SD Democratic Leaders Respond to Noem’s State of the State

PIERRE, SD (January 12, 2021) – Governor Noem gave her State of the State Address to a joint session of the South Dakota State Senate and House of Representatives today. She covered a variety of areas where South Dakota has done well this year including tourism, sales, and business development, while also commending our South Dakota National Guard and our health care workers.

“We appreciated her positive tone in this message and see a lot we can agree on particularly in regard to Needs Based Scholarships for families and her ideas for economic growth in South Dakota,” said House Minority Leader Jamie Smith. “However, while a strong and healthy economy is important we also need to do more to prioritize the strength and health of our people. That’s just as vital to our families, our workforce, and our future.”

Democrats would like to see more emphasis placed on helping those with long term health issues due to COVID-19, and those families facing financial devastation who are still suffering from the effects of the pandemic. They say it’s not too late to encourage measures that would help businesses stay open and stay safe for their employees. They say helping families who lost a loved one with the financial burdens they’re facing from medical costs and funeral expenses should be on the legislature’s agenda this year as well.

“Not everything is economics when it comes to the well-being of our neighbors and communities in South Dakota,” said Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert. “Families are going bankrupt due to COVID treatment and deaths, and it was disappointing that our Governor didn’t acknowledge those hardships or the loss of loved ones who can’t be replaced. They’re our grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters, our friends. Those losses must be recognized.”

We heard from the Governor that she also wants to talk about civics and history education in South Dakota to develop curriculum aimed at including her vision of history to what is already taught by teachers in our schools. 

“We will ensure that there is an accurate representation of indigenous people, land, and cultures as part of this new curriculum, and we look forward to the opportunity to have that discussion,” said Heinert. “You can’t have a comprehensive education of our country’s history without recognizing the events that transpired.”

We want to hear from you now more than ever! Please contact us to share your questions or concerns about the current session. Our caucus meetings have always been open to the public, but we are observing COVID mitigation practices in place in the Capitol. If you are visiting, plan to allow extra time for screening and wear a mask to keep you and others safe. Your voice matters to us, and we believe that together, we can create a South Dakota that works for all of us.

Representative Jamie Smith

Senator Troy Heinert