A Typical Day
By Rep. Kristi Noem
January 2, 2015
When Congress is in session, I stay out in Washington, D.C. Like a handful of other Members of Congress, I have a pullout bed in my office so I don’t have to waste time getting through city traffic every day.
Throughout each day in session, we vote on a series of bills. Sometimes those bills will impact millions of people; other times, they impact only certain communities. Either way, I cast my vote in the way I believe best represents South Dakota’s values and interests. At the end of each vote, the vote tally will be displayed in the House chamber on equipment manufactured by Daktronics in Brookings, South Dakota, to let Members of Congress know if the bill passed or failed.
Placing votes only accounts for a small portion of my day, however. Most of my time is spent preparing for such decisions, educating myself on the issues I’ll be weighing in on, and helping write the legislation that we vote on.
During the early morning hours, I usually try to catch up on any news that happened overnight and prepare for the meetings I’ll have that day. Some mornings, I’ll join my colleagues to meet with House leadership so we can weigh in on what policy areas we believe should be pursued in the weeks to come. We’ll also discuss reservations folks have about pending legislation and how those concerns can be addressed.
Throughout the week, congressional hearings or briefings are scheduled where I can collect information to help inform future legislative action or oversee the implementation of previously passed bills. We will bring in witnesses – who may be members of the administration, private stakeholders, or experts in the area – to give testimony and answer any questions Members of Congress may have. This is always a good time for me to hold the administration accountable for their actions and assess what changes should be made to ensure government programs work better for hardworking Americans.
For me, the best part of every day is the meetings I hold with South Dakotans. Most weeks, I meet one-on-one with dozens of constituents to listen to their concerns and calls to action. These meetings – along with the perspectives shared with my office over the phone and in writing – play a tremendous role in the decisions I make.
About once a week, I spend time with reporters, offering them updates on my work and allowing them to question me on the actions I’ve taken. I firmly believe it’s my responsibility to share with you what I work on from week-to-week and this is one way that I accomplish that.
In the evenings, I finish up letters and emails to South Dakotans who write in with questions or feedback. It’s also my time to reflect on what ideas I can bring to the table and the kind of fixes needed to address the problems our nation faces.
When Congress isn’t in session, I head back to South Dakota where I hold meetings with constituents, visit local businesses and schools, and try to make it to at least a few of my kids’ basketball games.
I understand that I’ve been placed in this position to serve the people of South Dakota and I have never forgotten that. This week, I will take an oath of office to launch a third term as South Dakota’s representative in the House. It’s a responsibility I do not take lightly and one that I spend every day trying to fulfill.
It’s been an honor and privilege serving you the last four years and I wholeheartedly look forward to serving you again this year.