Looks like Paula Hawks’ non-announcement is coming up soon. Web site is up, but lacks substance, just like the candidate.

It looks like the months-late announcement of Pauls Hawks being Democrats’ sacrificial lamb candidate to run against Congresswoman Kristi Noem is nigh.

Tonight I was able to grab these screen captures of her campaign web site (with logo) from http://www.hawksforhouse.com, which much like Hawks herself, is severely in need of substance to go along with her ambition:

(Just click to enlarge)


Hawks’ Bio notes:

Hello, I am Paula Hawks and I am running to represent South Dakota in the United States House of Representatives.

While growing up north of Flandreau, I was exposed at an early age to the hard work, dedication, and state pride that makes South Dakota such a unique home. My parents, Hugh and Jane Hagel, raised four children on our family farm. We learned early on that to keep the farm running we each had to share the workload. We raised hogs and cattle, and planted and harvested alfalfa, corn and soybeans.

Having grown up in rural South Dakota, I knew how transformative teachers could be to the students of their communities, so I attended college at South Dakota State University where I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Biology along with my teaching certificate.  While I was at SDSU, I was lucky enough to meet my husband, Steve Hawks, a young rancher from Faith South Dakota. We married in 1997 and are now raising our children in Hartford, South Dakota.

After teaching at West Central High School in Hartford for 10 years I realized that the life I had built with my husband and my career as an educator were being impacted greatly by the decisions taking place hundreds of miles away in Pierre. I decided to lend my voice to the process by running for the South Dakota House of Representatives.

– Just as an aside, I note that this paragraph is leaving out that she left her job as a teacher to become a training specialist for METAbank. But I suppose if you’re running for office, it’s more compelling to paint yourself as an educator of children, as opposed to someone telling bank employees how to use the latest update of their banking software.

I believe that the strength of America starts with hard working people and that our economy grows when hard working South Dakota families are given the chance to succeed. I have never been one to shy away from a challenge, and I firmly believe that for our state to prosper in the adverse conditions we are facing as a nation, we need a strong voice in our Nation’s Capital. We need a representative who is not afraid to be an independent voice for our state and we need a representative who is willing to cross the aisle to work for solutions, instead of working to secure political points for the next campaign.

Okay, who wrote this? Is there any originality to it?

So, when Hawks’ ghost writer she says we need a strong voice in Washington, is she going to tell us how as a brand new member of the Democratic minority, she would have a direct hand in the farm bill? Or how she’d get a seat on the ways and means committee, one of the most powerful committees in Congress?  Because we’ve got that NOW.

I’d be interested in finding out how Hawks would envision herself getting anything done. By sucking up to Obama? Because I think we have enough Democrat sycophants in DC already.

South Dakotans have been telling me that our politics in Washington are broken, and honestly, I agree. But, when machinery was broken on our family farm, we knew that it was worth trying to fix before scrapping it all together. I am announcing to you today that I am ready to get to work and that I am prepared to give it my all to fix the mess. It may not be easy, and it may not be fun, but it is necessary. Join our team today. Working together we can bring much needed leadership to Washington D.C.

Washington is broken? Paula – a word to the wise: Mike Rounds called. He’d appreciate a writing credit if you’re going to use his campaign theme. (But a word to the wise, people might point out that it’s last years’ slogan, and they were referring to Obama’s policies when they said that. I’m just sayin’.)

Read the entire bio here, before they go back to the drawing board.

The rest of Hawk’s Congressional campaign web site is similarly devoid of content (Click to enlarge):


I think that’s a picture of kale… And a bunch of nonsensical gobbledygook to take up space while they get the rest of the campaign ready. At least the kale is nominally interesting. Something that won’t likely change when they post other content to it.

I’m sure Democrats had to have somebody to run against the popular Congresswoman Kristi Noem, who is currently standing with 1.2 million cash on hand to put into the campaign. Despite the fact that as we’ve noted here before, Hawks’ political resume is neither wide, nor deep.

Sorry Dems. As you surely know after the last congressional election’s drubbing, if this is what you’ve got. this is what you’ve got. And you just have to play that hand you’re dealt.

Even though you know you’re going to lose all your chips on this one.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: A Disturbing Deal

noem press headerkristi noem headshot May 21 2014A Disturbing Deal
By Rep. Kristi Noem
July 24, 2015

Days after the Obama administration announced it had reached a nuclear deal with Iran, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei told supporters that “even after this deal, our policy toward the arrogant U.S. will not change.”  His uncompromising and menacing remarks were accented by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” in the background.  Even Secretary of State John Kerry – one of America’s staunchest supporters of the deal – called the scene “very disturbing.”  The Secretary’s words are the same words I’d use to describe the deal the Obama administration has proposed with Iran – very disturbing.

First and foremost, the administration’s proposed agreement with Iran fundamentally fails to eliminate Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon. In fact, Iran will be allowed to keep its centrifuges and many of its nuclear production facilities intact.

What’s more, access to inspect the facilities will be limited.  It was President Reagan who advised us to “trust, but verify.”  We cannot trust Iran and under the President’s proposal we still can’t fully verify their nuclear activities either. Rather than anywhere-anytime access, Iran will get as much as 24 days notice before inspectors will be allowed in.  A lot can be concealed in 24 days.

While America’s primary objective was not reached, Iran’s was.  In addition to maintaining their nuclear infrastructure, the economic sanctions on Iran will begin to be lifted by the end of 2015.  That could produce a windfall of up to $150 billion almost immediately.  The administration argues the sanctions could “snap back” if Iran violates the agreement, but it will take time for those sanctions to be reinstated.  By the time they are, Iran will be infused with cash, meaning we will have lost our diplomatic leverage.

Moreover, there are no restrictions on how Iran – the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism – can spend this influx of cash, an idea that is extremely concerning to our ally Israel and others in the region.  With the arms embargo eventually lifting as a result of this deal too, there is little doubt that Iran will be directing some of that cash toward a stronger, better equipped military.  In fact, Iran is already in negotiations with Russia for the purchase of military aircraft.

We need to walk away from this agreement.  While it’s a good deal for Iran, it’s a bad deal for America, Israel, and our allies.

Congress now has 60 days to review the agreement.  After that, we can vote on whether it moves forward or not.  While the President has already promised to veto congressional action against the agreement, we do have options to override him with enough congressional support.

A bad deal with Iran will jeopardize the security of America, the safety of our ally Israel, and peace around the world.  I’m gravely concerned the President’s proposal puts us in this jeopardizing position.


Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Fighting Diabetes with Research

noem press header Fighting Diabetes with Research
By Rep. Kristi Noem
July 17, 2015

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Earlier this month, I met Maddie.  Maddie is 14 years old and from Sioux Falls.  She’s an incredible singer and a dedicated dancer with dreams of appearing on Broadway someday.  And she, like 42,000 South Dakotans, lives with diabetes.

Maddie has lived with Type 1 Diabetes for half her life.  She was only seven when she was diagnosed.  Her parents had noticed a significant uptick in the amount of water Maddie was drinking, and even with the increased water intake, Maddie seemed dehydrated.  It turns out the dehydration came because her kidneys were working overtime and still couldn’t quite keep up.  It was a classic symptom of diabetes.

Maddie has handled her diagnosis incredibly.  When she isn’t singing or dancing or acting, she’s advocating for increased diabetes research.  It was in her role as an advocate – a delegate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Children’s Congress, in fact – that I had the chance to meet her.  Maddie told me that she hopes one day we can find a cure so kids like her don’t have to go through the needles and the poking and the feeling sick that she’s had to go through.

I was glad to tell her that Congress agreed and that we had made funding for diabetes research a priority.  Just this last March, we extended a special program for Type 1 diabetes research as part of H.R.2, which passed Congress and was signed into law by the President.  With more than 1.25 million Americans living with Type 1 Diabetes today – a reality that is costing the U.S. economy $245 billion annually – it’s important we do all we can to fight for a cure.

Just a few weeks ago, Gage – my 10-year-old nephew – was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes too.  His older brother Hunter had been diagnosed with it a few years back.  A few days after Gage got way home from the hospital in Sioux Falls where he learned how to give himself shots and test his blood, he told my sister-in-law: “If God is going to heal me or Hunter, I hope he heals Hunter.  He’s had diabetes a lot longer than me.”  It was an innocent phrase from an incredibly sweet and selfless boy, but I want so badly to be able to tell him one day that because of the incredible work of researchers, he and Hunter can both be healed.

We have a long ways to go before Maddie, Gage, and Hunter can be cured of this disease, but I’m glad we are at least getting closer every day.

Noem Meets With Maddie McElroy
June 15, 2015




Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: To End Poverty, Expand Opportunity

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To End Poverty, Expand Opportunity
By Rep. Kristi Noem
July 10, 2015

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014More than 1,000 South Dakotans, including nearly 300 children, were homeless at some point last year, according to a recent report by the South Dakota Housing for the Homeless.  What is perhaps more shocking is that three of the five lowest-income counties in the country are located in our state.  For many impacted by poverty, it’s been a challenge that has been passed from one generation to the next.  I want to help end that cycle.

Fundamentally, any conversation about ending poverty must begin with a conversation about expanding opportunity. Too often, federal programs fail in this respect.  I believe they need to do more than just help folks avoid the worst hardships; they must also empower people to build a successful career.  Earlier this month, I took steps toward such a goal.

On July 7, I introduced legislation to help reform the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program – or TANF.  By definition, this is a program designed to help struggling families achieve self-sufficiency and financial independence, but it isn’t working and loopholes let some states get away with ineffective spending.

TANF requires states to make sure 50 percent of program recipients participate in work-related activities, such as working, searching for a job, or training for one.  If states spend more than the federal government requires, the 50 percent threshold can be decreased.  In extreme cases, it can be decreased to zero.  Therein lies the loophole.

Some states are counting third-party spending as “state spending” and driving their apparent investments to artificially high levels.  As a result, they don’t need as many TANF recipients to be engaged in work-related activities.  Of note, South Dakota does not game the system in this way; we now need other states to follow our example.

The practice completely dilutes the integrity of TANF by eliminating a key accountability measure.  No longer do states need to achieve what TANF was intended to accomplish in order to receive the federal dollars in full.

My bill simply stops states from counting third-party spending as their own.  States need to make the investment and they need to produce a good outcome.  We need this level of genuine accountability if we are to be successful.

My bill was introduced as part of a broader legislative package that aims to increase the employment of low-income families.  As part of the package, we also introduced more incentives for states to help people get a good job.  We give states more resources to be innovative in how they tackle poverty at home.  We create a clearinghouse for best practices, so good ideas can go farther.

I firmly believe the best way out of poverty is a good job and that’s what these bills are intended to do.  In recent months, we’ve seen the national unemployment rate fall, but those numbers are deceiving because more and more people are dropping out of the workforce.  In fact, the portion of Americans engaged in the workforce today is lower than at any point since Jimmy Carter was president.  That lack of employment is reverberating throughout our economy and stopping us from moving beyond the recession.  The only way to break this cycle is to give folks more opportunities to rise up and out of poverty.


Noem Introduces Legislation to Help Combat Poverty, Promote Financial Independence

noem press headerNoem Introduces Legislation to Help Combat Poverty, Promote Financial Independence

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem introduced H.R.2959, the TANF Accountability and Integrity Improvement Act, which aims to improve the outcomes of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  This bill was introduced as part of a larger poverty-reduction package that was unveiled today.

“Any program aimed at ending poverty must fundamentally expand opportunity,” said Noem.  “Unfortunately, loopholes within TANF have diluted the program’s integrity and its effectiveness in helping struggling families move up and out of poverty.  By bringing genuine accountability back into the TANF program through H.R.2959, I’m hopeful we can improve outcomes and ensure more families achieve financial independence.”

TANF requires states to ensure 50% of program recipients participate in work-related activities, such as working, searching for a job, or training for one.  If states spend more than the federal government requires, the 50% threshold can be decreased.  In extreme cases, the threshold can be reduced to 0%.

Some states are counting third-party spending as “state spending” and driving their apparent investments to artificially high levels.  As a result, those states don’t need as many TANF recipients to be engaged in work-related activities in order to continue receiving full federal funding.  Under H.R.2959, states could no longer count spending by third parties as state spending, meaning states would need to engage more adults in work-related activities in exchange for federal benefits, as the program was originally intended.

Of note, South Dakota does not count third-party spending as state spending in order to reduce the portion of TANF recipients engaged in work-related activities.

“We need to ensure other states follow South Dakota’s example,” continued Noem.  “By continuing to engage participants in work activities at the level intended, the state has upheld the integrity of the program and ensured the support we provide through TANF is support that really helps struggling families.”


Noem Drives Forward Amendment to Protect D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery

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Noem Drives Forward Amendment to Protect D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014 Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem offered an amendment to the Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act late last night to prohibit funds from being used to close the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery, effectively protecting the Spearfish facility from closure through FY2016 if enacted.  The House unanimously adopted the amendment and is expected to vote on passage later this week.

“As one of the oldest fisheries in the country, the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery is a critical piece of living history. It’s disappointing to think we may lose it because of irresponsible bureaucratic decisions,” said Noem.  “While I will continue driving efforts to find a permanent solution for D.C. Booth, I’m hopeful this amendment will pave the way and ensure the economic and educational benefits offered by D.C. Booth are preserved long into the future.”

More than 155,000 people visit the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery in Spearfish each year. The facility currently houses 175,000 artifacts that are open and accessible to the public and researchers from across the country.  Nonetheless, the Fish and Wildlife Service has submitted a proposal to move a portion of the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery Archives located at the Spearfish facility to the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

“D.C. Booth is a very unique hatchery in the fact that it houses the National Fish Hatchery System archive and serves as America’s gathering place for things related to our nation’s rich fisheries past,” said April Gregory, Executive Director of the Booth Society.  “We are incredibly grateful to Rep. Noem for recognizing this rich history and continuing to work to preserve our mission and facility for an additional year and into the future.”


Congresswoman Noem’s Weekly Column: Taking a Swing at Breast Cancer

noem press headerTaking a Swing at Breast Cancer
By Rep. Kristi Noem
July 2, 2015

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014I have known Lynn Popham for a long time – more than two decades, I suppose.  We’ve spent hours together at ball games, rodeos, and our kids’ school events.  She’s an incredible mom to two young men, a hard worker, a trusted neighbor, and a tremendous asset to our community.  Last December, Lynn learned she had Stage 2 breast cancer.

This year alone, approximately 230,000 women are expected to learn that they too must fight breast cancer, according to the latest American Cancer Society data.  Just over 2,000 men will also have to battle the disease.  Each of these journeys will come with highs and lows, but I have to say that so far, Lynn has weathered her diagnosis and treatments with an unbelievably positive attitude.  While she has a ways to go in her journey with breast cancer, I believe her strength and perseverance for the first leg of the race deserves recognition.  This summer, I had the opportunity to give Lynn some of that well-deserved recognition.

Each year, women in Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – join to play in the Congressional Women’s Softball Game against female members of the press corps.  We do it as a way to increase awareness about breast cancer and help raise funds for the Young Survival Coalition, an organization that supports the women who have been diagnosed and helps move us closer to a cure.  This year, I was proud to play in honor of Lynn.

Through events like this and the dedication of groups like the Young Survival Coalition, we have increased Americans’ awareness about breast cancer to historic levels.  One of the tangible benefits of that work has been an increase in the number of mammograms. In fact, while just 29 percent of women had gotten a mammogram in 1987, 67 percent of women had gotten one in 2010.  Lynn was one of those women.

The increase in mammography has helped more women detect their cancer early, which in turn has boosted survival rates.  The American College of Radiology reports that mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the United States by nearly one-third since 1990.

As a result of early-detection efforts and stronger science, there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States today.  That’s incredible.  Please join me in taking a swing against breast cancer this summer.  Find a way to support women like Lynn and their families.  Put together an early detection plan for yourself – the National Breast Cancer Foundation has a tool that can help at www.earlydetectionplan.org.  Or support one of the many organizations fighting for a cure.  Together, we can beat breast cancer.


Thune, Rounds & Noem note – USDA to Pautre Fire Victims: We’re Not Responsible

USDA to Pautre Fire Victims: We’re Not Responsible

USDA Fails to Acknowledge Negligence and Pay for Damages Resulting From Pautre Fire

John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressWASHINGTON, D.C.– U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today expressed their frustration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (FS), and Office of General Counsel’s (OGC) refusal to determine that FS employees were negligent when they started a prescribed burn in April 2013, which due to extremely dry and windy conditions, burned out of control. The devastating Pautre fire consumed 16,000 acres of standing grass on public and private pasture land and damaged or destroyed fences, bales of forage, buildings, and trees.

As a result of USDA’s refusal to determine negligence, all Pautre fire claims will be denied by FS. However, claimants may file suit against the federal government in U.S. district court within six months of the date they received their determination letters.

“I’m disappointed that the USDA has refused to acknowledge negligence and accept responsibility for the out-of-control Pautre fire that had such a devastating impact on property in northern South Dakota,” said Thune. “USDA’s denial leaves many South Dakota farmers and ranchers – who have already waited more than two years for a USDA decision – with the inability to have their claims resolved any time soon. We must prevent situations like these from occurring in the future, which is why I’ve introduced the Prescribed Burn Approval Act of 2015 that would require a federal agency to timely pay for losses that result from an out-of-control fire that it starts.”

“The impact of the Pautre fire will be felt by South Dakotans for many years to come,” said Rounds. “I MikeRounds official Senateam surprised that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and Office of General Counsel have denied responsibility and relief to the South Dakota farmers and ranchers affected by the fire. It is my hope that South Dakotans will still be able to recover their losses through other legal avenues available to them.”

“I have been disappointed by the federal government’s snail-paced decision-making process over the last 26 months, but the USDA’s refusal to take responsibility for the Pautre Fire damages is unbelievable,” said Noem. “Whether the USDA admits it or not, South Dakota farmers and ranchers lost thousands of dollars’ worth of fences, buildings, bales, tree rows, and more as a result of the federal government’s actions. We must make sure disasters like this kristi noem headshot May 21 2014are prevented in the future, but that is going to require the federal government to admit to and reconcile previous mistakes.”

Earlier this month, the delegation wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging the USDA, FS, and OGC to determine negligence and accept responsibility for the fire so victims’ claims could be processed.

The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) provides claimants two years from the date of an incident to submit claims against the government. The FTCA generally holds the federal government liable when federal employees commit acts of negligence in the course of their employment.

Thune’s legislation, which was introduced earlier this year, is designed to help prevent reckless prescribed burns, similar to the Pautre and Cold Brook fires. The legislation would require appropriate collaboration between federal and local officials before initiating a prescribed burn on federal lands when fire danger is high.



Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: This Independence Day

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This Independence Day
By Rep. Kristi Noem
June 26, 2015

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014How different the fourth of July must have been in 1776. Today, it’s a loud celebration with fireworks, parades, and excitement.  But I imagine a much quieter and reflective tone in 1776.  Yes, John Adams had written that in the future our independence “ought to be commemorated … with shows, games, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other.”  But we still had a war to win against the British.  And for the next seven years, we battled to secure our independence and protect our rights, among them “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

There have been so many times over the last few years that I’ve seen these liberties once again tested and strained by an intrusive federal government.  The President’s health care law, for instance, took control away from families and put our healthcare options – and our wallets – into the hands of bureaucrats.  The Environmental Protection Agency repeatedly seeks out new regulations that threaten to increase our electricity bills or erode our property rights, as a new “Waters of the U.S.” rule could do.  The government is telling our schools what ought to be put on lunch trays and targeting certain groups that speak out against an even bigger federal government.  It has to stop.

My focus each and every day is to reverse this trend and to make sure you’re in control.  We’ve made some progress, although we still have a long way to go.  When the Department of Labor tried to ban some kids from doing certain farm work on their relative’s or neighbor’s farms, I put pressure on them and they withdrew the rule.  When OSHA tried to regulate small family farms, we got them to reverse course.  When the President’s health care law sought to ration care for seniors, we gutted the finances for the program and continue to fight for its full repeal.

Independence Day is yet another reminder of why we need to keep fighting for a smarter government – a government that opens opportunities for every American and protects our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  During this year’s Independence Day celebrations, I encourage you to take on our Founding Father’s quieter and reflective tone – if only for a moment.  Consider the battle they fought, the declarations of liberty they made, and the journey we have yet to finish.

I am so proud to live in this country – a country where anything can happen because we have the freedom to pursue our American Dream.  We each share the responsibility of keeping it that way.

From my family to yours, have a safe and happy Independence Day.


Noem Statement on King v. Burwell Decision

noem press header Noem Statement on King v. Burwell Decision

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on King v. Burwell:

“I will not be deterred by today’s decision.  The President’s health care law is bad policy – plain and simple.  Thousands of South Dakotans have already suffered the consequences of this law and there’s no sign of those burdens lifting.  Many in our state have lost access to their preferred doctors and health insurance plans.  Others remain caught in the confusion and complexity of the law.  Still others are grappling with the fact that their family’s health costs are scheduled to skyrocket again next year.  South Dakotans deserve better. We will continue to work toward a patient-centered alternative that will finally repeal the President’s health care law and replace it with a health policy that works for American families.”