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Hawks seeks debate with Noem on tribal ground

The fight for more debates rages on in South Dakota's race for U.S. House of Representatives. Over the weekend, while speaking at the Rosebud Powwow, State Rep. Paula Hawks, D-Hartford, continued her call for more debates prior to November's elec...

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The fight for more debates rages on in South Dakota's race for U.S. House of Representatives.

Over the weekend, while speaking at the Rosebud Powwow, State Rep. Paula Hawks, D-Hartford, continued her call for more debates prior to November's election. Hawks challenged her opponent, three-term Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, to a third debate.

Particularly, Hawks is seeking to debate Noem on one of the nine Native American reservations in South Dakota.

"With the stoppage of emergency health care services that occurred for seven straight months in Rosebud earlier this year, I think it only makes sense we host a debate in one of the tribal communities to answer a broad range of questions about how we best serve all South Dakotans," Hawks said over the weekend. "The tribes need to hear directly from us how we hope to stop the near total breakdown in federal government services in these communities and provide substantially better representation in Congress on their behalf."

Hawks referred to the diversion status the Rosebud Indian Health Service Hospital was placed on in December, which forced emergency patients to be transported nearly 50 miles from Rosebud to receive emergency care.

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Hawks also criticized Noem's record on Native American health care services, including Noem's vote to cut millions from the IHS budget as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011.

In recent months, Noem proposed the Helping Ensure Accountability, Leadership, and Trust in Tribal Healthcare (HEALTTH) Act, which would address funding, accountability and employee recruitment concerns within the Great Plains region of the IHS. Noem also spoke about the conditions at South Dakota's IHS facilities during a legislative hearing in June.

And while Hawks called for a debate on tribal ground, a campaign spokesperson for Noem was unaware of any standing invitations for debates.

"Kristi has agreed to participate in the South Dakota Public Broadcasting debate, which will be televised statewide, as well as the Sioux Falls Rotary program with Ms. Hawks - both in October," wrote Justin Brasell, a campaign spokesperson, in an email on Monday. "I am not aware of any other invitations that we have received at this time."

Related Topics: ELECTION 2016KRISTI NOEM
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