Last updated on 2012.10.04
Kristi Noem has a job. Kristi Noem is not showing up to do her job. We should fire Kristi Noem from her job.
South Dakota's current Congresswoman barely participated in House Agriculture Committee hearings until the Democrat who wants to do her job, Matt Varilek, pointed out her non-performance last spring. Rep. Noem's main excuse for skipping 80% of her Ag Committee meetings was that she was busy attending other committee meetings.
Team Varilek puts the lie to that excuse and finds her laziness happens on the Indian Affairs Subcommittee. Even though Noem represents over 73,000 Native Americans, she has skipped 17 out of 22 Indian Affairs meetings. On July 24, 2012, a rare occasion when she did attend an Indian Affairs meeting, she might as well have been absent, since she was too busy jabbering on her phone to pay attention.
- On April 1, 2011, the subcommittee hearing she skipped (which concerned tribal energy development) was her only meeting of the day. She attended a Fox News interview later in the day.
- On September 22, 2011, she had four hearings on her schedule and skipped all four. She attended a fundraiser in the evening. She also missed National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands and Water and Power subcommittee hearings on this day, as well as an Education and the Workforce hearing.
- On November 3, 2011, she skipped all four hearings on her schedule. Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Mike Black, a South Dakota native and Oglala Sioux member, testified before the Indian Affairs subcommittee on that day. She also missed meetings of the Natural Resources Committee, the Agriculture Committee, and the Education and the Workforce Committee on this day [Matt Varilek campaign, press release, September 26, 2012].
Noem tries to excuse her non-performance by saying she skips meetings that don't directly affect South Dakota's tribes. Team Varilek shows that's bogus, too:
Noem also claimed that the meetings she skipped focused on issues that did not affect South Dakota's Native Americans. This is also false. Those meetings dealt with such issues as universal telecom service mandates in rural areas, the Indian Health Services budget, and the American Indian Empowerment Act [Varilek campaign, 2012.09.26].
Besides, who says members of Congress only need to show up for work when the bills under discussion directly affect their states? Rep. Noem is a federal employee, paid by the taxpayers to do the work of the federal government. We pay Rep. Noem to apply her South Dakota expertise and experience for the good of the entire country. Where she may lack expertise (and none of us are experts on everything), it's her job to learn about issues by, among other duties, participating in committee meetings.
By skipping her committee meetings, Rep. Noem exhibits an arrogant disregard for learning and duty. She thinks she need only stay in her very small, self-absorbed world of flag-waving, fundraising, and Fox News image-stroking.
Noem's enablers only response is to try to change the subject. But Kristi's fans can't deny that she's not doing the job we're paying her to do. In almost any reality other than the "Kristi's so pretty on a horse!" universe, people who don't do the job get fired.