Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) spoke at the final day of Turning Point USA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit Sunday and criticized unnamed leaders across the country for embracing a feelings-based governing approach.
The South Dakota governor gave the crowd of young women a little background on her initial entry into the political sphere. She took over her family’s farm after her father passed away, but about a month after his untimely death, she received a letter from the IRS, notifying her of owed “death taxes.”
“It was devastating for us,” she told the crowd. “You can imagine as farmers you have a lot of land, you have cattle, you have machinery, but you don’t have money in the bank.”
“When I got this letter in the mail, it made me angry,” she continued.
That letter, she said, started her political journey.
“I was the first female governor ever elected in the state of South Dakota,” she said, adding that people “talked about that a lot.”
“I had several people…that told me that they didn’t think I had the right body parts to be governor– that being the CEO was a different type of a job,” she continued.
She warned the crowd of young women against listening to naysayers who might dismiss them simply because of their gender or another related factor.
“I didn’t want people to vote for me because of my gender,” she said. “I wanted them to vote to me because I was the right person for the job.”
However, far too many leaders– men and women alike– allow their feelings to dictate their decisions. This, Noem said, is out of balance.
“Today we have a lot of people serving in office that are governed by feelings,” she said, noting the crucial role feelings play in interpersonal relationships.
“Resonating with people’s hearts is incredibly important, but we also can’t be completely motivated feelings,” she said. “We need to have thoughts and ideas and belief systems.”
Those other factors, she said, bring “stability to the type of government that we need to have.”
“This country doesn’t need more speech-givers,” she said. “It doesn’t need more bench sitters or couch potatoes. What we need is problem-solvers.”
She added that those “problem-solvers” cannot make the mistake of separating issues into divisive gender categories.
“I’m a big believer that there’s not women’s issues,” she said. “There’s not women’s issues. There is a woman’s perspective on every issue. On every single issue we have a different perspective.”