Rep. Kristi Noem
Mary Ellen Dirksen grew up in what most people would consider a pretty typical Midwest family. Her close-knit family of four looked picture perfect from the outside — and for the most part, it looked just as perfect from the inside. But a little more than a decade ago, Mary Ellen's big brother — a handsome, intelligent guy who loved basketball and hot fudge sundaes — died by suicide.
Every few months, I have the opportunity to welcome a new business to the state. Almost every time, I hear versions of the following: "We started in (or expanded to) this area, because South Dakotans have the skills needed to do the job right — and the work ethic to do it right now." This is not by accident. In addition to smart economic policies that create opportunities for employers to grow, South Dakota has a strong tradition of starting careers in the classroom.
John Ellsworth was just 13 years old when his mother met him at the door and told him his father wasn't coming home. America had lost a hero.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel across South Dakota for the last month. Whether in Waubay, Parker, Mitchell or Mobridge — Aberdeen, Eagle Butte, Lemmon or Rapid City — I...
I can't believe the kids are headed back to school already. Our daughter Kennedy started her sophomore year of college at SDSU and Booker has begun his freshman year of high school, which is hard for this mom to believe. As most parents know, it's bittersweet to watch them grow up. Bryon and I are so proud of the independent young people they've become, but it's still hard to watch them let go.
Our family is what I like to call an "outside family." We just don't do well being cooped up in a house, so inevitably we end up needing to take things outside. To me, there's almost nothing more beautiful than walking out our front door and seeing the wide open prairie (and, let's be honest, prime pheasant hunting territory). But from the time our kids were little, we took pride in the fact that we could also jump in the car, drive a few hours west, and find many of America's greatest natural wonders.
On Capitol Hill where very few people were “farm kids” and even fewer actually pursued farming or ranching as a career, the personal impact of agriculture can get lost. But...
As though weddings aren't stressful enough, international weddings can put an entirely new twist in the planning process. Earlier this year, our office in Sioux Falls received a call from a panicked mother-of-the-bride. She and her husband were leaving the very next day for their daughter's destination wedding, but her husband's passport was expired. We picked up the phone and immediately got in touch with a U.S. State Department hub in Minneapolis. About 24 hours later, the father-of-the-bride was on a plane and able to walk his daughter down the aisle.
Earlier this summer, lightning struck Crow Peak in the Black Hills, setting about 2,700 acres of land on fire before it was contained. The blaze threatened the homes and ranch lands near its path as well as the lives of the firefighters working to fend off its flames.
Nearly two dozen veterans a day fall victim to suicide. Not only is this number about twice as high as civilian suicide rates, but as of 2012, more men and women in uniform lost their life to suicide than in combat. We cannot accept this as the status quo. We, as a nation, have to do better. In recent years, the VA has seen its funding increase. Some reforms have been made. But the bureaucracy has remained the same. Wait times are too long. Calls into the veteran suicide crisis hotline have gone to voicemail, according to the VA's own Inspector General report earlier this year.