SD Gov. Kristi Noem to receive “Courage in Government” award at Virtual Gala 2020

When the Coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, Governor after Governor unleashed sweeping statewide shutdowns, forcing “non-essential” businesses to close their doors with no certainty as to when they would be able to open them again. But not every Governor went that route. North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Utah, Arkansas, and Wyoming did not decree stay at home orders in response to the COVID outbreak but instead placed trust and responsibility on the people to curtail the spread of the virus.

One courageous Governor that stands out most is our neighbor to the left, South Dakota’s Kristi Noem. Speaking with Center of the American Experiment president, John Hinderaker, Gov. Noem wisely said that “if you come into a time of crisis and you have a leader use more authority than they are granted or allowed to, that’s how you lose this country, and I wanted to be positive that I wasn’t the leader that would do that.”

Despite all of the criticism she received, Gov. Noem held strong that she was going to trust her people to make the right decisions. When the media beraded her for an outbreak at a South Dakotan meat processing plant, they judged her decision to not implement shutdowns and saying she wasn’t doing enough to protect her people, but “what they didn’t focus on was the fact that we had aggressively gone in there and cooperated with that business owner, gave their employees the information, give them opportunities to self-isolate when necessary. And, we addressed it and immediately within a couple of weeks it was a totally different situation, and that’s how we reacted in South Dakota throughout this virus’s spread, was to deal with areas that became a situation where people were concerned but work with local leaders, and work with the business owners to do it, and not put in place a statewide that really tied our hands…” says Noem.

Not only did South Dakota flatten their curve of Coronavirus cases, but with the absence of a state economy shutdown, they ended the fiscal year with a nearly $19M budget surplus. Quite the opposite of the $4.7B budget deficit Minnesota now faces due to the pandemic.

It is because of Gov. Noem’s heroic actions that she is the recipient of the Courage in Government award that will be presented to her at the Virtual Gala 2020 on Saturday, September 19th at 7 PM.

Governor Kristi Noem is a protector of freedoms and a defender of the American Dream, join us as we celebrate her accomplishments. Former Whitehouse Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be there too! We don’t want to miss it.


Allison Payne is the Communications Specialist at Center of the American Experiment.