In an exclusive interview for her new book, "Not My First Rodeo," South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem shares the story behind her passion for life, children, and agriculture that has brought her often into the spotlight as a politician.
Governor Kristi Noem, who is renowned for her staunch opposition to abortion and is currently being criticized for imposing no exceptions on the state's trigger law, announced the interview on Twitter, which she said she truly enjoyed.
Noem's new book detailed South Dakota's first female governor's journey from childhood to one of the country's most-talked-about politicians during the pandemic. The book highlighted the strong influence of Noem's father in her life, whose teachings fueled her to make "things right in the world."
Noem's First Rodeo
In the interview, Noem shared that her family started living on a ranch bought by her father when she was around 12 or 13 years old. She recalled how she loved sitting on tree stands to hunt alongside chasing cows. The life she had growing up, she stressed, was totally different from what she has experienced when she became a politician.
"So, you know, for me to be in D.C., in a city, at receptions and dinners and crowded House floors voting, was a challenge," Noem said.
CBN News highlighted the instances in Noem's book where she went to church with her family as a child. Noem revealed that she always thought "God loves farmers more than anybody else" out of reading the Bible.
"You know, he loves ranchers more than everybody else. I mean, He is talking about sowing and reaping all the time and your barns are overflowing and cattle on a thousand hills, so, you know, for heaven's sakes, you just assume that this way of life is something that God would want everybody to be able to live," Noem highlighted.
According to the governor, her father, Ron Arnold, passed away when she was away in college. Ron was only 49 years old when the tragic accident that cost his life happened on the farm.
Noem shared that Ron's untimely death was very devastating for her family, especially for her who considered him her best friend. Noem said she admired her father the most and even planned her entire life around him, which included being in business with him. She really found it difficult to imagine what the next day would look like when her father died.
The tragedy forced her to leave college, come home, and keep the farm while being pregnant with her first daughter to husband Bryon at the age of 22. Noem admitted that she wasn't the best mother then because she was focused on the things she believed her father would have done: work and taking care of the business.
The governor highlighted that had it not been for her incredibly helpful mother and strong family, she would have experienced real difficulty at that moment in her life. Her mother took care of her firstborn, Cassidy, and even taught her how to be a good mother, too.
Noem's Passion To Fix Things
Noem said her father taught her, "we don't complain about things. We fix them." These were the same words that led her to enter politics out of her desire to correct the "death tax," which took her a decade to pay in full for her father's farm after his demise. The tax almost caused them to be bankrupt and made her so angry that she attended meetings on it after realizing she needed to do something about it. The fruit of it all is the Farm Bill, which Noem championed after winning a seat in Congress.
"And, yes, I was very bold and got into some tough fights with the leadership in the House, national leaders that had never been challenged before, and they did not react well. But I would say that at the end of the day we got it done," Noem pointed out.
Noem admitted that returning to South Dakota to lead it as governor was one of the best decisions she had made in life. She recalled that during the pandemic, when she refused to shut down businesses and imposed mask mandates, the nation saw the best of the state where people had faith in each other and God.
In addition, Noem prides herself on having fulfilled her campaign promise to keep the state abortion-free. The governor said she and the rest of the state are very proud to cherish their children. A matter that has been fully realized after the United States Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade last June 24 through a law that bans all abortions without exceptions.
Noem reasoned in an interview with Face The Nation that their trigger ban on abortion does not exempt incest or rape since she does not believe that "having a tragedy or tragic situation" is enough "reason to have another tragedy to occur."
Months before the Supreme Court decision, Noem had been preparing the state to be abortion-free through legislation that bans telemedicine pills and the actual procedure. In addition, the governor has also signed into law the ban on transgender girls from participating in female sports, which is said to be one of the strictest in the country.
The governor concluded the interview by highlighting the importance of agriculture in the country's growth, especially in the face of the threat of a global famine brought by Russia's continuous invasion of Ukraine.
"I just have recognized, for many, many years, that the country that feeds itself controls its own future," Noem said.
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