Jindal: Time to change US leadershipLouisiana governor speaks at South Dakota GOP convention.
By: Chet Brokaw, The Associated Press
SIOUX FALLS — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told South Dakota Republicans the nation needs a change in leadership so federal spending can be cut, jobs can be created and young people can have a brighter future.
In a speech to the South Dakota Republican Party’s state convention Friday night Jindal said President Barack Obama has run up record deficits without improving the economy or putting enough people back to work.
Jindal, mentioned as a possible running mate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, urged the South Dakota Republicans to help Romney beat Obama in the fall election.
But South Dakota Democratic Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf says Jindal is just promoting policies that didn’t work under former Republican President George Bush. He says employment has grown for two straight years under Obama.
Earlier in the day, Republican Rep. Kristi Noem told convention attendees that South Dakota Democrats are falsely accusing her of missing too many House committee hearings as a tactic to avoid talking about federal spending and other issues.
South Dakota’s lone U.S. House member said she has answered criticism that she failed to show up at House Agriculture Committee, so Democrats are now complaining that she hasn’t talked much at committee meetings.
“There is enough talk in Washington, D.C. What we need is more action,” Noem said in a brief speech to the Republican State Convention. “I didn’t run for office to give speeches. I ran to get things done, and I have.”
Noem said she has succeeded in her first term in blocking federal agencies from regulating dust on farms and preventing young people from doing most jobs on farms. She said she also has led the effort to get federal agencies to do more to fight the mountain pine beetles that are killing trees in the Black Hills.
Democratic House candidate Matt Varilek, a former aide to Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, repeated his criticism Friday that Noem has failed to show up at most Agriculture Committee meetings.
“I’m running because I think South Dakota deserves a leader who stands up for middle-class people, defends and strengthens traditional Medicare and aggressively and energetically advocates for South Dakota’s interests in Congress, including in committees,” Varilek said.
Varilek said Noem has voted to privatize Medicare and cut taxes for wealthy people. Varilek has said he would keep most of the tax cuts passed a decade ago, but would end tax cuts for people earning high incomes.
Noem has said she missed some Agriculture Committee meetings because of conflicts with other committees and meetings with South Dakota constituents.
She said Friday she has voted with House Republicans to overhaul Medicare because it will go broke in nine years unless something is done. Republicans have proposed to convert Medicare to a system that mainly relies on private health insurance plans to cover future retirees. Beneficiaries would get a fixed payment from the government, with lowincome seniors in poor health receiving more.
Noem said she and the other Republicans elected to the House two years ago have started the process of cutting federal spending.