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'Freedom' tops Noem's State of the State speech

'Freedom' was the theme of Gov. Kristi Noem’s annual State of the State speech, where she’s tying in her national workforce recruiting campaign Freedom Works Here.

The freedom to own guns. The freedom to hunt. The freedom to farm and ranch. To be secure, to learn, to be respected and healthy.

Those were just some of the freedoms that Noem said South Dakotans enjoy because of her and the state legislature’s conservative leadership.

“We have cut taxes, created jobs, and maximized opportunities. We have also learned that there is a trick to keeping that momentum going. We have learned that we have to tell our story in order to succeed. We can govern conservatively, but we also need to keep our foot on the gas," Noem said. "South Dakota’s success is unprecedented. And we have a limited window of time where the eyes of the entire nation are on our state. We cannot miss the opportunity to capitalize on that.”

Part of that opportunity rests on the governor’s national ad campaign Freedom Works Here, which features Noem performing various in-demand jobs.

Noem’s freedom speech comes one day after legislators held a hearing into the procurement process for that ad campaign. Some are concerned about proprietary information from a South Dakota ad agency entering the hands of the out-of-state political marketing firm that wrote and won the contract.

The ads are designed to encourage individuals to move to the state to work. During the 40-minute speech Noem said she also wants to make additional reform to the state’s licensure process, including allowing criminal offenders the chance to get licensed.

“This is what America was built on. South Dakotans will continue to remind the rest of the country the value of hard work and the dignity it brings. We have the Freedom to get up every morning and to provide for ourselves and our families," Noem said. "That’s the American Dream."

The governor is also reviving a bill to prevent adversaries from certain countries from purchasing ag land in the state. The speech is a formal kick off to the annual legislative session, which runs through mid-March.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.
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