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Top Ten Reasons Noem Skips Agriculture Committee Meetings

Last updated on 2013.01.06

Kristi Noem visits Hot Springs Veterans Administration Hospital, April 12, 2012
Prototype Noem-catching device to help her make more committee meetings

Freshman Rep. Kristi Noem was really, really proud to be a second-string replacement pick for the Agriculture Committee seat vacated for her by fellow Tea Party-fave and farm subsidy beneficiary Rep. Steven Fincher. But she hasn't been doing much on the Ag committee. South Dakota Democratic Party chairman Ben Nesselhuf finds documentation establishing Rep. Noem's attendance at just four out of twenty Ag committee and subcommittee hearings:

Of six conservation subcommittee meetings, there's a record of Noem attending only one, Democrats say. A record shows her at a livestock meeting. That came April 26 when she was being profiled by a network news channel. Of nine full committee meetings, there is record of her in two.

Even if she was missed by the video cameras, or only attended parts of meetings — which is common for members of Congress, experts maintain — Noem has appeared in transcripts once, Nesselhuf said [Jonathan Ellis, "Attendance in Congress in Question," that Sioux Falls paper, 2012.05.13].

Why might Kristi be skipping so many Agriculture Committee hearings?

  1. Too busy clubbing in California.
  2. Grueling travel schedule and non-stop town hall meetings.
  3. Still getting lost in Longworth Building.
  4. The whole idea of going to Congress was to get away from the farm.
  5. Do you know how long it takes to do this hair?
  6. Kassidy and Kennedy are "too cool" now to play board games, so Kristi has spent weeks casting stunt doubles for the new "Monopoly" ads.
  7. Farm Bill amendments? But "I have to work on this paper! It's due tomorrow!"
  8. Still waiting for chairman to send copy of Ag committee mission statement.
  9. Noem needs to keep her head down on ag policy, since her pro-government stance on farm subsidies and crop insurance makes her look really bad with her arch-conservative base.
  10. Meeting? What meeting?

Commenters, I welcome your additions to the list.


  1. Vickie 2012.05.13

    11. Trying to figure out how to not really answer questions from constituents.

  2. Rorschach 2012.05.13

    Isn't is clever that when Republicans took over the house in the 2010 elections the first thing they did was do away with attendance records in January 2011. Unlike the SD legislature where the journal says which members were present, Congress doesn't want anybody to be able to document the poor attendance of its members.

    Now the story is out and it's Rep. Noem's turn to either admit she isn't showing up for work, or to deny it and prove she did show up for work. Tell the truth Rep. Noem. Do you show up when the cameras aren't running?

  3. Carter 2012.05.13

    Unlike some politicians, Vickie, I don't think Noem does that. I don't not think she doesn't answer questions. I don't think she thinks about how not to answer them.

    Other politicians have cunning ways of answering without saying anything. She just says a bunch of words and hopes they make a sentence.

  4. Rorschach 2012.05.13

    She's not a cunning linguist then, you're saying, Carter?

  5. Michael Black 2012.05.13

    Why would you give this issue the Letterman Top Ten treatment? There is nothing funny about it.

    I'll give Rep. Noem the benefit of the doubt for the moment, but I expect far better from any elected official, Democrat or Republican.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.13

    Vickie shoots, Vickie scores! :-)

    Michael, sometimes satire is appropriate. R is right: I want to see the attendance records. Noem likely joined the voice vote to get rid of them. If South Dakota can take roll at Legislative committee meetings, so can Congress.

    Noem couldn't even come up with a response to that Sioux Falls paper on this story. If I were skipping committee meetings, I'd have a ready answer for the first reporter or constituent who asked me. Hasn't she hired someone to replace Josh Shields yet to scribble her note cards for her?

  7. Jana 2012.05.13

    Well heck, we're only paying her around $180,000 per year.

    I'm guessing that isn't enough to show up when legislation is crafted affecting the state's farmers and ranchers that make up South Dakota's largest industry. She should ask for a raise, but can't since her pay is set by collective's like the House has a union or something.

    So the question is, did we send her to Washington to be an effective representative of the people of South Dakota or a pretty face to parrot GOP talking points and represent us well while in California raising money for herself.

    I'm even guessing she sent out a press release boasting about how important her appointment was to the Ag committee. Maybe her staff can provide us with that press release.

  8. Michael Black 2012.05.13

    I am not amused. I am disappointed. I am not expecting perfection. No person is the total package doing everything right all the time. Rep. Noem was elected to do a job and part of that job is to attend meetings as least some of the time. Let us hope for improvement as she finishes her current term.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.13

    You don't have to hope for improvement, Michael. You can guarantee real improvement by voting Dem!

    Jana, for the Noem press release, see my first link at the top... or just click here!

  10. Mark 2012.05.13

    Hold on there, Mr. C. Are you sure you have your facts right?
    Are you talking about class attendance or committee meeting attendance?

  11. Carter 2012.05.13

    Vote Green! Someone should run and get signatures to get on the ballot. Cory could do it!

  12. Michael Black 2012.05.13

    I don't EVER vote based just on party affiliation.

    The Argus Leader article did not go into detail about Rep. Noem's other committee's attendance. Since many hearings are held at the same time, I would like to see she was present at other proceedings.

  13. Jana 2012.05.13

    Thanks Cory!

    So here's what she had to say when she got the Ag Committee job.

    “As someone who grew up on a South Dakota farm and ranch operation, and continued there until I ran for Congress, I understand firsthand how agriculture impacts our state’s economy and why it is our number one industry. I had always planned on serving as a strong voice for South Dakota ag, now this new committee appointment makes it official,” said Noem.

    And then the closer...

    “I look forward to ensuring South Dakota’s ag interests are vigorously represented during this Farm Bill reauthorization. This new seat on the Agriculture Committee, along with my position as the Freshman Liaison to leadership, will help ensure that effort,” said Noem.

    Do you think that her post high school studies taught her what the words 'ensuring' and 'vigorously' mean?

    Since it's time for her bi-annual review, this does not look good. But, maybe she can give us the tick-tock on her activities to show what she was actually doing and what was actually accomplished.

    What meetings did she miss while she was fundraising at California country clubs? Has anyone filed a FoIA on who she has met with and when?

    What do you want to bet she spent more time in travel and meetings to California to listen to the country clubber's concerns than she spent in most towns in South Dakota.

    Did she spend more time on FOX than she did in Winner, SD? More time in a tanning booth with Boehner than in Hot Springs? (of course that could just be Freshman Liaison to leadership quality time)

    To be fair, keep in mind that memorizing party platitudes and being a pretty face on TV can be time consuming. And everyone knows that South Dakota voters are far more concerned with style than substance...or at least that's what Kristi must think.

    This could really make for an interesting campaign's be a shame for this to slip into the memory hole.

  14. Vickie 2012.05.13

    Aw heck,I sorta needed a chuckle and this thread gave me that. I love satire. I admit to being a smartass. Just depends upon who I'm talking to and the situation. More often than not,I'm totally serious.

    I get what you're saying Michael. It is a serious issue as to where Rep. Noem has been spending her time and whether she really is working hard for SD. That's pretty important info. that voters need to know before election day.

  15. Bob Klein 2012.05.13

    I'm sure she was writing essays for her political science classes at SDSU, or USD, or wherever it was she was taking classes.

  16. mike 2012.05.13

    This is the first big mistep by Kristi and her staff since being in Congress.

    She hired Kevin McCarthy's former staffer from CA to replace Josh Shields. I believe her name is Andrea McCarthy.
    Here is her info...

    Noem's biggest flaw has been her staff. They are all under or at 30 yrs old and a bunch of screwups. Andrew Christensen, Andrea McCarthy, Jordan Stoick, renee laterell, etc. Need I say more?

    Get some adults to DC if you want to be seen as competent.

    Her new campaign manager Tom Erickson is equally a big screw up hire.

  17. Jana 2012.05.13

    I think blaming it on staff is a cop out. Kristi is the boss and certainly should be aware of her schedule. And Mike, this isn't one screw up, it is an accumulation of screw ups. Missing one meeting is a screw up, missing this many shows both a contempt for the job and her constituents.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.13

    The Ellis article does point out that Senators have a greater problem with multiple committee assignments and schedule conflicts. Noem has three committees. Nesselhuf counted 20 Ag committee/subcommittee hearings over eleven months. That's about two a month. Are you going to tell me that 16 of those 20 hearings happened at the same time as other committee meetings? And even if that thesis holds, Noem will have some hard explaining to do to the home folks as to why she would pick Natural Resources and Education/Labor over Agriculture, her area of special expertise. This story doesn't have a good angle for Noem yet.

    ...and I need to review the committee schedules...

  19. David Newquist 2012.05.13

    There are some puns, Rohrschach, that deserve capital pun-ishment, or a sound licking.

    As for Rep. Noem, her attendance is consistent with her overall performance from her campaign through her service. She, in fact, provides a Rohrschach blot onto which people can project their own pet notions. A factual review of her performance will only discourage creativity among her constituents.

  20. RGoeman 2012.05.13

    Let's be fair and compare her attendance to other new Reps or perhaps our forever-term Senator from SD. It's easy to take a snipet that stands out and rail on it, but the first term is a learning experience. I will say her attendance seems disappointing, but will it look better if we look at her overall attendance instead of just Ag Committee?

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.13

    Noem has a 2% abstention rate, which suggests she's done a pretty good job of making floor votes. But for those, all she has to do is push the button Speaker Boehner tells her to.

  22. Michael Black 2012.05.13

    Cory, a 2% abstention rate is very good. According to your link, Rep. Noem votes with her party 94% of the time. Is that unusual? No it is not. Senator Thune votes with his party 93% of the time while Senator Johnson follows his party line 96% of the time.

    While I certainly do not agree with all of her positions, I do appreciate the sacrifice it takes any citizen to hold public office.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.13

    Maybe Noem should quit sacrificing committee meetings.

  24. Douglas Wiken 2012.05.14

    The more committee meetings and votes Noem misses, the better for the US and South Dakota.

    Making fun of Republican hypocrisy gives the loons of the rightwing mythology the kind of attention their nonsense deserves. The press gives these mythologists the same kind of coverage they give knowledgeable fact and reality based positions and votes.

    Compromising with irrelevancy and unworkable mythology is a complete failure of responsible government and press.

  25. Jamie 2012.05.14

    Madville should create a no holds barred section for rage journalists and let the real journalists publish their more serious pieces on the adult pages. Just saying...

  26. Jamie 2012.05.14

    One more comment. Love how the author of this piece cherry picked information and left others (pertinent information) out. For example:

    I wonder what would happen if all congress people were profiled the same way the would-be journalist of this piece decided to do...

    If you're going to write about someone or something, the least a journalist could do is be fair. One of the biggest problems with politics and journalism today is that the journalists try to become a part of the story they are covering...either that or creating the story rather than covering it.

    I'm hopeful that there are South Dakotans out there who can see beyond this "blog" and get the actual facts from credible sources.

    What good is journalism if we cannot depend on our journalists to be credible?

  27. larry kurtz 2012.05.14

    Entitlement and solipsism are Kristi Noem's stock-in-trade. Her pathways to Congress are littered with broken promises and bullied staff members where the ends have always justified the means without remorse.

    Get a grip, "Jamie:" Noem is a short-timer.

  28. Jana 2012.05.14

    Jamie, thanks for the link.

    Just what was it you wanted us to see? That Kristi took the 10th off and was absent for some critical votes?

    Maybe it was her sponsorship of expanding government subsidies for ag insurance to help her family's business? (Which is consistent with the Republican mission of privatizing profits and socializing the expense and risk.)

    If I remember correctly, this post was about her missing committee meetings. Thanks to Republican efforts, committee attendance and transparency was eliminated.

    Did I miss a link as to her attendance record at these meetings where she promised to represent South Dakota?

    But please do correct any misinformation you may see.

  29. Taunia 2012.05.14

    Jamie: where was Noem at during the missed committee hearings?

  30. Jana 2012.05.14

    Jamie, I'll help you make your point on this one: "I’m hopeful that there are South Dakotans out there who can see beyond this “blog” and get the actual facts from credible sources."

    Please tell us who those 'credible sources' are and why they should be deemed credible.

    I'm looking for the lies that either Ellis or Cory presented and I'm not having much luck.

    I did like your last sentence. It makes you think and especially if you change the word journalist to politician...let's look at how that reads now.

    "What good is politics if we cannot depend on our politicians to be credible?"

    Heck, both Noem and Thune were in the national spotlight this last weekend. Noem with her response to the President's radio address and John on Fox News Sunday.

    Here's the transcript from Thune (starts at the bottom of page 2):

    Here's Kristi's youtube:

    Jamie, was Representative Noem using a teleprompter?

  31. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.14

    Jana, Taunia, thanks for the back-up! I, too, am scratching my head trying to figure out what lies I told. Jamie appears to be adopting the standard diversionary tactic of making the post about the author (boring) and not about the subject.

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