South Dakota officials affirmed the coming installation of a security fence, estimated to cost around $400,000, around the governor’s residence, which reportedly came at the recommendation of Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) security team.
According to Noem spokeswoman Maggie Seidel, officials are reviving a plan that was proposed last year but never acted upon. Seidel, a senior adviser to Noem, said the governor’s security team “believes it is critical.” The project is expected to be completed this fall.
While she did not offer any specific threats against the governor, Seidel acknowledged that Noem’s approach to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic “had put her at odds with some people,” according to the AP.
“In America, we debate issues; we don’t turn to violence,” Seidel said. “But it only takes one, and per the governor’s security team, putting up a fence around the residence is critical at this time.”
The fence itself is supported by many residents who want to contribute, she added.
“While this will not cover the entire cost, we are pleased that their generosity will help to reduce the state cost,” Seidel said. “Their support will also help us ensure that the design is suitable for the Capitol complex grounds.”
Noem rose to the national spotlight due to her response to the coronavirus pandemic in her state. She never issued a statewide lockdown order, instead urging citizens and businesses to practice personal responsibility and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
“I think what we did here in South Dakota is really remarkable because we gave people their freedom. We let the businesses stay open,” she said during a July appearance on Fox & Friends.
“We let people go to work. We told them to be smart. And we also asked them to be personally responsible, and we’re seeing the benefits of that each and every day in South Dakota,” she continued.
Noem pointed out that the spike in cases, which according to the establishment media was supposed to hit following the July 3 Independence Day event at Mount Rushmore — never came.
“You know, trust your people,” she said when asked what advice she would give to other governors. “Don’t lay down mandates that are going to hinder the ability that they need to really get through this difficult time. Trust them. Give them the facts. Let them make decisions that are right for their families.”
This week, Noem pointed out that, in the last five months, more South Dakotans died due to accidental injuries than from the Chinese coronavirus:
We take precautions when we get in our cars, when we operate farm equipment, and when we make choices about what we eat and how much we exercise. The same should be true about life as we continue getting back to normal. (2/2)
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) August 10, 2020