Legislation and Leadership
By Rep. Kristi Noem
February 13, 2015
It’s that time of year when I have the opportunity to address the South Dakota State Legislature – a body I was once a part of. When I meet with them this Thursday, I’ll be talking a lot about opportunity and the state and federal collaboration that must occur to ensure every hardworking South Dakotan has the chance to get ahead.
Today, South Dakota sits as an example for the nation, due in part to the commonsense policies that come out of the state legislature year after year. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and consistently earn recognition as the one of the best states to do business. We keep our taxes low and minimize the regulatory burden on family farms and job creators. We put South Dakotans in control of their future and we’ve flourished as a result. I was proud to play a role in facilitating that kind of economy as a member of the South Dakota State House and I’m working hard to bring those same values to the U.S. Congress.
There’s a lot of work that must be done – on both the state and the federal level. Our budgets must get balanced. Infrastructure projects must be funded. Human trafficking has to be stopped. The federal tax code must be simplified. Trade agreements must be signed. And to achieve any of it, common ground must be found. That will require strong leadership.
This week, we celebrate the birthday of one of our nation’s strongest leaders, President George Washington. He reminded us that, “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” To produce real results, we need to start with an understanding that neither the state nor the federal government builds an economy or creates jobs. People do. When lawmakers sign a bill, they aren’t signing a paycheck. They’re simply helping to create an environment where if you work hard and play by the rules, you will get ahead. This is the message I’ll be sharing with the state legislature this week.
It’s hard to believe it’s been more than five years since I represented District 6 in the South Dakota House of Representatives. It’s an experience – and a lesson in leadership – that I carry with me to this day.