Rep. Kristi Noem
My grandma gave me one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received, which I'd venture to guess is typical for almost everyone. When I was about to become a new mom, she told me, "As a parent, you're going to have to say no to a lot of things. Say yes as often as you can." So, when my kids wanted to race to the end of the driveway, we did. When they wanted to play in the mud, we did. When they wanted to play basketball outside a little past their bedtimes, we laced up our shoes and hit the pavement.
Not every family's path to parenthood is easy. Many people struggle in ways that can be devastating for a family to endure. Pat and Julie Schneider, of Turton, are one of those couples. They struggled with infertility for nearly a decade before looking into adoption as an option for their family. Because November is National Adoption Month, I wanted to share a piece of their journey through adoption, hoping it can serve as encouragement and inspiration to others.
A woman reached out to our office recently. Her husband, a veteran now, was a medic in the Iraq War. While he's returned home, she told us "it really is like he never came back." He, like as many as one in five Iraq War veterans, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
It's hard for me to really grasp how something like this happens in South Dakota. The website promised to connect "sugar daddies" with "sugar babies," which is repulsive in its own right. But that's the website where, according to recent press reports, an area doctor appears to have met a young girl and arranged for her to travel from Georgia to Sioux Falls for sex. He was brought up on trafficking charges earlier this month. It's another stark reminder that human trafficking isn't just happening worlds away. It's happening in our backyards.
Jami's family had a history with cancer, but it wasn't until late 2014 that her own battle with breast cancer began. She was a busy mom, working full-time at a non-profit in South Dakota and raising her 11 year-old daughter.
I have had the honor of receiving a Star Quilt from tribes in South Dakota on a few occasions. Each time one has been presented, I'm humbled by the gesture and yet reminded of all there is to do in Indian Country. To me, one of the greatest things we have to offer is more opportunity. That's one of the reasons I helped champion the NATIVE Act, which was signed into law this September and aims to create more tourism opportunities in tribal areas. The tribes we worked with on this legislation are hopeful these new provisions will help boost struggling economies.
It's hard to believe fall is already here, although take just one step out the door and the temperature will remove all doubts. For most of my life, this time of year meant hours in the combine. I loved it and it's one of the things I miss most these days. While the wheat harvest is wrapped up, soybeans and sunflowers are just getting started — and corn will be right behind. While some areas are seeing good yields, others were hit by drought or hail damage. Even high yields will not be enough to offset the low prices we are seeing in the markets.
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.