Women’s History Month Spotlight: Kristi Noem


Kristi Noem became South Dakota’s first female governor in 2018. “Kristi Noem” by Gage Skidmore is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Elizabeth Hjelm, Staff Writer

It is National Women’s History Month, which means it is time to celebrate strong women in and making history. Strong, female leaders are crucial to giving young girls future opportunities to make history.
Although Nebraska has not had a female governor in 30 years, our neighboring state of South Dakota’s sitting governor, Kristi Noem, is a great example of a strong, female role model close to home.
Despite the many political differences every person in this country is entitled to, there is no denying that Noem has overcome many obstacles in her lifetime, to get where she is today.
Noem grew up on a farm and ranch in rural South Dakota. At the age of 22, Noem’s father passed away, which meant she had to take over the family business: farming.
Gov. Noem said via Twitter, “March 10, 1994, is also the day that my dad passed away in an accident on our family farm… The months immediately after he died were filled with unending challenges and hundreds of questions. I remember thinking, ‘I wish I could just ask dad.’ I had no idea how we were going to keep the family business going without him. But I was determined that we wouldn’t fail… I just had to get to work.”
Losing a parent at a young age is hard on anyone who has experienced such loss. On top of the insurmountable loss of her father, Gov. Noem also had to figure out how to take over her family farm and achieve success.
And “get to work” she did. Her fierce thinking and determination has led her through the many different stages of government offered in South Dakota.
In fact, her first public office experience comes just over five years after her father’s death. Noem was first appointed a member of South Dakota’s Farm Service Agency committee, and, in 2000, she testified before the House Committee on agriculture.
Gov. Noem’s personal website spelled out her electoral political career. “Governor Kristi Noem’s political career ascension began with her 2006 election to the South Dakota State Legislature followed by her move to the United States House of Representatives and finally a return to Pierre as the state’s first female governor,” the site notes.
Seeing a strong leader so close to home, gives all the little girls in Nebraska an opportunity to say, “When I grow up, I want to be the governor.”