Pharmacy from 2010 until 2019 and is currently serving as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Heartland Consumers Power District.

Rave plans to focus on constituent issues and continuing the limited government, pro-business policies that attract people and businesses to South Dakota. “As a life-long resident, I believe South Dakota is an ideal place to raise a family, start and grow a business, and retire. Now, more than ever, we need legislators with strong leadership skills to invest in the state and preserve the way of life we love.”

A Republican, Lisa and her husband Tim live outside Baltic, near the family farm where she grew up. They’re blessed to have their daughter, son-in-law, and son reside in the area along with much of their extended family.

“It would be an honor to be elected to represent the voters of District 25 and I would appreciate their support in the upcoming election cycle,” added Rave.

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Dems announce D10 Slate of Legislative Candidates

Democrats have announced some of their first candidates for the state legislature, with a full slate for District 10.

Interestingly, State Democrats are reserving their one current office holder in the District and keeping State Rep. Erin Healy in the House, preferring to offer up Liz Larson who lost to Jack Kolbeck in 2020 in the State Senate race.

Larson will likely be facing Republican State Senator Maggie Sutton, who will be campaigning to retain the seat.