“They’re coming here because they want to be like us,” Noem said during a 60-minute state of the state speech at the Statehouse. The annual speech to the Legislative traditionally opens the two-month legislative session in Pierre. “The reason why is no secret. People want to live somewhere that respects them.”
Her speech veered from low taxes to gun policy, and included a shout-out to former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who was in attendance in Pierre Tuesday. He stood in the House chamber and received applause after Noem called him a partner in her criticism of higher education over the teaching of race in American History.
The Republican governor described her home state as a place unfettered by red tape, such as her plans to wipe away a bingo fee, and comp citizens for fees on federal gun background checks. Traditionally Democratic states, such as California and New York, had lost population during the COVID-19 pandemic, she noted.
“They locked down, closed up businesses, shut schools, mandated masks,” Noem said. “And it didn’t have to happen.”
Noem spoke only obliquely about the pandemic to a mostly unmasked audience,