Republican Kristi Noem was inaugurated as South Dakota’s 33rd – and first ever female – governor this past weekend in Pierre. According to the Rapid City Journal, Noem commented in her inaugural address that while she did not focus on gender during her campaign, her governorship would be historic.
South Dakota first voted in favor of women’s suffrage in November of 1918, and almost exactly one hundred years afterward, it elected its first female governor. Noem said in her speech Saturday that she was honored to serve as the first female governor and that she hopes to be remembered as a governor for the next generation of South Dakotans. Following her address, Noem told media that her first priority will be putting together a balanced state budget without raising taxes.
Noem and her transition team have been mostly quiet thus far regarding their priorities during the 2019 Legislative Session, which begins January 8th, but the legislature is expected to cover a number of issues during session this year, including special education funding, abortion access, energy, and concealed carry permits.
South Dakota Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds (also a former governor) attended Governor Noem’s inauguration, along with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Representative Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, and Representative Jason Smith of Missouri.
Also taking office Saturday were Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden, Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, Secretary of State Steve Barnett, State Auditor Rich Sattgast, State Treasurer Josh Haeder, Commissioner of Schools and Public Lands Ryan Brunner, and Public Utilities Commissioner Kristie Fiegen. Legislators were also present to take their oaths of office Saturday.
Noem defeated Democrat Billie Sutton in November 6th’s midterm elections by a margin of three points.
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