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Girls Stater Expelled After Posting Photo of Noem and Anti-Trump Message

I told you the Governor’s office did not want that picture posted. That’s coming from the Governor of this state. So you’re telling me you don’t have respect for that office?

A South Dakota Girls State staffer said those words to Girls State participant Madison Howard on the night of May 30, 2019, in a University of South Dakota dormitory in which Howard, other Girls Staters, and their adult supervisors were staying. The Girls State staffer said those words one minute before confiscating Howard’s Girls Nation certificate and shortly before expelling Howard from Girls State.

“That picture” refers to this photo, taken by Howard earlier that day, before Governor Noem’s lunchtime speech to Girls Staters:

Gov. Kristi Noem and Madison Howard's Trump-impeachment mug, photo by Madison Howard, Vermillion, SD, 2019.05.30.
Gov. Kristi Noem and Madison Howard’s Trump-impeachment mug, photo by Madison Howard, Vermillion, SD, 2019.05.30.

Howard snapped a similar photo of her anti-Trump mug in front of Senator John Thune during his visit to her AP Government class at Roosevelt High School on May 17:

Sen. John Thune and Madison Howard's Trump-impeachment mug, photo by Madison Howard, Sioux Falls, SD, 2019.05.17.
Sen. John Thune and Madison Howard’s Trump-impeachment mug, photo by Madison Howard, Sioux Falls, SD, 2019.05.17.

Howard posted both photos on VSCO, where Howard says they drew a fair amount of attention (as far as attention goes in the smartphone age). But apparently, the Noem/mug photo drew the attention of the Governor’s Office itself, with consequences for Howard.

Howard took the above Noem/mug photo before lunch on May 30. Howard took another photo of herself with Noem and a fellow Girls Stater after the Governor’s talk, but Howard says that a Girls State official named Cheryl (and here I take a guess that she means Cheryl Hovorka, American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State Director/Chairman) approached her shortly after Howard took that second photo and said the Governor’s office did not want Howard to post her photo. Howard thought Cheryl meant that second photo with her friend and Noem. Howard did not post that second photo. She left the first photo online.

Noem left to speak at Boys State in Aberdeen, 260 miles away.

Later that day, at 18:53 CDT, Howard received the following Instagram direct message from “JacksonFerguson21”. Howard did not know this Instagram user, but he appears to be Watertown High School junior Jackson Ferguson, who was attending Boys State in Aberdeen.

Jackson Ferguson, Instagram direct message to Madison Howard, 2019.05.30.
Jackson Ferguson, Instagram direct message to Madison Howard, 2019.05.30.

Hey I just wanted to let you know that the governors staff saw the picture you put on vsco and they were not happy about it. They are discussing options on what to do right now but they would appreciate it if you took it down because they don’t want to have to do anything about it [Jackson Ferguson, Instagram direct message to Madison Howard, 2019.05.30.]

When Howard asked “jacksonferguson21” to identify himself, he responded as follows:

Jackson Ferguson and Madison Howard, Instagram direct messages, 2019.05.30.
Jackson Ferguson and Madison Howard, Instagram direct messages, 2019.05.30.
Jackson Ferguson and Madison Howard, Instagram direct messages, 2019.05.30.
Jackson Ferguson and Madison Howard, Instagram direct messages, 2019.05.30.

Ferguson claimed to be the Governor’s son’s friend. He claimed to have been with “them” at Boys State that day when “they” saw the picture—and if Ferguson’s pronouns are consistent, “they” refers to the Governor’s staff. Ferguson claimed that “they can and will press charges if it [the picture]’s not removed.”

To these increasingly remarkable claims, Howard simply responded “they actually can’t press charges” and asserted that the government “can’t really censor me.” Nonetheless, after this online conversation, Howard says she deleted the Noem/mug photo from her VSCO account.

After ten p.m., after the Girls Staters were to retire to their rooms, a counselor came to Howard’s dorm room and told her to grab her Girls Nation certificate and come downstairs where the adults were staying.

Girls Nation Certificate, issued to Madison Howard 2019.05.30, retracted before interview.
Girls Nation Certificate, issued to Madison Howard 2019.05.30, retracted before interview.

Howard recalls entering a room to meet with her immediate counselor (Howard was assigned to the Girls State “city” of Miami, whose counselor the ALA SD Girls State website lists as Brooke Eidsness), “Cheryl” (again, I guess Girls State director Hovorka), and “Tiffany” (ALA SD GS lists Tiffany Newman as its assistant director).

Howard says the following exchange took place at the meeting:

Cheryl: “I told you the Governor’s office did not want that picture posted. That’s coming from the Governor of this state. So you’re telling me you don’t have respect for that office?”

Howard: “I respect the Governor.”

Cheryl: “Her office said they didn’t want it posted, and you put it on social media.”

Howard: “That’s because the government cannot censor me.”

A few seconds after that exchange, one of the adults ordered Howard to surrender the certificate inviting her to interview for Girls Nation, the national event in Washington, DC, to which each Girls State gets to send two outstanding students. Howard says she was one of twelve girls to receive Girls Nation certificates that day around noon. Howard did not see that certificate again. After two minutes of further grilling, Cheryl dismissed Howard with, “We talked about choices, you better start making better ones. Go back to bed.”

Howard returned to her dorm room, but around five to ten minutes later, she was called back downstairs. This time, according to Howard, every Legion Auxiliary leader at Girls State was in the room, seated in a circle. In front of these women, Howard was again interrogated about her photo of Governor Noem and her Trump impeachment mug. Howard defended the photo, saying it was a photo of a public figure and a statement of Howard’s own belief. One woman asked Howard what made her think that action was o.k. Howard cited the Constitution. When asked to show the picture, Howard brought the photo up on her phone (not online, but stored in her phone’s memory), and the women reacted with disgust.

Girls State staff then asked Howard to delete the photo from her phone. Howard refused.

Girls State staff demanded that Howard apologize to every woman in the room, including Howard’s Legion Auxiliary sponsor, who said she had paid $150 so that Howard could attend Girls State. Howard stated an apology.

Then Tiffany told Howard she could consider herself officially dismissed from Girls State.

Howard says she called her dad, who drove to Vermillion from Sioux Falls around midnight. Howard packed her things. She told her friend and debate partner Hope Grismer (with whom she won the Class AA Public Forum State Championship last March, and who was also attending Girls State) that she was being expelled. Then Howard walked down from her dorm room with her counselor, her roommate, and another friend, met her dad, and left Girls State.

As I noted in my discussion of First Amendment rights at Girls State last Sunday, the American Legion Auxiliary is a private organization. Those women can select for and expel from their event pretty much any student they want.

But the story here isn’t that the American Legion Auxiliary expelled a student who failed to follow orders. The story here is that the Governor’s Office was actively searching social media, identifying political content that the Governor’s Office found objectionable, discussing a punitive response to that political content in earshot of a teenage boy not involved in the original speech act, and then expressing its objection to that content to a private organization with the power to punish the student who posted that political content.

Governor Kristi Noem may not be building a fence around the Governor’s Mansion, but Madison Howard’s expulsion from Girls State, like Noem’s anti-protest laws, suggests the Governor’s Office wants a fence around the First Amendment.


  1. jerry 2019-06-16 09:06

    More radical right wing American Legion fascism, living up to what it’s original founders vision of a jack booted authoritarian government. Thanks to the young lady who bravely pointed out the hypocrisy of a group that pretends it supports democracy.

    Girls State and Boys State are just more political incubators for fascist youth, much like what Butina was promoting with the young republicans and the NRA under Dusty Johnson’s watchful eye. More kool-aid to be drunk at the expense of freedom.

    To the thin skinned trumpian fraud in Pierre, just leave already. For the first woman in that chair, you have certainly done your very best to soil it. The young lady showed you what class and democracy is all about, and I thank her for it. This young lady is someone who is clearly a future leader.

  2. JonD 2019-06-16 09:09

    She was looking for trouble and she found it, and good for her. Nolite te bastardes carborundum, Ms. Howard. Once again, we find ourselves looking to the youth of America to light our way.

  3. Dana P 2019-06-16 09:17

    Wow, wow, wow.

    How wonderful that the young Madison Howard knows the first amendment, inside and out. And that she literally could “school” the adults about it. How terrible that the so-called ‘adults’ don’t know, apparently, squat about the first amendment.

    Worse than that? The governor’s office even making this call in the first place. Wow. It’s a head shaker that makes my stomach turn.

    I’m sure if Ms Howard’s beverage container had a “where is Obama’s birth certificate?” label on it, she wouldn’t have heard a thing from the governor’s office or the so-called “leadership”.


  4. John 2019-06-16 09:22

    Sue, sue, sue! Wonderful opportunity for the young woman to get her college and graduate school paid for, maybe with enough left over to buy a car and house.

  5. allison bates 2019-06-16 09:34

    If you 4 think you could help her, reach out, use your magic and help Ms Howard work through this…

  6. leslie 2019-06-16 09:50

    Fantastic story of resistance to right wing obstruction. Congrats ms. Howard. Stellar student! jerry’s comment is out of the park.

    I “speak latin but won’t waste resources plumbing that other comment.

  7. L. Sue Frioli 2019-06-16 09:57

    This child could teach some GOP Senators a thing or two about bravery.

  8. John Dale 2019-06-16 10:04

    This is chicken isht, but then, so is Noem’s team’s response. Get over it, princess.

  9. mike from iowa 2019-06-16 10:19

    If a state ever needed remedial civics it is Northern Mississippi. This will go nationwide and make laughingstocks out of stoopid wingnut laughingstocks, especially the lying female in chief from Pierre.

  10. MJK 2019-06-16 10:43

    My daughters all attended Girls State. They appreciated what they learned about their government and appreciated the sponsorship. The purpose for attending is to learn about government; how it works; and what leadership means to each individual attendee. Your personal political views are not challenged generally; party affiliation is not in question and that is not the purpose of the event. My issue would be with the Governor’s Office. They should have stayed out of it. The decision should have remained with the American Legion Auxiliary Chairman & committee. My other issue would be that I hope the auxiliary members weren’t intent on making an “example” of this young girl by expelling; in order to squelch free speech. Girls State or Girls Nation is not mandated to attend if you are selected. You can decline. Girls State offers opportunity to make new friends and develop perspective. You may disagree with a leader but you still have to respect their elected position and push for change in a diplomatic, fundamental way. Girls State many times inspires girls to enter politics. We need young leaders. We encourage young leaders taking us forward. A good way to forward your views and those you represent; would be to run for office.

  11. Loren 2019-06-16 11:13

    The problems that S. Dakotans face and this is what concerns Kristi’s administration. But, then again, who really expected more our of our practically non-existent former Rep. Very sad, bigly!

  12. Roger Elgersma 2019-06-16 11:49

    Noem was very much against trump when he was running in the primaries. She even went to Iowa to campaign for anyone but trump in their primary. She was quite concerned about him then. Flip flop to her having him here for a fundraiser, she pointed to him with a big grin and said, ‘He is the Man.’ I do not want to guess what would make a woman flip flop so badly. For a Christian to flip for the devil himself is not Christian. If one just follows the earthly powers that be, they would do that. But if one believes there is a God, they would not just follow whom ever won.

  13. Ck 2019-06-16 11:51

    As a dual American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary member, I find this action appalling.
    The American Legion, and its associated organizations are not affiliated with a political party. Shame on the Auxiliary for bending to the will of the governor.
    Rest assured, I will be making some calls and emails. This was handled poorly.

  14. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr., 2019-06-16 11:58

    Paul Erickson was once elected governor of Boys State here in South Dakota. Need I say more?

    And I think it is also very sad that the American Legion censored this young person. Just think of how many Americans have died for this country so that Americans could be free to express themselves. I didn’t know the American Legion needed to learn that reality, but apparently so.

  15. mike from iowa 2019-06-16 12:07

    Sounds like wingnuts have politicized American Legion along with everything else.

  16. happy camper 2019-06-16 12:14

    People love free speech when it’s exactly what they want to hear. Noem is gonna have to get a thicker skin and start respecting the law. Thus far she’s been a disappointment.

  17. Donald Pay 2019-06-16 12:29

    Jesus, Mary and Joseph. What’s the insanity going on in South Dakota? The Governor or whoever in her office thought they should get involved in trying to squelch Howard should resign immediately. I give Howard credit for being the adult in the room. The rest of the people should go back to civics class.

  18. o 2019-06-16 12:29

    Rights and consequences. The pictures had one purpose: to make the person pictured with the slogan/mug (Governor Noem and Senator Thune) look foolish – put them in a picture with something that clearly contradicts their political affiliation/position. It was also done in a way that was not straight forward: I gather neither was asked or aware of the inclusion of the slogan mug. So the point was to get a silly “gotcha” picture. Although The First Amendment gives a wide birth for humiliating public figures, these pictures were not some noble expression. This was not speaking truth to power. This was a silly gag. it was also made public – not just a giggle among friends.

    Again, when dealing with President Trump, the folk hero, the man ordained by God to be president (and it is our religious duty to follow God’s will in that regard), his followers do not take good-natured ribbing.

    I remember 100 years ago, my Boy’s State interview included a question about flag burning. It was not to probe the depths of First Amendment expression. I would venture that the American Legion Auxiliary is not the Liberal-leaning arm of the American Legion. Maybe things have changed, but I think there is an institutional Conservatism to both Boys and Girls State.

  19. 96Tears 2019-06-16 12:34

    Speaking of doo doo, John Dale’s all about pounding a kid for expressing her political opinion. Not so with the Noem wedding coverage here. Leave those kids alone! (Kids in their 20s, that is.) Since we have to put up with Dale’s lunch hall monitor blather, we might as well help the boy with his hypocrisies.

  20. Mark T. Sternhagen 2019-06-16 12:44

    Agree or disagree with her, the fact is she had very right to take and post that picture. The Legion owes her an apology.

  21. 96Tears 2019-06-16 12:47

    Why are we reading about this here and not getting what I think is a significant political news story in our Sunday papers, on KELO or S.D. Public Radio? Governor is offended, jerks American Legion’s chain to jerk kid’s certificate and kick her out of Girls State.

    How is that NOT a juicy political story. It could, perhaps, make a national news story.

    I saw the Argus’ Republican apologist’s “news” column today with a puff piece on Noem’s decision to move the annual Governor’s Pheasant Hunt to Sioux Falls. “Some have cast the decision in a Sioux Falls versus the rest of the state narrative. But that is the wrong take. The correct take is that Noem promised to change Pierre, and this is one of those moves.”


    I guess if South Dakota readers want to see a story about someone with courage to speak her truth to power, we still have Dakota Free Press.

  22. leslie 2019-06-16 13:08

    Take away a graduating senior’s, the future’s leader in all likelihood, right and consequence to express an opinion on the mortarboard of the school uniform, and low and behold, about the most important crisis facing the country—impeachment of a treasonous autocrat president; the opinion gets expressed in another way, taking advantage of the very bully pulpit of the crass autocrat’s enablers. Touché

    Happy father’s day Mr Howard! Well done:)


  23. Tom 2019-06-16 13:30

    “Respect the office.”


    Not this Trumpian jerk. And not the spineless jokes who expelled her.

  24. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-16 13:47

    Hap, I’m trying to figure out why the Governor’s staff would even have bothered to look for this content, let alone offer any response to it.

    I’m also puzzled as to why they would contact the Legion Auxiliary over one student’s online post but have yet to dispatch any staff to offer thoughtful responses to any of the criticism I’ve posted of Noem’s policies on this blog.

  25. Porter Lansing 2019-06-16 13:55

    Because Cory, Gov. Noem’s action is out of fear of the bully Trump. Trump doesn’t read so she’s not worried he’ll find out what you’ve written. He does however look at pictures, especially pictures that portray him negatively. He thrives on (as he calls it) “fighting back”. In her mind she’s protecting SD from Trump. There’s a lot of disaster aid on the line if the bully wants to retaliate.

  26. Roger Cornelius 2019-06-16 13:57

    Thank you Kristi Noem, thank you for once again making a gigantic fool of yourself by bullying a Girl State representative. That took some real courage.

    What is even worse is that Kristi didn’t do the bullying herself, she had a hired goon do it for her.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-16 14:00

    96, Howard tells me she spoke to a reporter from that Sioux Falls paper shortly after the incident. The reporter said he would contact her again before publishing the story. Howard has not heard back from that reporter.

    I heard from Howard the week after Girls State. I finally connected with her last Saturday. She provided some evidence to me last weekend. I received a final key piece of evidence yesterday. I sent two queries to Cheryl Hovorka, the USD Girls State contact e-mail, and the Governor’s Office, one last Sunday, one Thursday June 13. Girls State leaders and the Governor’s office have yet to respond.

  28. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-16 14:04

    The SDGOP spin machine was roused from its usual Sunday press-release slumber to immediately brand this post as “Noem derangement” and “creative writing” and scramble up some complimentary words about his sponsor.

    I have reported exactly what I was told and what the evidence presented to me shows. The screen caps I have posted are as I received them, unaltered in content.

    And while I have offered evidence to support Madison Howard’s statements, the SDGOP spin blog has offered no counter-evidence showing that I have gotten anything wrong. I welcome evidence to contrary of my report so that we may understand the facts of our government clearly.

  29. Deejay Beejr 2019-06-16 14:24

    Yep, it is time for a lawsuit against Ponygirl Noem. Like the military has recently said, the American Legion should not be letting themselves be dragged into politics. After all, the Legion is just as much at fault. The school chose who they want to send as representatives to Girls and Boys State, not the American Legion, and certainly not the state. Possibly a boycott is in order for next year. Not an early one so schools can just select other people, but those selected should just not show up for the bus when it comes to their town.

    It is somewhat ironic that South Dakota’s first female governor would so blatantly attack an institution that has been a bastion for girls getting into politics. Why do politicians of the Trump persuasion have such thin skin?

  30. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-16 14:25

    Text versus pictures—interesting hypothesis, Porter!

    Roger, you , Porter, and Leslie all wisely invoke the word “bully.” I look forward to hearing how the adults involved explain this situation.

  31. 96Tears 2019-06-16 14:30

    Say what we will about that SDGOP spin blog, PP’s been around long enough to know if a negative story has legs.

    This story has legs. That’s why the machine is working to pound it in the ground.

    “Governor launches American Legion to tear down high school girl for expressing her political opinion at Girls State.”

    And now, “Governor and American Legion circle the wagons to stonewall Girls State Gate!”

    Too bad this isn’t even a one-day story in our state’s alleged news media. Cowardice or laziness?

  32. Gloria Smith-Rockhold 2019-06-16 14:30

    Thank you to Ms. Howard for standing for her first amendment rights. This incident is so despicable on many levels – violation of 1st Amendment, excessive use of power, etc. etc. etc. Disgusting!

  33. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-16 14:36

    Is a lawsuit really in order? No one has a right to attend Girls State or Girls Nation. The American Legion Auxiliary does not appear to violate anyone’s civil rights by not selecting them for either honor. if there is ground for a lawsuit, the Legion Auxiliary can’t be a defendant… can they?

    Now, absent the denial of a civil right, what are the grounds for a suit against the Governor’s office?

  34. James & Irene Heinert 2019-06-16 14:38

    According to the Preamble & Constitution of the American Auxiliary, the first purpose for their existance is to uphold & defend the Constitution of The U.S. The manner in which Ms. Howard was dealt with would suggest they grieviously missed the mark. Further, the highly questionable involvement of Kristi Noem & “The Governor’s Office”? Now that you have brought us the results of your investigative reporting, Cory, (Thank you!) this needs to be kept in the news so it gets state & national attention. This organization, its people, & Noem’s administration need to be seen for the so-called “patriots” they are!

  35. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-16 14:40

    Check that selection note, Deejay! The 2018 Girls State Brochure says, “Final selection of the delegates rests with the local Auxiliary units.” Are there some schools that send suggested lists of nominees, from whom the Auxiliary chooses delegates?

  36. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-16 14:48

    I’m receiving a variety of first-time comments on this story, suggesting interest from a wider field of readers. I welcome new readers and new commenters… but that makes this a good time to remind folks of the rules:

    First-time comments automatically go to the moderation queue. Especially on a story of this sort, where we are dealing with specific public figures and students, I expect every comment to come from a real person whose identity I can verify. I didn’t print this story until I heard from Madison Howard herself and she put her name to her statements. I will expect that of every individual who seeks to contribute information to this story.

    For instance, I just received a first-time comment attacking Madison Howard. The commenter claimed to have firsthand knowledge of events at Girls State 2019. However, the commenter gave only a first name and initial and gave a non-functional e-mail address. If I can’t reach you to verify claims in your comment and if you won’t share your full name with me, your comment will not be entered into the discussion.

  37. Mary K 2019-06-16 16:39

    I wonder if Ms. Howard could bring suit not only against the Governor’s office, headed by K. Noem, bully, but the Univ. of South Dakota as well.

    Cheryl Hovorka works for the political science department at USD.

    Cheryl Hovorka works for both USD and the American Legion Auxiliary when putting on the Girls State event. Here’s an article that says so:

  38. Timothy Even 2019-06-16 16:44

    I am a member of 40/8. At our april meeting we voted to donate money to girls state. I will probably not be supportive of future requests if this is not resolved fairly. We will be watching. Maybe the Gov and most assuredly the president are the ones who need the remedial civics classes.

  39. CLCJM 2019-06-16 17:06

    Ms. Noem is thin skinned and doesn’t believe in civil rights, especially the First Amendment! However, she certainly believes in abuse of power and censorship! And worship of a dictatorial out of control president!

  40. Donald Pay 2019-06-16 17:07

    The media in South Dakota often get scared off of stories. Clearly, the Governor and/or her staff used a lot of levers of power to try to intimate Howard, when that didn’t work and the word got out about it, they tried to squelch any media reporting on it.

    The more I think about this the madder I get. I’d like to know if Noem’s folks got that Watertown high school student at Boys State to try to intimidate Howard, or whether he really was just letting her know as a friend. His part in this seems fishy, though high school kids do fishy things sometimes. If Noem’s crowd had anything to do with that kid’s direct messages that is probably the lowest you can go.

    It’s almost conspiracy to violate Ms. Howard’s rights by Noem, her administration and the American Legion. Not only that they got away a thing of value (both Girls State and Girls Nation) from Howard, because of the Governor was peeved about an image. Noem is pretty chicksh*t and humorless if she can’t see the humor in it. But apparently not, and her behavior is akin to the shameful way Janklow behaved, except I never recall Janklow going after a high school student. It truly shows the level of gutlessness of Noem and her sycophants.

    It would be nice if there was at least a civil suit filed against the Governor and the American Legion officials. The Governor or Governor’s staff vastly overstepping norms to threaten a high school student’s rights and the American Legion turned out to be gutless wimps, throwing Howard under the bus. The behavior of the adults needs to be nipped in the bud. If you don’t hammer Noem on this, she will just do it to others more and more.

  41. mike from iowa 2019-06-16 17:13

    MK, you can send Cory a stage name to use for your comments, instead of real name.

  42. Kevin 2019-06-16 17:24

    I firmly agree with Ms. Howards right to freely express herself. But my question for her and I”d like her to answer it is, Impeach President Trump on what charges exactly? What high crimes and misdemeanors has he committed? The democratic congress can’t answer this question because they have no charges and have been dragging out this whole impeachment threat for 2 years because they have no charges. So, Ms. Howard, please in great detail explain the charges that President Trump should be impeached for. Then, I would like you to do some research on what impeachment is because here again, the democrats don’t know what the real power of impeachment is. I’ll give you a hint, it does not remove a President from office. I look forward to your response.

  43. Donald Pay 2019-06-16 17:38

    Just think about the timeline. The Watertown Boys Stater sends his message just before 7:00 pm, and three hours later she is brought before an Inquisition at Girls State. I’d like to see discovery occur where they have to hand over phone logs of who from the Governor’s staff was contacting whom at American Legion, etc. to set up this little Star Chamber enterprise. I’d like to see all these people giving depositions about what happened in this riot against the rights of Ms. Howard. Was Noem boosting this?

  44. Dave 2019-06-16 17:53

    I’m admittedly an old fuddy-duddy and have never heard of VSCO until reading about this. Where does VSCO rank when compared to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? It sounds like one might have to go to a lot of work to even find this photo … would Noem’s people even know about it without the help of that Jackson Ferguson dude? Would the American Legion Auxiliary know about a photo deleted from VSCO without Noem’s office complaining???

  45. happy camper 2019-06-16 18:03

    It strikes a cord as a free speech issue. This is the only reason we advance for some reason I came across a post about “The Wasp” a satirical magazine founded in 1876 beautiful artwork. Satire is protected free speech ie Charlie Hebdo.

  46. RJ 2019-06-16 18:34

    Ffs, how insecure and immature are Kristi and this group of adults? This teenager had a better understanding of free speech, free thinking and government then they did. Bravo to Madison, she did exactly what one should be able to do in a free country. Girls State was a joke when I attended in Highachool and appears to have become even more irrelevant now

  47. Tamara Ullyot 2019-06-16 18:39

    I attended SD Girls State in 1957 and found it a to be a very educational experience (l realize that was the last century!) I was thrilled to be elected Governor—the same year Tom Brokaw was elected Governor of Boys State! I am appalled that this young woman (a leader) was expelled and was denied a possible appointment to Girls Nation! Where are the “newscasters” in this state? This article is the first I have heard of this. This deserves NATIONAL coverage, in my opinion.

  48. Debbo 2019-06-16 18:49

    Ms. Howard must be a very smart and brave young woman. They set her up that second time– one student in a room full of adults was supposed to be intimidating. All those adults felt the need to intimidate a teenager? For shame!

    Madison Howard for governor in 20??

  49. John 2019-06-16 19:41

    Oh good grief. First and Fourteenth Amendments are grounds for a suit against the state. The state has no constitutional public business regulating speech in a commercial activity, a non-profit, or interfering with commerce. There is likely a dandy constitutional law and civil suit against several of the usual suspects here as others pointed out. Please, someone, get this young woman the free college and graduate school that she’s shown she’s earned.

  50. James 2019-06-16 19:43

    Madison Howard has no right to be at girl’s state. It is a privilege. She is there to learn about government not be an activist, you have your liberal organizations to do that. If you look at the TL on twitter you’d see that she had other offenses leading up to her dismissal from Girl’s state. Way to leave out key information Corey.

  51. happy camper 2019-06-16 20:19

    Seems to me Kristi needs to learn about government. Free speech is our defining moment in history.

  52. T 2019-06-16 20:22

    Not factual offenses if you ask me
    Referring to a twitter account for key information,? Now that’s funny

  53. Doug Wiken 2019-06-16 20:26

    Every government teacher in SD should demand that their schools stop cooperating with boys and girls state after this matter. Every high school administrator should join the protest. If ever there was a vailid free speech issue, taking a shot at both Trump and Noem at the same time is one. There is nothing this girl did that should have resulted in Girl’s State having anything to do with following Nome’s concerns. They failed miserably

  54. Debbo 2019-06-16 20:43

    James, “She is there to learn about government not be an activist, you have your liberal organizations to do that.”

    Oh, and there are no conservative activists?

    Yes, Ms. Howard is there to learn about government and activists of any type play a critical and important role in making a government function well. She learned about government officials, in this case the governor, ignoring the constitution to serve her own ego. Ms. Howard learned about one party government dysfunction and now she gets to learn about ways citizens can respond to such a government.

    It’s not the lesson Noem wants her and the other students to learn. Noem wants them to be intimidated and silenced. That’s not a lesson in government. It’s a lesson in SDGOP corruption.

  55. Debbo 2019-06-16 20:47

    BTW, the best response I can think of to Hovorka’s question, “Are you telling me you don’t respect the governor’s office?”, is “Are you telling me neither of you respect the constitution?”


  56. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-06-16 21:48

    In a gubernatorial administration marked by outrageous behavior, this, so far, takes the cake.

  57. Stanford Adelstein 2019-06-16 22:04

    I am a member of the American Legion Post 22 – as was my father (a hero of WWI) and my oldest son retired green beret lt Col! Three generations.

    This is outrageous. That son always carried his memories of Boy’s State in his heart as the model for our country — exactly as it is.

    When Girl’s State started my support always was there, in fact agreed to sponsor five girls each year regardless of cost, and loved the story’s that they brought back!!

    How dare anyone in office, see a young person’s expression, and try to punish that person for doing so. This disgrace for my party sitting in the Governor’s office is beyond anything that has been my experience in this State for the last 88 years.

    How dare a woman whatever her name is bring down the structure and meaning of Girl’s State.

    Will someone please let me know, not only her name — but her rank and branch of her service.

    Stanford Adelstein State Senator (ret), Captain CE (ret) (that is Corps of Engineers)

  58. Donald Pay 2019-06-16 22:08

    I disagree that the Girls State leaders can expel any participant they want to. Whether Ms. Howard has a right to be at Girls State, she received an invitation, which connotes some sort of contractual acceptance of her presence there. Clearly, if there is misbehavior of some egregious kind, like drugs or alcohol, the Girls State organization probably has the ability to send someone home. But, really, taking a photo that the Governor doesn’t like? Uh, sorry, that’s not misbehavior. Further, what Girls State leaders demanded of Ms. Howard was an extortive effort to get her to destroy her intellectual property (by deleting it from her social media and her phone) with the threat of losing the benefit of being at Girls State.

    Being at Girls State is a highly anticipated honor that comes to very few girls. Not only do girls learn important lessons about how government operates at Girls State, as all such honors, it becomes an important point on a young person’s resume. It creates a favorable impression that often leads to many other activities and opportunities as one applies to college, for college and summer positions and first jobs out of college. It is especially considered for interning positions at the State Capitol during session.

    I can’t fathom what these leaders at Girls State were thinking when they ganged up on a participant like that in an attempt to intimidate her. But whatever they were thinking they broke their implied contract with this young woman, and they did it in spectacular fashion. She has been violated and harmed. She deserves and apology from each and every person who participated in her persecution, re-instatement at Girls State, and a monetary settlement that I think should be pretty effing steep.

  59. marvin kammerer 2019-06-16 22:16

    the fascist goons are exposing themselves as they did in germany,my grandfathers homeland.god bless ms. Howard. her dad should be proud to have a daughter with such courage & i think humor!

  60. Ska sunka 2019-06-16 22:42

    And this from the governor all hot and bothered by campus free speech. Once again hypocrisy rears it’s ugly head.

  61. Stanford Adelstein 2019-06-16 22:59

    Here is the published purpose of Girls State

    Purpose Statement
    To provide an outstanding, unique, and coveted educational opportunity for the young women of our nation that instills the basic ideals and principles of American government through the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation citizenship training programs.

    Those ideals and principles absolutely and irrevocably demand freedom of expression, and protection of that expression.

    As a Legionnaire my responsibility is to seek replacement of those ignorant, weak kneed, and enemies of the US, persons who perpetrated this outrage

  62. Debbo 2019-06-16 23:43

    Capt. (ret) Adelstein, you renew my faith in the American Legion. My grandfather, Pvt. (dec) Percival Wade, was also a Legionnaire as a WWI veteran.

  63. 96Tears 2019-06-16 23:58

    Not that anything any of us says here will have any bearing on what the courageous Ms. Howard will do or should do … but … I hope she stays on the high road here. Her only transgression is a very minor one which is to portray the politician who is now Governor in a humorous and silly light. Three lashes with a wet noodle!

    The other side’s transgressions are the overreaction of the Governor’s office to thump the American Legion Auxiliary into a punitive action that makes the purpose of Girls State and Boys State appear sanctimonious and hypocritical. The embarrassment belongs to Governor Noem and the state American Legion hierarchy. They each look like a bunch of bitter old prudes.

    My advice to Ms. Howard is to hold your head up.

    You’re the high school kid. The other guys are a state Governor and a bunch of adult nitwits who’ve got their shorts bunched up over a very funny prank that is also a serious political statement about a tyrant who hijacked the Republican Party on all levels. They look stupid. Each of them.

    So, what do you do from here?

    Hold your head up. Tell the truth (if and) when the reporters call. You have nothing to hide. The adult nitwits are the ones in hiding for a reason.

    If the press is too cowardly or lazy, you’re not out a thing, Ms. Howard. We have your back. They can’t touch you. Just remember this: Time wounds all heels, and you can create the change you seek.

  64. Adam 2019-06-17 02:27

    This whole thing is just mainstream rural discrimination against, ‘The Left,’ whom most middle of nowhere folks blame for all of their problems.

    That’s all this is, and Kristi Noem has too many sympathizers.

  65. Jenny 2019-06-17 03:48

    Another Minnesota Public Radio news story on that joke of a state west of them. This one I’m sure will bring on the negative publicity like it is right now from such respected leaders like Stan Adelstein. Ah, SD, the corrupt little bastard….time to call MPR up, Kristi and Kennedy, good luck dealing with all the negative publicity.

  66. Margaret James 2019-06-17 05:24

    Violation of the Constitution is common in SD.
    Gov Janklow sent a government agent undercover into mybparents bedroom to take a pic of the back of their bedroom door. Then he and his twelve lawyers sent them said pic of the back of their bedroom door and asked them to change it or be sued. Search and seizure of a private home by a gov agent without a warrant. It’s the Wild West.

  67. Porter Lansing 2019-06-17 08:06

    Margaret James … WOW!! Note to South Dakota: Your Governor has serious neuroses about photography and her appearance. e.g.’s- She had Larry Rhoden threaten to assault the oppo research cameraman at one of her rallies. She had a high school student expelled from Girl’s State over an unretouched photo of herself with a goofy look on her face. And, she hired a photographer (skilled in PhotoShop) at triple the going rate. What’s up, Gov. Noem? Beauty queens age. Live with it.

  68. Jenny 2019-06-17 08:16

    Anyone wanting to send in this story just go to this link and the email link to MPR is on the left hand side of page under Media Inquiries.

  69. Jenny 2019-06-17 08:24

    After you go to the MPR web site above, click on ‘about us’ and then ‘press room’ and the email link I sent above is right there. Let’s all stand up for Free Speech which is our guaranteed right under the Constitution! We all know if this had been an anti-Obama photo, the student would not have been expelled.

  70. Sheryl Johnson 2019-06-17 08:29

    Just WOW!! Noem made so many false statements against her opponents when she ran for office – remember the “neighbor ad” and she wasn’t above using taxpayer money to fund the security for her private fundraiser yet she bullied a girl who expresses her opinion. Madison is an intelligent young woman who I had the pleasure of getting to know. I’m proud of her!

  71. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-06-17 08:30

    I’d like to know more of Margaret’s parents’ story.

  72. Rochelle 2019-06-17 08:35

    When I look at the photo, it is clearly satire. An activist is placing a message in juxtaposition and context with a public figure who doesn’t agree with that message. As a Legionnaire who served in the SD and MN National Guard, I think the Girls State leadership overstepped. I’m also a Fine Arts major, hence my artsy critique above. If they didn’t want social media posts during the course of Girls State, then they should have had a media blackout policy. Picking and choosing appropriate messages dives into really troubling waters. I sort of disagree with some comments about placing the responsibility on the Governor’s office — of course they engage in reputation management. It seemed to be the Girls State leadership took went the extra step of expulsion — which was unnecessary. I hope they make it right with Ms. Howard.

  73. Neal 2019-06-17 09:31

    Just so everyone is aware, and this will come as a surprise to no one, Powers is deleting most comments on this topic on his blog.

  74. James 2019-06-17 10:42

    All Corey is going off of is a one-sided story. Anything on the internet can and has been fabricated at some point. This has been blown out of proportion and Madison isn’t telling the rest of the story. Her own superiors at Girl’s state addressed her about the matter and she did not deny the allegations that she had received multiple infractions. The ole Sleuth Heidelberger has not done his due diligence in the matter. I’ve seen him tagged in other more heinous acts committed by democrats, that were recorded verbatim and not heresy and he gives it no mention on his blog. Slander is a criminal offense Mr Heidelberger, you have no evidence besides 4th party rumors to go by.

  75. Roger Cornelius 2019-06-17 10:52

    If slander is a crime call the sheriff and have Cory arrested.

  76. Adam 2019-06-17 11:05


  77. mike from iowa 2019-06-17 11:09

    James, can you provide credible evidence Cory maliciously slandered anyone? That is the standard a public person has to achieve to sue for slander.

    Drumpf, otoh, maliciously slanders everyone all the time.

  78. 96Tears 2019-06-17 11:12

    James, it’s a civil issue. The constitution protects speech, but it doesn’t protect those responsible from damages they cause. Now, go in the kitchen, grab another Milk Bone and curl up in the front room and chew.


    Ha ha. Just kidding.

  79. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-17 12:29

    James, point to something specific in this story that has been fabricated. Point to something specific that you can show me that is false.

    I have listened to the evidence. I feel sufficiently confident in the veracity of the narrative to publish it as accurate. I acknowledge the gaps in the story, but the text and images I report are accurate and factual.

  80. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-17 12:32

    And as usual, people who raise “slander” as an issue appear not to understand the definition of or legal standards for that legal term.

    I have stated, based on two sentences spoken by a Girls State official and on the online text comments of a Boys State participant from Watertown that the Governor’s office was aware of, took objection to, and sought the removal from the Web of Madison Howard’s online anti-Trump content. That’s not slander; that’s reporting.

  81. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-17 12:34

    Fake-news agnosticism and vague what-aboutism like James’s are the refuge of those who cannot debate, who are too lazy to produce real evidence to support their statements, and who are too weak-willed to accept the truth of any statement that questions their prejudices and partisan loyalties.

  82. Jenifer 2019-06-17 13:31

    I want one of those mugs! 😜

  83. 96Tears 2019-06-17 18:37

    It’s June 17. This happened May 30. Cory published the details yesterday and it’s still a hot potato.

    Still no newspaper, TV or radio reporters have done anything with this juicy political scandal. When a state Governor and the state American Legion gang up to punish a high school student for making a funny political statement that embarrassed the Governor at Girls State, isn’t that a news story? Huh?

    Where is the news media?

    Bueller. Bueller. Bueller.

  84. Mr Sol 2019-06-17 18:51

    Other than innuendo, we do not know at all what Governor Noem did (or did not) do. There is not really much to this story.

  85. Donald Pay 2019-06-17 19:44

    Mr. Sol has a point. We have a timeline of about 10 hours where the Governor and/or her staff were involved in some sort of direct or indirect communication with the Girls State staff. Gov. Norm could help clarify what she and her staff did by making available her and her staffs phone logs, emails, texts, etc.

  86. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-17 19:54

    Mr. Sol, I have asked the Governor’s Office for their side of the story. They have not responded.

    We have a student saying what she experienced. I have the statements made by the Girls State official to Madison about the Governor’s Office’s expressed distaste for the photo on the record. I have the statements from a Watertown student asserting that he heard from the Governor’s Office and reached out to contact the Girls State student about their expressed distaste for the posting.

    I thus have two separate speakers saying the Governor’s Office expressed its displeasure and wanted the picture not to be posted. Why two independent parties, one in Vermillion and one in Aberdeen, would make up the same story within hours of each other is significantly harder for me to imagine than the simpler explanation, that what they independently said is true.

    I invite counter-explanations and counter-evidence.

    And dang, Donald, if our Governor were committed to transparency, those logs and emails would be publicly available, wouldn’t they?

  87. Joseph J Voigt 2019-06-17 20:24

    I was am an alum of Boys State (2005), we did some pretty sneaky things, did some rude things, we did immature things, but unless she was drinking or doing drugs to have her expelled at midnight seems really extreme. Could there be more? sure, we will wait and see

  88. Debbo 2019-06-17 20:28

    I think I like Red Bubble. 😁👍👍👍

  89. Jason 2019-06-17 20:48

    Thank you Madison! You are a bright light in this dark world!

  90. Stanford Adelstein 2019-06-17 21:28

    Hi Corey.
    I would like to understand exactly what happened. If any one else know the facts please join in.
    1 did Cheryl Havorka personally take back Madison’s Certificate?
    2. If not, who did?
    3. Was it taken away because of complaint or a even suggestion from the Governor, or his staff?
    4. Since she had been “nominated?” for Girls Nation is she still on that list? If not, who removed
    her and for what reason?
    cause removed her.
    5. What Officer – if any – of the South Dakota American American Legion was a part of this
    expulsion, or was even notified of same.
    6. What, other than having a spoof picture with John Thune did she do. For example
    a. was it for taking the picture?
    b. was it for posting the picture?
    c. was it for something she said or did during the inquisition. If so specifically what was said
    or done.
    As the top debater in the State, an outstanding student — and someone cool under fire, perhaps she will one day become a Legionnaire. It seems to me, recognizing not knowing the answers above, that she practiced the oath that we all swore. “I pledge to defend the CONSTITUTION of the United States against all enemies, DOMESTIC or foreign.

    Stanford Adelstein

  91. Stanford Adelstein 2019-06-17 21:29

    A typo, that should have been Hi Cory

  92. grudznick 2019-06-17 21:33

    Good questions, Mr. Stan, but an additional type. In your #3 you should have said “her staff.” I expect, being of a similar age and knowing the brain addling we both endure, your insaner hatred for the past governor keeps you fixed on the Governor being a “he.”

  93. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-17 22:12

    No biggie on that spelling, Senator Adelstein. By the numbers:

    1+2. Madison identified the people at the first meeting as her “city” counselor, “Cheryl”, and Tiffany. Either Cheryl or Tiffany asked for the certificate back; I need to confirm with Madison which one, but both were in the room, and Cheryl appeared to lead the grilling.

    3. Both Cheryl and Jackson, two independent sources speaking at different times to Madison on the evening of May 30, said that the Governor’s Office did not want the picture posted online.

    4. I have not seen a list of Girls Nations nominees, nor have I seen which two girls were selected. The ALA may not publish the names of nominees, to avoid embarrassing those who don’t get picked… but I haven’t seen the names of the chosen delegates, either (come on, Girls State—get better with press releases!).

    5. Cheryl was in the room for the expulsion. According to Madison, so were all of the Legion Auxiliary ladies at the event.

    6. The first conversation focused on the online photo taken that day of Noem. The second conversation, from Madison’s account, also focused on that photo.

  94. p is me 2019-06-17 23:07

    Obviously Noem was aware that Madison wanted to take her picture and obviously Noem saw her holding the mug. What conversation occurred between the two only they know for sure, but based on those two things, if Noem didn’t want her picture taken all she had to say was no, or to ask her not to have the mug in the picture. Looking at the big huge grin on Noem’s face she knew very well what Madison was doing.

    So in a child-like response, after Noem spent time thinking about it, used her Political power to silence a child to protect her reputation, while violating Madison’s free speech right.

    What I find the most hysterical about the Noem photo is what the sign says behind her. “count on you?” Question of the day!

  95. Richard Barnes, Ph.D. 2019-06-18 08:27

    Okay, Madison… Here’s what you do. Once you reach 18 years of age, go to the office of the Minnehaha County Clerk and ask for a Petition for Office. Fill it out, sign and date it, have all of your friends sign your petition, return to the Minnehaha County office and file it… and RUN FOR OFFICE!

    Once you file it, get a press release out explaining the reasons for your running. You have a good understanding of the law and the Constitution. When I was a student at Drake University in Des Moines, I went downtown, got up on a chair and read the Bill of Rights. I got through it twice before the police came, lifted me off the chair and arrested me… Charges were dismissed when they found out what I was reading.

    In 1972, I walked into the Minnehaha County offices, picked up my petition for the SD Legislature, ran for the House of Representatives and WON! It was a great experience and for the next four years, I was a thorn in the side of the South Dakota GOP in Pierre. But I did the right thing!

    Now, Madison, make your run for office…. Win and they will have to deal with you! I applaud your courage… Just do it!

    Richard Barnes, Ph.D.
    District 11 State Representative
    Minnehaha County
    Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  96. 96Tears 2019-06-18 09:19

    Is Noem twerking in that photo?

    She appears to have both hands shoved where Donald Trump says he approaches women and a grin on her face like she’s twerking. Isn’t that twerking?

    Classic! That photo needs to go on everybody’s Twitter, Facebook and other social media pages. Cardi B could use it in her next video.

    “Work that (I want a slim, fine woman with some twerk with her)!”

  97. leslie england 2019-06-18 13:38

    kevin, you awake?

    “…when tariffs on goods from Mexico produced an outcry from traditional Republican power bases, like the Kochs and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mitch McConnell and his caucus stepped in on behalf of big business.
    But Senate Republicans are more notable for where they haven’t broken with the president. McConnell declared “case closed” on the Mueller report, despite the fact that it revealed over a dozen instances of likely obstruction of justice. There have been no efforts to hold the administration accountable for anything relating to Trump’s conduct in office, really.

    While House Democrats have a number of targets in their sights, the Senate has acted as a bulwark. There have been no efforts to get to the bottom of the disastrous handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, to investigate how foreign dignitaries are using Trump properties to influence policy, or how members of Trump’s family have used the presidency to enrich themselves. (Monday brought yet another entry in what has become an entire sub-genre of scandal coverage when The Guardian reported that a real estate firm owned by Jared Kushner’s family had received nearly $100 million in foreign funding from an offshore vehicle in the Cayman Islands run by Goldman Sachs.)”

    impeachment inquiry on president and all applicable Republican officials, now!

  98. Donald Pay 2019-06-18 15:46

    Richard Barnes, for whom I voted for state legislature in my first Presidential election at age 21, was certainly someone who pushed hard for a better South Dakota.

  99. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-18 18:49

    96, has anyone claiming to be a friend of the Governor’s family Snapchatted you to say the Governor wants you to remove that post about twerking? None of the Governor’s people have called me about that yet… or about the questions I e-mailed to them on June 9 and June 13.

  100. 96Tears 2019-06-18 19:47

    Unlikely they will, Cory. They figure if they wanted you to take it down, it would call more attention to your original story.

    Obviously their strategy is to stonewall this long enough and it will go away. That’s not a reflection on how smart they are but on the woeful condition of the “news” media in South Dakota.

    In any other state, this would be a story and regular folks would be upset with their governor. It confirms their worst suspicions about her. In what limited response I’ve seen here and in the few social media postings out there, people are disgusted that a Governor would gang up with the American Legion to bludgeon a high school kid.

    The news elements are:

    – Abuse of power by the state’s chief executive.

    – The manipulation of the high school program by Noem’s political operatives.

    – The corruption and cooperation of the state American Legion to help bludgeon a high school kid. The image of the state American Legion Auxiliary officers seated in a ring and summoning the child to receive her judgment and punishment, like some kind of coven of bullies, just makes you wonder how crazy those people are. In any other state, they would be submitting their resignations for their foolishness.

    – The corruption of a program teaching hands-on civics to young adults. It should be hands off to political meddlers, including the governor of a state. Lesson learned in the 2019 Girls State is don’t upset the Republican establishment which includes the American Legion.

    – And, now, the refusal to answer questions or discuss the matter with a reporter.

    But you won’t read about it in the state’s largest seven-day weekly, the Argus Leader. What’s left of their newsroom and editorial board won’t do more than handle Noem with kid gloves. Pierre no longer has hard news reporters. Who knows what happened to KELO’s investigative reporting.

    There should have been a Pulitzer at the end of the line of the EB-5 scandal to a South Dakota newspaper, but the press went into hibernation in the last weeks of that election and with the Argus folding before Labor Day. Today, the trend to the bottom continues.

  101. Jenny 2019-06-18 20:40

    Has anyone forwarded this to KELO or KSFY? Angela Kennecke is usually pretty nonpartisan.
    I wouldn’t think that the SD news organizations have been threatened, is it back to the Janklow era now? Something peculiar is going on with the local media not reporting this.

  102. tara volesky 2019-06-18 21:14

    Pravda. Cory is a Boss when it comes to investigative reporting.

  103. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-19 12:43

    Lori Walsh had Noel Hamiel and Jon Hunter discuss the Girls State situation on SDPB this noon. Walsh said that Girls State officials say that Madison Howard left the event voluntarily. I have not seen that claim in print yet, and the Girls State official I contacted has not replied to my inquiry.

    The SDPB commentators did not comment on the rescinded Girls Nation interview invite, and they cautiously stepped around the question of the Governor’s office’s involvement in this situation.

  104. JL 2019-06-19 13:31

    The young lady was called down from her room, and the sponsor and or other person, in the presence of several other individuals essentially reprimanded her for her posting a photo of the Governor. As a former manager of a small business, I would not have reprimanded an employee in the presence of an audience, to what Ms. Howard might have been subjected.

    I also am a member of the American Legion and a past post commander. July 4 is just around the corner, and wonder how many of AL members are scratching their heads with the attempted censorship of Ms. Howard.

    I suspect, that anyone and everyone involved in this may be subject to potential litigation, or at the very least being questioned by any number of folks. Too bad KOTA, KEVN, KELO, KSFY and other TV and radio stations haven’t picked up on this story. It might be good for ABC, NBC and CBS to invite Ms. Howard to be on a national morning news show. Not sure Gov. Noem will like the unwanted attention it might bring.

  105. Scott Bates 2019-06-19 13:55

    This really does not fall under “the First Amendment of the Constitution”. The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech….” Congress has not made any law respecting freedom of speech involved here. And while the First Amendment does protect your right to free speech, it does not protect you from the consequences related to you’re behavior and stupidity. I was a member of SD Boys State myself back in 1983. There was no social media back in 1983, but there were expectations of how we were to conduct ourselves. It is an honor to be selected to Boys State and Girls State, you don’t go there and disrespect the Governor, the President or for matter anyone. This kid apparently was sharp enough to distinguish herself and have the opportunity to apply to Girls Nation, and she flushed that opportunity down the toilet by her ignorance. Had something similar happened when Obama was in office, I am certain Boys or Girls State would have expelled that person too. Again it is a privilege and an honor to be selected to attend, not everyone gets to go, so if you are selected you should take it seriously. Just because you have the “right” to do something, say something, post something on social media, does not mean doing so does not come along with consequences. My mother always told me “you can think whatever you want, doesn’t mean you have to say it”. The Constitution does guarantee our rights, but we also have responsibilities, and there are consequences to our actions. This kid learned that the hard way. Maybe we should start teaching “Civics” in school again, Social Studies seems to skip the “responsibilities” and “consequences” part of the equation.

  106. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-19 16:56

    Do you also posit, Scott, that had something like this happened during the Obama Administration, someone in the Obama Administration would have (a) been monitoring social media posts from South Dakota Girls State and (b) contacted Girls State officials and told them they disapproved of the post and wanted it removed from the Internet?

  107. Debbo 2019-06-19 17:19

    I think a more apt comparison, Mr. Bates, would be if we were discussing a Gov. Sutton. Would have pulled rank on a young woman in Girls State? Of course it’s a totally hypothetical guess.

    In addition, don’t your mother’s wise words, “you can think whatever you want, doesn’t mean you have to say it”, also apply to the governor? Wouldn’t she, the adult in the room, have been much wiser to ignore the behavior of a young person whose brain won’t finish developing for another 4-5 years, at best? Can’t we say they same for the adults who ganged up on the young woman and took her Girls Nation invitation?

    It seems to me that it’s always best to save our harshest criticisms for the adults, whose brains have completely matured, at least, theoretically.

  108. Jenny 2019-06-19 17:29

    Dare to go against the political majority in a deep red state. Madison Howard knew what she was doing when she did that. Having different political beliefs is what makes America, except apparently in a deep red state, you can’t have different beliefs and viewpoints, even in a lighthearted way such as this was.
    I only wish I had been as daring as she is when I was her age. Never be afraid to stand up for your beliefs no matter how unpopular.

  109. Roger Cornelius 2019-06-19 17:34

    It is unfair to place President Obama into this hypothetical, the president would never allow his name to be involved in such pettiness.

  110. Jenny 2019-06-19 17:42

    Noem actually makes women look weak by poo pooing over a photo that was meant to be funny. she can’t face up to the fact that she is not as popular as she used to be.
    I thought she was tougher than this.

  111. leslie 2019-06-19 21:16

    Bates illusteates conservative v liberal thought process and family inculcation, speaking of which, regarding dusty’s inculcation of school kids in the hills using spy maria butina and grifter USD republican lawyer paul erickson,

    …Seth Abramson and Laurence Tribe are lawyers all over the depth of trump russiafication and butina’s importance in Putin’s process on trump.

  112. Donald Pay 2019-06-19 22:01

    What is the action, Scott Bates? She took a picture and she posted it. The picture wasn’t lewd or lurid in any way. It was a bit out of focus and framed in a cheeky, but not disrespectful way. It showed Noem rather flatteringly, if you ask me. She looks like a fun, engaged and engaging person. So, it must be the Trump logo that has her miffed. What if had said, “Let’s party as if Hillary was locked up?” I bet she wouldn’t have had a hissy fit about that, nor would those biddies running Girls State have had an Inquisition over that.

    Here’s what I learned early on. If you are a public figure people will take your picture and publish it whether you want them to or not. I used to be in the news a lot and someone at the RCJournal (not Steve McEnroe) snapped me in a very unflattering pose. They used a shrunken version of that goddam photo for several years. I never said anything about it because I didn’t want them to think I was a vainglorious fool, which is what Noem has acted like in this matter.

    Let’s put the blame squarely where it belongs, and it’s not on Madison Howard.

  113. 96Tears 2019-06-22 18:48

    It’s June 22. This happened May 30. Cory published the details June 16.

    Still no newspaper, TV or radio reporters have done anything with this scandal. I appreciate SDPB talk show host Lori Walsh bringing it up, except I wouldn’t be surprised that her guests on air and those listening knew much about it. Why? Because the news media has quit reporting hard news from the state capital, unless it paints the governor in a favorable light.

    When a state Governor and the state American Legion gang up to harass a high school student for making a funny and gutsy political statement that embarrassed the Governor at Girls State, no other state’s media would be as lazy and disinterested as South Dakota’s.

    Where is the news media?

    Sold out.

  114. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-06-22 21:43

    Scott Bates, you are, simply wrong.

  115. Donald Pay 2019-06-23 12:29

    I expect the mainstream media have a conundrum. Stories with minors in situations such as this create a difficult situation in reporting and publishing anyway. The Girls State folks are probably under some ethical/legal restriction in terms of commenting on minor participants, and I suspect Noem’s folks are hesitant as well. It creates a problem for media when only one side is commenting.

    The way I would come at the story is through records requests involving the calls/emails/texts from the Governor and staff.

  116. Kurt Evans 2019-06-24 23:28

    “96Tears” writes:

    When a state Governor and the state American Legion gang up to harass a high school student for making a funny and gutsy political statement that embarrassed the Governor at Girls State, no other state’s media would be as lazy and disinterested as South Dakota’s.

    Most people outside this comment section probably wouldn’t perceive the photo as particularly funny or gutsy.

    Donald Pay writes:

    Stories with minors in situations such as this create a difficult situation in reporting and publishing anyway.

    When applying for jobs in the future, the young woman may be glad this didn’t get any more attention than it got.

  117. Donald Pay 2019-06-25 16:27

    Yeah, I agree the photo is not that big of a deal. It’s a little cheeky, but public officials should be used to people taking pictures of them, whether the images are flattering or not. What people are concerned about is the off-the-charts overreaction by the Governor’s office and the Girls State folks, and the underhanded way they went about trying to strong arm the student into deleting the picture from social media. Not only that, they wanted her to delete the photo entirely. What is gutsy is that Madison Howard stood up for her rights to post and to possess that photo against a lot of pressure to give up her Constitutional rights.

    I think it depends on what sort of jobs she applies for, whether additional coverage would be beneficial to her job prospects. Certainly, a position with “Nazis are Us” may not be in the cards. As someone who used to evaluate job seekers, I think anyone who stands up on an issue of principle would make a good employee.

  118. Porter Lansing 2019-06-25 17:20

    It’s comical that a French Legionaire lady thinks she knows how to get a teenager to delete a photo from a phone. Hey, lady. You can’t delete something from the internet. It’s always there, somewhere. heh HEH ho!

  119. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-25 20:22

    Conundrum nothing. The media do all sorts of stories about adolescent athletes. They do all sorts of stories about kids involved in community events.

    The bigger ethical problem is that the Governor appears to have exerted influence to drive a student out of an educational event, just because the Governor found the student’s political speech objectionable, and the media is deciding that’s not worth getting to the bottom of.

    Kurt, sure, maybe in South Dakota she’ll have trouble getting employed by clingers to the one-party regime. But outside of South Dakota, she’ll have no problem.

  120. Scott Bates 2019-06-26 09:33

    What exactly was Governor Noem’s reaction to learning of this social media post? Does she have a dedicated squad of Brown Shirt’s/jack booted thugs that monitor social media and travel to crack down on anyone that steps out of line? For some reason I doubt it.

    The ironic lesson we have learned, it is much easier to impeach a South Dakota Girl’s Stater than it is to impeach the President. And it is much easier to embarrass yourself, your family, your school and your community than it is to embarrass the Governor or the American Legion who sponsors Girls State.

    I feel bad for this kid, but she made her own bed. We do not know the whole story, none of us were in the room, however I really doubt Governor Noem had to take any action, although she likely did not appreciated the social media post, and she or one of her staff members may have let the SDGS folks know that.

    My guess is the Girls State officials learned about the post and acted swiftly on this, called the kid in for a scolding, asked her to take post down, and didn’t like her “gutsy” and disrespectful response to that request, so they sent her home. That would seem more likely than Noem making a mountain out of a molehill. In other words, no conspiracy at all… this is… as President a Trump might say… fake news…

  121. mike from iowa 2019-06-26 10:06

    If Noem’s petals are this delicate, she has no business being in a bruising profession. Soak her hide in brine and toughen her and other snowflakes to hell up!

    The Obamas are excellent role models for wingnuts. When nastys went low, Obamas took the high road.

  122. chris 2019-06-26 13:05

    Like Madison Howard is going to apply to rip ticket stubs at al novstrup’s mini golf. Sure. I’ll bet you $5 Kristi Noem doesn’t even know the lyrics or melody to “South Dakota, My Dakota”.

  123. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-27 06:22

    It would seem more likely, Scott, that Girls State officials overeacted all on their own and failed to practice what they preach on Constitutional citizenship (remember, the photo didn’t depict or embarrass Girls State in any way: it was purely political commentary on Trump and Noem) than that the office of a Governor was out checking social media and overreacted to one funny but critical post by one teenager.

    Yet the Governor’s Office did. The Girls State official quoted above said so. The teenage boy quoted via screen cap on Instagram said so. No one has refuted those two statements of the Governor’s Office’s active monitoring of social media and active pressure against a teenage speaker for her political speech. It is hard to believe, which is why I didn’t run the story until I had the documented evidence of those two sources saying what they said.

  124. leslie england 2019-07-11 23:48

    Girls state over reaction; speaker of the house is it, Haugaard? over reaction to Muni League.

  125. Jenny 2019-07-12 09:15

    The one that are alway loudest on being antilgbt are usually closet gays. Aaron Schock as Mike pointe out is just one example and
    I just wish the Republicans weren’t so ashamed to admit they have sexual feelings towards the same sex.

  126. leslie 2022-09-08 12:32

    i havent read comments yet but, Thune and Noem want free political advertising propaganda to keep their jobs by attending meet and greet appearances w/ SD’s best and brightest young students (my child was once selected too), but greedily punish (at least in thin-skinned Noem’s childish case) those students who have outspoken liberal political beliefs (which are correct and time-proven, btw) contrary to their own in their red-state positions as elected office-holders dominated by their corrupt red-neck political party.

    Power absolutely corrupts. Managing the messege.

    Not sure why this is coming up again now but when time permits … (i merely wanted to quickly memorialize this moment of hypocrisy, low-life, classless, Sarah Palinesque incompetent, poor quality example of candidates that Republicans routinely foist on the nation. Is that all they’ve got!!??) Think Kevin McCarthy, and on and on.

    Kudos again to Ms Howard.

  127. leslie 2022-09-08 12:53

    both photos of Noem w/ context plainly reveal who she really is, either on the Great Wall, or harvesting photo ops from bright students (Girls Staters) w/much more on the “ball”[s]!

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