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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Noem Fails to Land Seat on Agriculture Committee

Someone please unspin this for me: Kristi Noem, soon to be South Dakota's lone Representative in the U.S. House, for all her supposed pull with the new Republican majority, fails to land a seat on the House Agriculture Committee.

The Agriculture Committee is the one committee for which Noem has more experience than I do to serve as a useful member. She relentlessly touted her lifelong farm background on the campaign trail. Right after the election, Noem herself said landing a seat on the agriculture committee was among her top priorities:

Once in Washington, Noem says she hopes to serve on the agriculture committee.

"But then we'll go on from there. Maybe commerce; energy will be extremely important. We'll see what we can do and we'll be on the one that's best for South Dakota," Noem said [Shawn Neisteadt, "Noem Reflects on Campaign, Looks Forward," KELOLand.com, 2010.11.03].

Noem repeated later in November that she wanted an Ag seat, plus Energy and Commerce. She also mentioned Natural Resources.

Noem got little of what she wanted. She landed the Natural Resources Committee, which is apparently "less competitive to get a seat on" (i.e., Noem got the crap assignment), and the Labor and Education Committee, for which she as a non-college graduate from a union-busting state is singularly unqualified. And all Noem's spokesflunky Joshua Shields can whimper in response to a direct question about the failure to get the ag nod is "there are several good committees Kristi considered. She is pleased with her assignments."

My only hope is that she will use her position on Ed/Labor to put her Tea-Bag cred to work and kill No Child Left Behind. Why, oh why, do I keep hoping against hope that Republicans will display philosophical consistency?

Noem's assignments are one more sign that the GOP leadership sees her as more valuable as a trick pony for their fundraisers and press appearances than as a strong voice for South Dakota interests. Maybe they noticed that she never did get around to posting a coherent ag policy on her campaign website. Or maybe even the GOP leadership couldn't ignore Noem's clear conflict of interest over making a living off farm subsidies and subsidized crop insurance.

Either way, South Dakota has just lost its only voice on the House Agriculture Committee, which shapes legislation on all manner of ag issues as well as on the rural electric systems and rural development.


  1. Unspin? How about:

    Mainstream congressmembers marginalizing someone who might vote against subsidies maybe? FDA wanted her to be as far away from them as possible?

    DWC just purged three comments that alluded to Noem's history at the FSA.


  2. Here's a list of the new Republican members of the Ag Cmte:

    Rick Crawford (AR): ag journalist
    Scott DesJarlais (TN): doctor
    Renee Ellmers (NC): nurse, admin
    Stephen Fincher (TN): farmer
    Bob Gibbs (OH): retired livestock producer, rental manager
    Chris Gibson (NY): retired soldier
    Vicky Hartzler (MO): home ec teacher, farm wife
    Tim Huelskamp (KS): farmer
    Randy Hultgren (IL): investment lawyer
    Reid Ribble (WI): roofing contractor
    Martha Roby (AL): lawyer, city councilwoman
    Bobby Schilling (IL): pizza maker
    Austin Scott (GA): insurance salesman
    Steve Southerland (FL): mortician
    Marlin Stutzman (IN): farmer, trucker
    Scott Tipton (CO): pottery shop owner

  3. I just can't wrap my head around why the republicans would put a non-college graduate on the education committee. It's almost a slap in the face. I tried to ask the folks on DWC but they deleted all three of my posts.

  4. But Terry, don't you know? Kristi Noem is superbly qualified for the education committee because she's a "mother with three children [in] public schools."

    Never mind that the federal government provides less than 10% of the funding for K-12 education and has little to do with the day-to-day teaching of our kids in our local school districts.

  5. Noem also sponsored House Bill 1168 - Require children to attend school until age sixteen rather than age eighteen. And as Mr. Fleming pointed out on Dakota War College, "Noem will be only one on the committee without a degree. In fact, nearly all have advanced degrees—there are 3 MDs, 5 attorneys, one PhD and 5 master’s degrees". I can see why the republicans wanted her off agriculture but at least she knows what an ear of corn looks like.I don't think 3 kids will be enough to get her up to speed on this one. Maybe Noem can get that 10% funding up to 20% or better. That might help keep America from falling even further behind the rest of the world.


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