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Kennedy Noem Lands $40K+/Year on Mom’s Transition Team

Hey, Governor Daugaard! What’s that you said about liberal arts majors not being able to find good paying jobs? Kennedy Noem is a senior at South Dakota State University majoring in political science and minoring in economics. She hasn’t even finished her liberal arts degree, and she’s already doing a job that makes over forty grand a year… working for her mom’s transition team.

Kristi Noem's daughter gets $40,716 a year for work on mom's transition team.
Open.SD.Gov, screen cap, 2018.11.25.

According to Open.SD.Gov, for helping “develop policy proposals for the upcoming legislative session, prepare Governor-elect Noem’s budget proposal, and identify and screen candidates for the Governor’s Cabinet and Staff,” Kennedy Noem is getting an annual salary of $40,716. That shows you what a liberal arts education will get you!

Or wait: maybe this is just more evidence that one doesn’t need a degree to get a good job in South Dakota… just connections with Republicans.

Kennedy Noem is on the low end of well-connected-Republican pay. Noem’s campaign scheduler, now transition scheduler Megan Goltz, is getting $45,000 per year from the state. Noem deputy campaign manager Herb Jones, former legislator and local figurehead for Big Tobacco’s successful vanquishing of IM 25 Steve Westra, and lobbyist and transition chair Matt McCaulley are each getting paid at a $96,000 annual rate for their transition labors. Fellow transitioner Liza Clark is getting $121,111.91 in her current position as commission of the Bureau of Finance and Management—given the work we expect for that salary level, it’s hard to imagine she has much time to contribute to the Noem transition. Open.SD.Gov does not list a salary for inauguration coordinator Beth Hollatz.

Those transition team members can all duke it out for the position of chief of staff, currently held by Tonnis Venhuizen. We pay Venhuizen $146,578.69 for his sage advice to Governor Daugaard, who, remarkably, only takes $113,560.73 a year. But the Governor also gets a nice house… which Governor-Elect Noem doesn’t plan to live in.


  1. Rorschach 2018-11-25 17:59

    Noem will give each of her kids $100,000+ taxpayer-funded jobs. Probably her mother and brothers too. Entire generations of the Noem/Arnold family will be on the dole.

  2. John 2018-11-25 19:10

    Ha! What an under-achiever! She could double that being a truck driver in the ND oil fields. (And would’ve shouldered those egregious SD tuition bills and debts.)

  3. Jenny 2018-11-25 19:12

    But Cory, don’t you know the rules? Nepotism is OK if you’re a Republican, and especially a republican in South Dakota.

    ( I am so glad I don’t live in South Dakota, I don’t know how Democrats can stand it there)

  4. o 2018-11-25 19:17

    Rorschach, at those salary rates, just imagine the death taxes their children will have to pay.

  5. Jake 2018-11-25 19:59

    I promptly notice that OS and Jason are glaringly vacant rm this post!

  6. Debbo 2018-11-25 20:13

    Just more crony crud by the SDGOP. I wonder where the limit is on SD’s GOP voter’s willingness to be fleeced? Evidence thus far points way, way up. That does not make me happy for them or SD as a whole.

  7. JustBergan 2018-11-25 20:27

    Nurses and teachers with full credentials and degrees don’t start with that salary. BS

  8. ACB 2018-11-25 21:01

    Open SD is always fascinating. Salaries are usually so hush hush, and yet this is one area where SD records are very transparent (if you know what to search for).

    So far searching Noem returns Kennedy and a guy that works for DOT. Goltz returns Megan and a Trapper that works for GFP (convenient spousal hire?). Perhaps we should keep an eye on Ravnsborg, Rhoden, etc to see if they also get relatives on the state payroll.

  9. 96Tears 2018-11-25 23:02

    Stupid voters in South Dakota. After EB5 and GEAR UP, you knew what you were buying. A lot more of the same with Noem and Ravnsborg. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  10. grudznick 2018-11-25 23:18

    Where are these EB5 and GEAR UP people now, Mr. Tears? Are they not all gone?

  11. jerry 2018-11-25 23:28

    One is a United States Senator and the others are doing just fine.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-26 06:51

    Ror, I think you exaggerate. Her son is still in high school (that’s why she won’t move to Pierre), so he won’t get a six-figure salary. But she’ll make sure the Regents give him and Opportunity Scholarship.

  13. Dana P 2018-11-26 07:34

    Nepotism and cronyism continues in SD gov’t. It’s as much of a tradition as pheasant hunting in this state.

  14. Steve Pearson 2018-11-26 08:16

    Kennedy Noem has a job in government and you don’t Corey. That’s worth it.

  15. Darrell Solberg 2018-11-26 08:26

    She has learned well from Trump on how to feather her own nest and that of her children and relatives. I can only hope that the public keeps an eye on her actions as Governor, as if they are anything like her campaign filled with lies we should be in for a wild ride. Somehow the voters of South Dakota have the ability to overlook shady dealings in favor of a straight party vote. Business as usual in Pierre at the expense of the tax payers of South Dakota.

  16. 96Tears 2018-11-26 12:43

    g – Other than six dead ones, they’re all running loose and available for more free money.

  17. Catherine Ratliff 2018-11-27 11:01

    Nepotism in Governor Rounds’ administration shocked me, but I’m used to it now.

  18. attypat 2018-11-30 08:24

    Kristi became a rep without a college degree….why would she set a higher bar for her daughter? i worked for 30+ years for the state in a professional job that did require a college degree and walked out the door with that salary. in my humble opinion, nepotism has been a major problem in SD and apparently that trend will continue!

  19. Stephen Johnson 2019-11-27 17:37

    In just a short time later, she is now up to over $57k a year

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