By Doug Sombke, SDFU President, September 27, 2018
When I saw Representative Noem represented by an empty chair during the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations Candidate Forum last Friday, it didn't surprise me.
In my experience, Kristi Noem does not show up.
Let me explain.
Agriculture is our state's number one industry, and yet, when she held a seat on the House Agriculture Committee, she skipped 16 of 20 committee hearings.
Then, when she took the opportunity to move to the House Ways and Means Committee, she chose to vacate her seat on the Agriculture Committee.
Now, I know of other agriculture state's House Representatives who have maintained a position on two committees so their state "maintained a seat at the table." I encouraged Noem to do this when she called to let me know her decision.
Not Noem. She opted to let another state fill her seat.
I understand the frustration the members of the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations must have felt.
An empty chair is difficult to visit with.
However, when you have Neom's healthcare voting record, her decision not to participate is understandable.
Four times she has voted to minimize Medicare Coverage and privatize Social Security.
Not many South Dakota voters like the idea of anyone messing with their Medicare or Social Security. Like all Americans who spend their adult lives working hard and paying taxes, Medicare and Social Security are two resources many depend upon once they celebrate their 65th birthday.
Noem would have had a difficult time defending herself.
But, we need a Governor who will DEFEND US! Especially today, when those who run our state's number one industry are struggling.
We need someone who will SHOW UP and REPRESENT.