Kristi Noem ( American Politician) – Biography Point

Kristi Noem

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Kristi Noem (American Politician)

Kristi Noem swiftly climbed the ranks of American politics, emerging as a key figure within the Republican Party. Her journey is a testament to her perseverance, commitment, and deep ties to her origins, embodying the essence of modern American conservatism.

Born November 30, 1971, in Watertown, South Dakota, Kristi Lynn Noem, formerly Arnold, has been an influential force in American politics. Since 2019, she has held the esteemed position of South Dakota’s 33rd governor, marking a historic moment as the state’s first female governor. Before this role, she represented South Dakota’s at-large congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 to 2019. Additionally, she served as a South Dakota House of Representatives member for the 6th district from 2007 to 2011.

Kristi Noem’s rise to prominence escalated during the 2018 gubernatorial election, where she garnered the endorsement of then-President Donald Trump. She gained national attention throughout her tenure, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, for her stance against implementing a statewide mask mandate.

Beyond politics, Kristi Noem leads a multifaceted life rooted in rural South Dakota, where she actively engages in farming and ranching. Her literary contributions include her autobiography, “Not My First Rodeo: Lessons from the Heartland,” published in 2022. In her subsequent autobiography, “No Going Back,” Noem candidly shares personal experiences, including a controversial incident involving the euthanization of her family pet. Despite facing criticism, she defended her actions as those of a responsible owner making a difficult decision.

With her unwavering dedication to conservative principles and close alignment with former President Trump, Kristi Noem remains a significant figure in American politics. She is speculated as a potential running mate in the 2024 presidential campaign.

Watertown, South Dakota, U.S.

Kristi Lynn Arnold
33rd Governor of South Dakota
Name Kristi Lynn Arnold
Date of Birth November 30, 1971
Birth Place Watertown, South Dakota, U.S.
Profession Politician
Political Party  Republicans
Education
  • South Dakota State University (2011)
  • Northern State University (1990–1992)
  • Mount Marty University
Spouse Bryon Noem
Marriage Date m. 1992
Children 3
Residence  Governor’s Residence

Early Life and Education

Kristi Arnold, born to Corinne and Ron Arnold, was raised on a Hamlin County, South Dakota farm. In 1990, during her senior year of high school, she was crowned Snow Queen at the South Dakota Snow Queen Festival. This experience gave her the opportunity to participate in interviews and public speaking for the first time. As a teenager, she also competed in rodeo queen contests.

Arnold initially attended Northern State University (NSU) but transferred to South Dakota State University (SDSU). In 1992, she married Bryon Noem, a high school classmate with a finance degree from NSU. After her father’s fatal farming accident in 1994, she left college to manage the family farm with her husband, as her older siblings had moved out of state and her younger brother was still in high school. An avid hunter, she established a hunting lodge on the farm.

Kristi Noem, born on November 30, 1971, in Watertown, South Dakota, grew up on her family’s ranch in Hamlin County. Her Norwegian heritage and rural upbringing fostered a strong work ethic and deep knowledge of agriculture. She graduated from Hamlin High School in 1990 and was named South Dakota Snow Queen. Her father’s death prompted her to leave Northern State University to take over the family ranch.

Kristi Noem continued her education at Mount Marty College in Watertown, South Dakota State University, and took online courses from the University of South Dakota. She earned her BA in political science from SDSU in 2012 while serving in Congress, earning the nickname “Capitol Hill’s most powerful intern” from The Washington Post for completing college intern credits as a congresswoman.

Political Career

After her siblings returned home and assumed most of the farm duties, Kristi Noem entered politics. She was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives in 2006 and started serving the following year. During her second term, she became assistant majority leader. In 2010, she campaigned for South Dakota’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the campaign trail, Noem emphasized the importance of a balanced budget, criticized federal regulations, and pledged to support the interests of ordinary South Dakotans. She unexpectedly won the Republican primary, with the Drudge Report declaring, “another Republican star is born.” In the closely contested general election, she defeated the three-term Democratic incumbent, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. At this time, she and her husband, who managed an insurance agency, had three children.

Republican Party (United States)
Republican Party (United States)

Kristi Noem took office in 2011 and quickly became a significant figure in the party. Recognizing her growing influence, she was chosen to serve as a co-liaison between freshman Republican members and the House leadership. Kristi Noem continued to advocate for traditional conservative policies, supporting spending cuts and seeking to reduce the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She was re-elected three times and completed her college degree, earning a B.A. in political science in 2011. In 2016, Noem announced her candidacy for governor of South Dakota. Though she aimed to become the state’s first female governor, she did not highlight her gender during the campaign. The Republican primary was notably contentious and expensive. Despite winning, her use of negative ads alienated some party members, and the Democratic candidate, state Sen. Billie Sutton, briefly led in the polls. However, in the 2018 general election, Noem ultimately won, securing 51 percent of the vote to Sutton’s 47.6 percent. She was sworn into office the following year.

Political Career Beginnings

Kristi Noem’s political career began in the South Dakota House of Representatives, where she served from 2007 to 2011. During her tenure, she focused on issues critical to her constituents, including agriculture, rural development, and tax policies. Her legislative work was marked by a commitment to conservative principles and a pragmatic approach to problem-solving.

In 2020 Governor of South Dakota

During her first term, Kristi Noem was crucial in passing legislation to expand high-speed broadband access and launched an anti-methamphetamine campaign. In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she chose not to close businesses or impose a mask mandate in South Dakota. Despite having the third-highest COVID death rate that year, the state was one of only two where the unemployment rate decreased in 2020. Noem also opposed President Joe Biden’s executive order requiring most private employers to mandate COVID vaccinations or tests for their workers. Instead, she signed an executive order affirming the rights of South Dakotans to medical and religious exemptions from the federal mandate.

Kristi Noem became more active on Twitter (now X) during this period, often posting boldly and combatively. A viral video in 2020 showed her shooting a pheasant to illustrate “how we do social-distancing in [South Dakota].” In 2021, The Washington Post observed that Noem drew significant inspiration from Trump, reflected in her frequent social media activity, regular appearances on Fox News, and involvement in social controversies. The New York Times also mentioned her as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, highlighting her as the sole female Trump ally adopting his aggressive style in the upper tiers of the candidate field.

As her profile rose, Kristi Noem faced increased controversy. In 2020, after her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license was recommended for denial, Noem called a meeting with the licensing agency’s director, who later reported feeling “intimidated.” Four months later, her daughter received the license, and the director allegedly faced pressure to retire later that year. In 2023, Noem’s administration was sued by a nonprofit providing services to transgender South Dakotans after the state ended a contract that funded a community health worker at the organization. The state settled the lawsuit in 2024, issuing an apology and agreeing to pay the organization $300,000.

In 2022 Governor of South Dakota

In 2022, Kristi Noem ran for reelection, with abortion becoming a key campaign issue following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Noem supported the Court’s decision and South Dakota’s trigger law, which banned all abortions except when the pregnant person’s life was at risk. Kristi Noem raised over $15 million for her campaign, setting a new fundraising record for South Dakota gubernatorial candidates, and she won her second term comfortably.

There was speculation that Kristi Noem would run for president in 2024, but she chose not to enter the race. In a 2023 interview on Fox News, she stated that no one could win as long as Trump was a candidate. Subsequently, she was mentioned as a potential running mate for Trump, who was the presumptive Republican nominee, and in February 2024, he confirmed she was one of six people under consideration. However, her chances seemed to diminish later, partly due to the release of her second memoir, *No Going Back* (2024), which received bipartisan criticism. The book drew particular attention for her account of fatally shooting a 14-month-old hunting dog she had difficulty training.

Additionally, Kristi Noem was banned from about 20 percent of South Dakota after all Native American tribes in the state barred her from their reservations. Her frequent clashes with tribal leaders escalated in early 2024 when she accused them of being involved with drug cartels, increasing the animosity between her and the tribes.

Governorship

In 2018, Kristi Noem made history by becoming the first female governor of South Dakota. Her governorship has been marked by a focus on economic development, education reform, and public safety. Under her leadership, South Dakota has seen substantial growth in various sectors, including technology and agriculture.

One of Noem’s most notable actions as governor was her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. She gained national attention for her decision to keep South Dakota largely open, opposing statewide mask mandates and lockdowns. This approach sparked both praise and controversy, with supporters lauding her defense of personal freedoms and critics arguing that it put public health at risk.

Policy and Vision

Governor Kristi Noem’s policy priorities reflect her commitment to conservative values. She has championed tax cuts, regulatory reform, and Second Amendment rights. Additionally, she has been a vocal advocate for anti-abortion legislation and has signed several bills aimed at restricting abortion access in South Dakota.

Education reform is another cornerstone of her administration. Noem has pushed for increased investment in technical education and workforce development programs, aiming to better align the state’s education system with the needs of its economy.

Personal Life

In 1992, she married Bryon Noem in Watertown, South Dakota. Their union blessed them with three children. Even after Noem relocated to Washington in 2011 to serve in her congressional office, her family remained rooted on a ranch near Castlewood, South Dakota.

Kristi Noem adheres to the Protestant faith. Up until 2018, her family worshipped at a Foursquare Church in Watertown, South Dakota. In September 2021, the conservative media outlet American Greatness alleged an extramarital affair between Noem and political operative Corey Lewandowski. Noem vehemently denied the report, branding it a “disgusting lie” and decrying the persistent attacks on conservative women as unfounded.

Two years later, in September 2023, similar reports surfaced in the New York Post and the Daily Mail, again implicating Noem and Lewandowski. Her spokesperson refuted these claims as well. In March 2024, Kristi Noem took to sharing a video where she identified herself as the governor of South Dakota, endorsing a cosmetic dental practice that aided her after she lost her front teeth in a biking mishap years earlier. She expressed her satisfaction with the service, proclaiming, “I love my new family at Smile Texas!”

Career Statistics

Member of the South Dakota House

In officeJanuary 9, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded Art Fryslie
Succeeded  Burt Tulson

33rd Governor of South Dakota

Date January 5, 2019
Lieutenant Larry Rhoden
Preceded Dennis Daugaard

Member of the U.S. House

Date January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2019
Preceded  Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
Succeeded Dusty Johnson

Member of the South Dakota House

Year Election Office Sought Party Result Votes Received Vote Percentage
2006 South Dakota House of Representatives State Representative (6th District) Republican Won 6,378 26.6%
2008 South Dakota House of Representatives State Representative (6th District) Republican Won 5,974 41.9%
2010 U.S. House of Representatives U.S. Representative (At-large District) Republican Won 153,703 48.1%
2012 U.S. House of Representatives U.S. Representative (At-large District) Republican Won 207,640 57.4%
2014 U.S. House of Representatives U.S. Representative (At-large District) Republican Won 183,834 66.5%
2016 U.S. House of Representatives U.S. Representative (At-large District) Republican Won 237,562 64.1%
2018 Governor of South Dakota Governor Republican Won 172,912 51.0%
2022 Governor of South Dakota Governor Republican Won 225,228 62.1%

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