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Noem Needs Us to Pay for Another Personal Spokesperson

Candidate Kristi Noem vowed to fight government bloat by “look[ing] to scrub each agency, refocusing and streamlining existing departments….”

If you believed that… well, I’ll avoid insults and simply ask you to stop believing it and read how Governor Kristi Noem justifies adding another spokesperson to her office’s payroll:

Joshua Shields explained Thursday what’s happening. He has been communications director for Noem since she took office January 5. He said he’s getting a new title — chief of policy and communications — and will continue to oversee the communications team and continue to serve on the governor’s executive team.

“After session, we assessed our staffing needs and determined that another communications professional was needed to help round out the team and ensure we can deliver on Governor Noem’s commitment to be the most connected governor our state’s ever had,” Shields said in an email [Bob Mercer, “Emily Kiel Moves to Governor’s Communications Staff,” KELO-TV, 2019.05.16].

Really? Governor Noem needs yet another person to communicate for her? Does Kristi Noem really have a whole person’s worth of important things to say than Dennis Daugaard, or Marion Michael Rounds, or Bill Janklow, or anyone else who did the job before her?

Well, at least Kristi didn’t hire her other daughter for this new state job. But the bigger Noem makes state government, the smaller her promises and performance look.


  1. Scott 2019-05-16 21:09

    People need to understand that providing information to the public takes staff and thus cost taxpayer money. Transparency is not free. Upkeeping social media takes staff as well.

    Now is this position to keep people informed or is it to keep up Noem’s political image?

  2. Donald Pay 2019-05-16 21:32

    Scott is right as far as he goes. If you are providing B.S. to the public or trying to cover up information you need a bigger staff to properly massage the message and sift through information to redact what she doesn’t want to disclose. That might require an FTE. If you are providing documents to the public in an effort to actually be transparent, you just need someone to put it up on the internet or push a print button. That doesn’t require much time, certainly not an FTE, and it could be done by people in Departments, not the Governor’s office. The more she centralizes this stuff the more it looks like a cover up or pr operation.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-05-16 21:39

    Fair point and fair question, Scott. As you might suspect, I’m skeptical that the Governor is expanding her staff for the purpose of giving us more useful information. Given her irrational veto of hemp, her unwillingness to consult with the tribes on the anti-protest bills, and other general obstinacy, maybe Governor Noem needs to focus less on paying more people to tell us what she thinks and focus more on listening to what the people think.

    If Noem really does need more staff to provide more honest transparency, she could easily reprioritize the $60K she’s spending on her special videographer, whose services, I suspect are entirely for boosting her image, not for providing useful information.

    The number I’d like to see is FTEs in each of the past administrations for communications staff. Upkeeping social media takes staff… but shouldn’t modern communications make it possible to put out more communications more efficiently, rather than requiring more labor? Can social media replace other more costly forms of communication while providing even more information than old print or broadcast means?

    Another number I’d like to see: someone quantify the amount of objectively useful information the Governor’s office publishes every day… then quantify the amount of objectively useful information that I publish every day with much less budget and zero staff.

  4. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-05-16 23:02

    We already know she’s connected to the creator. That was demonstrated when she asked us for prayer for flood victims, resulting in a cyclone bomb and two feet of wet snow.

    But what on god’s green earth is she connected to? Not SoDakians. Not logic. What?

  5. John Dale 2019-05-17 02:11

    The last time she spoke, she vaporized a few million bucks out of the pockets of South Dakota Farmers. I guess she and Thune are in the same pocket; move to the city, get irradiated by 5G. No empowerment for the rural. Honestly, though .. I can’t figure out if she looks better in a cowgirl hat or a tiara. Discuss.

  6. mike from iowa 2019-05-17 07:34

    I can’t figure out if she looks better in a cowgirl hat or a tiara. Discuss.

    Noem’s gubernatorial legacy and should be writ in stone.

  7. Loren 2019-05-17 09:21

    Well, school is about ready to go on break and kids are looking for summer employment. I bet Booger needs a job. Come on, mom, you can find something, right?

  8. Porter Lansing 2019-05-17 11:20

    John Dale … What does “get irradiated by 5G” mean?

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-05-17 15:38

    One of Rhoden’s boys is no longer on the state payroll; maybe Kristi cleared him out to make room for Booker.

  10. T 2019-05-18 06:42

    Mike from iowa
    Help me with a bet
    Our governor family hunting lodge is still
    Owned and operated by family ?
    As their family still entertains pheasant hunters
    Or not?
    Any info appreciated
    If you know off top of head
    The skin in the game has to be more for her
    Than her family tradition crap

  11. T 2019-05-18 06:45

    Donald pay spot on
    She is sandering and Conwaying it
    All the way

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