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Noem Looks Around, Talks, Votes Against Flood Assistance

Rep. Kristi Noem looks quizzically at flooding around Dakota Dunes golf course, Missouri River, 2011.06.04. Meanwhile, South Dakotans look quizzically at Noem's voting record.
I voted for what? (Photo by Dan Lederman, 2011.06.04)

More image over substance: South Dakota State Senator Dan Lederman and the state GOP are all a-Twitter over Congresswoman Kristi Noem's attention to the flooding on the Missouri River. She toured the flood area, made a speech on the House floor...

...but in March, Noem voted to cut federal flood assistance. Here's Deb Knecht's explanation:

In March, Rep. Kristi Noem voted in lock step with Republican leaders in Washington to eliminate the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program and to slash $800 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funding to state and local governments.

Recently, she joined Sens. Tim Johnson and John Thune and requested that President Obama declare a flood emergency in 28 South Dakota counties.

This is blatant hypocrisy. Noem voted to cut critical funding, yet she requested federal funds. You can't have it both ways.

I urge all South Dakotans who are losing their land, their livelihoods and their legacies to flooding to remind their friends and relatives to take a long, hard look at Noem's double talk.

Her hypocrisy places us all in peril. Remember it [Deb Knecht, letter to the editor, that Sioux Falls paper, 2011.05.24].

I don't hear the Republicans who built in the flood plain thanking Noem for that....

Update 08:30 CDT: Someone should remind Kristi that looky-loos aren't helping.


  1. larry kurtz 2011.06.05

    Cory, it's rare when ip disagrees with you: except for the tribes, these flood victims should get NO federal aid.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.06.05

    Actually, our disagreement may not be so sharp. I agree that people who willingly build in the flood plain have a hard time justifying taxpayer assistance. But my focus here is on the simple hypocrisy: the GOP flacks cheering Noem's photo ops need to explain how they feel about her voting record on this issue.

  3. larry kurtz 2011.06.05

    I am laying blame at the feet of red state governors for not applying more pressure at their 2011 conference where the Corps was on their agenda. This is greed, plain and simple.

  4. Jenna 2011.06.05

    No federal aid? I guess a demographic of people who pay a majority of our taxes don't deserve even a portion of that when they encounter financial loss. Way to promote class warfare. Whether the corp is saving water for downstream or trying to maintain habitat, they are going to step on toes at some point. Some people seem to think our livelihood is worth more than others.

  5. larry kurtz 2011.06.05

    Promoting class warfare is my job.

  6. Jenna 2011.06.05


  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.06.05

    When the Noem class has declared war on most of us, there's nothing wrong with most of us fighting back.

  8. Jenna 2011.06.05

    Most.....more like small portion.

  9. TCMack 2011.06.05

    I agree with Larry. If people wanted to protect their investment from flooding, the mechanism available to them was Federal Flood Insurance. People like M. Rounds who now complains that the Corps had failed to do their job by not protecting his property on the flood plain need to look back less than sixty years ago at the 1952 flood. If they would have looked at what flooded back then they would have known that they had a possible risk of flooding. Blaming the Corps now because he did not take the correct precautions is not the Corps fault. Does Rounds have an alternative to the Corps?
    Two popular alternatives have come up through the years. These options were the Missouri Valley Authority (MVA) or get rid of the dams. The MVA was supposed to mimic the Tennessee Valley Authority. It failed because the states did not want a bureaucratic body appointed by the Executive branch to regulate the water. The states through the Missouri River States Committee (MRSC) sided with the Corps and the Bureau of Reclamation, because they believed that the plan would go through and the states at that time had a good working relationship with the Corps. The other option would be to get rid of the dams an idea posed by Dr. Robert Kelly Schienders and Stephen Ambrose. If this option happened people living along the river would have to move to higher ground or risk yearly flooding. If people knew these options, we could have an honest discussion instead of the yearly blame the Corps argument.

    Sorry for being a little off topic Cory. I hope I have added to the conversation.

    [CAH: No apology necessary! You are not off topic: you're talking about practical flood policy. You're definitely not just standing there in a lifejacket looking at the water and hoping no one asks why you voted against practical assistance for flood victims.]

  10. larry kurtz 2011.06.05

    Ya gotta admit: Noem is a one foxy March Image Lederman Funds.

  11. mike 2011.06.06

    I find it amusing that Rounds continues to stay relevant as an ex governor. He will likely look like a sympathetic person if he runs against Noem in a Senate primary.

    He had to get flooded to be relevant but it looks like he's in the same boat as everyone else.

    Noem is a total waste of time. She doesn't answer questions and she doesn't really do anything but pose for pics and go on tv.

  12. mike 2011.06.06

    Maybe someone can explain to me why Noem needs to be touring all of the disaster areas? She doesn't have anything to do with the decisions being made all she needs to do is ask Daugaard if they need anything from the feds.

    I'm sure those people really are thrilled to take the time out of sandbagging and protecting the area to give her a tour of the disaster.

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