People

Kristi Noem – biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

IntroAmerican politician: governor of South Dakota
Known for33rd governor of South Dakota
Is Politician 
Rancher 
Model 
Beauty pageant contestant 
Farmer 
Cattle rancher 
Agriculturist 
From United States of America 
Type Fashion 
Science 
Politics 
Genderfemale
Birth 30 November 1971, Watertown, Codington County, South Dakota, USA
Age:48 years
Star sign Sagittarius
Politics Republican Party
Education
South Dakota State UniversityBachelor of Arts2011
Mount Marty College
Northern State University1990-1992

Kristi Lynn Noem (/nm/; née Arnold, November 30, 1971) is an American politician serving as the 33rd and current governor of South Dakota since 2019. A member of the Republican Party, she was the U.S. Representative for South Dakota’s at-large congressional district from 2011 to 2019 and a member of the South Dakota House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011. Noem was elected governor in 2018 and is South Dakota’s first female governor.

Early life, education and farming career

Kristi Arnold was born to Ron and Corrine Arnold in Watertown, South Dakota and raised with her siblings on the family ranch and farm in rural Hamlin County. She graduated from Hamlin High School in 1990, and won the South Dakota Snow Queen title. She credited the experience with helping her polish her public speaking and promotional skills. After high school, she enrolled at Northern State University. She married Bryon Noem at age 20.

At 22, Noem left college to help run her family’s ranch after her father was killed in a farm machinery accident. Over the years, Noem added a hunting lodge and restaurant to the property, and all her siblings have moved back to help expand the businesses.

After her father’s accident, Noem stopped attending college full-time but, over the years, took classes at the Watertown campus of Mount Marty College and at South Dakota State University. After being elected to Congress, she continued her education, taking online courses and receiving credits for her work as a representative – leading the Washington Post to sarcastically dub her Capitol Hill’s “Most Powerful Intern.” She earned a B.A. in political science from South Dakota State University in 2012.

South Dakota House of Representatives

Elections

In 2006, she won a seat in the South Dakota House of Representatives representing the 6th District (comprising parts of Beadle, Clark, Codington, Hamlin, and Kingsbury counties, but not including Watertown). In 2006, she won with 39% of the vote. In 2008, she was reelected to a second term with a plurality of 41%.

Tenure

Noem served for four years, from 2007 to 2010; she was an Assistant Majority Leader during her last year. In 2009 and 2010 she sponsored bills to lower the age of compulsory education in South Dakota to 16, after it had been raised to 18 in 2008, arguing that requiring school attendance until age 18 has not been proven to improve graduation rates. Supporters of the higher age argue that it increases graduation rates and motivates students who would otherwise drop out.

Committee assignments

  • State Affairs Committee
  • Taxation Committee

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2010

In 2010, Noem ran for South Dakota’s at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. She won the Republican primary with a plurality of 42% of the vote against South Dakota Secretary of State Chris Nelson and State Representative Blake Curd. Her primary opponents endorsed her in the general election.

Noem’s opponent, incumbent Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, emphasized her own record of independence from the Democratic caucus including her votes against health care reform, the Wall Street bailouts, and the cap-and-trade energy bill. In response, Noem repeatedly highlighted Herseth Sandlin’s vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. A Washington Post story on the race described Noem as “a made-for-Fox News star” and described her as a “mama grizzly” in the mold of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. During the 2010 election cycle, Noem outraised Herseth Sandlin, $2.3 million to $2.1 million. Noem received 84% of her cash from individual donors while Herseth Sandlin received 56% from political action committees. Mitt Romney’s PAC made a donation to Noem’s campaign, and Romney endorsed her.

Gallup polls in June 2010 showed Republican candidates ahead of their Democratic counterparts due to dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama. Polls conducted by Rasmussen Reports consistently gave a Noem a slight edge over Herseth Sandlin after the June primary, with Noem pulling ahead 47% to 44% in early October. Critics said the Rasmussen firm’s surveying methods were erratic and tended to favor Republican candidates. Noem defeated Herseth Sandlin, 48% to 46%.

2012

Noem was reelected to a second term, defeating Democrat Matthew Varilek, 57%–43%.

2014

Noem was reelected to a third term, defeating Democrat Corinna Robinson, 67%–33%.

2016

Noem was reelected to a fourth term, defeating Democrat Paula Hawks, 64%–36%.

Tenure

Noem was the fourth woman to represent South Dakota in the U.S. Congress. She and freshman U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina were elected by acclamation of the 2011 House Republican 87-member freshman class to be liaisons to the House Republican leadership, making Noem the second woman member of House GOP leadership. According to The Hill, her role was to push the leadership to make significant cuts to federal government spending and to help Speaker John Boehner manage the expectations of the freshman class. In March 2011, Republican U.S. Representative Pete Sessions of Texas named Noem one of the 12 regional directors for the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2012 election campaign.

Taxes

In 2018, Noem was reported to have “pitched the idea to members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus” to attach her online sales tax bill to the government funding package as part of an omnibus. A court case under consideration in the South Dakota Supreme Court involved requiring “certain out-of-state retailers to collect its sales taxes.” Noem said that South Dakota businesses (and by extension businesses nationwide) “could be forced to comply with 1,000 different tax structures nationwide without the tools necessary to do so”, adding that her legislation “provides a necessary fix.”

Noem called the budget deficit one of the most important issues facing Congress, and cosponsored H. J. Res. 2, which would require that total spending for any fiscal year not exceed total receipts. She cited the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicaid, high-speed rail projects, cap-and-trade technical assistance, and subsidies for the Washington Metro rapid transit system as examples of federal programs she would like to see cuts in.

She indicated that she would vote to raise the federal spending limit, and wanted to eliminate the estate tax, lower the corporate tax rate, and simplify the tax code. She also said she would not raise taxes to balance the budget.

Human trafficking

Noem promoted legislation to combat human trafficking and sexual slavery.

Health care

Noem opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and has voted to repeal it. Having unsuccessfully sought to the repeal the law, she has sought to defund it while retaining measures such as the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the provision allowing parents to keep their children on their health insurance plan into their 20s, and the high-risk pools. New provisions that Noem wanted to add to federal law included limits on medical malpractice lawsuits and allowing patients to buy health insurance plans from other states. She supported cuts to Medicaid funding proposed by Republican Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan that would reduce benefits for South Dakota Medicaid recipients by 55 percent.

Social issues

Noem opposes rights to abortion. She has the support of Susan B. Anthony List. She stated after her election that she hoped to maintain a 100 percent pro-life voting record.

Energy and environment

Noem has said that the U.S. must end its dependence on foreign oil. To achieve that goal, Noem says Congress should encourage conservation of existing resources. She supports continuing ethanol subsidies that benefit her state. Noem opposes ending federal subsidies for oil companies.

Noem supported the Keystone XL Pipeline and promised to continue to work for its construction after the U.S. Senate voted down legislation to advance the pipeline through Congress. Noem helped the House pass the legislation on November 14, 2014.

Noem opposed a bill introduced by South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson that would designate over 48,000 acres (190 km) of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland as protected wilderness. She supports the current designation of the land as a national grassland. She pointed out that the land is already managed as roadless areas similar to wilderness and argued that changing the land’s designation to wilderness would further limit leaseholder access to the land and imperil grazing rights.

Noem supports off-shore oil drilling. She co-sponsored three bills that she argued would reduce American dependence on foreign oil by ending the 2010 United States deepwater drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico and reopening sales on oil leases in the Gulf and off the coast of Virginia.

In 2011, Noem sponsored a measure to block Environmental Protection Agency funding for tighter air pollution standards for coarse particulates.

Foreign affairs

Noem supported the American military intervention in the 2011 Libyan civil war, but questioned whether America intervened to protect civilians, or whether the U.S. military would try to remove Libya’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi. In March 2011, Noem called on Obama to provide more information about America’s role in the conflict, characterizing his statements as vague and ambiguous.

Fundraising

Since her election, Noem raised 56 percent of donations from individuals and 44 percent from political action committees. On March 8, 2011, she announced the formation of a leadership political action committee, KRISTI PAC. Noem said she would use the PAC to pay expenses and support other Republican candidates. Former South Dakota Lieutenant Governor Steve Kirby is the treasurer of the PAC.

Noem was among the top freshman Republicans in PAC fundraising in the first quarter of 2011, raising $169,000 from PACs and hosting at least 10 Washington fundraisers. She said she had no plans to join the House Tea Party Caucus.

Immigrants and refugees

Noem supported President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order that suspended the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and banned all travel to the U.S. by nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days. She said she supported a temporary ban on accepting refugees from “terrorist-held” areas, but “did not address whether she supports other aspects of the order, which led to the detention of legal U.S. residents such as green-card holders and people with dual citizenship as they reentered the country” in the aftermath of the order’s issuance.

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Ways and Means

    • Subcommittee on Human Resources
    • Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures

Caucus memberships

  • Republican Study Committee
  • Congressional Cement Caucus
  • Congressional Arts Caucus
  • Afterschool Caucuses
  • Congressional Western Caucus

Governor of South Dakota

2018 election

On November 14, 2016, Noem announced that she would not seek reelection to Congress but instead run for governor of South Dakota in 2018. She defeated incumbent South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley in the June 5 primary, 56% to 44%, and defeated Democratic nominee Billie Sutton in the general election, 51% to 47.6%.

Tenure

Noem was sworn in as governor of South Dakota on January 5, 2019. She is the first woman in South Dakota history to hold that office.

On January 31, 2019, Noem signed a bill into law abolishing the permit requirement to carry a concealed handgun. On March 20, 2019, Noem signed a bill into law requiring South Dakota’s state universities to promote and protect intellectual diversity, and on that same day, she signed several bills restricting abortion.

In February 2019, she said that the Trump administration’s trade wars had devastated South Dakota.

Electoral history

PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanKristi Noem172,91251.0%
Democratic Billie Sutton161,45447.6%
LibertarianKurt Evans4,8481.4%
Total votes 339,214 100%
Republican hold
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Kristi Noem 57,437 56.0
Republican Marty Jackley45,06944.0
Total votes 102,506 100
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Kristi Noem (Incumbent) 237,163 64.10
Democratic Paula Hawks132,81035.90
Total votes 369,973 100
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Kristi Noem (Incumbent) 183,834 67
DemocraticCorinna Robinson92,48533
Total votes 276,319 100
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Kristi Noem (Incumbent) 207,640 57
DemocraticMatt Varilek153,78943
Total votes 361,429 100
Republican hold
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Kristi Noem 153,703 48
Democratic Stephanie Herseth Sandlin146,58946
IndependentB. Thomas Marking19,1346
Total votes 319,426 100
Republican gain from Democratic
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Kristi Noem 34,527 42
Republican Chris Nelson28,38035
RepublicanBlake Curd19,13423
Total votes 82,041 100

Personal life

Noem lives with her husband and their three children on the Racota Valley Ranch near Castlewood. As of 2009, she had a 16.9 percent ownership stake in the ranch. Her recreational interests include hunting.

From 1989 to 2010, Noem received 27 traffic citations, including 20 for speeding and other violations. She said, “I’m not proud of my driving record, but [I’ve] been working hard to be a better example to young kids and young drivers out there.” She had paid her fines and penalties by August 2010.