Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mrs. Rounds Casts Lone Vote Against Noem’s Vanity Fence

One former occupant of the Governor’s Mansion thinks Kristi Noem’s security fence is a bad idea:

The nay in the 6-1 vote by the state Capitol Complex Restoration and Beautification Commission came from former First Lady Jean Rounds.

Her husband, now U.S. Senator Mike Rounds, raised money to build the larger residence during the mid-2000s while he was governor. They were the first family to live in the new house.

“Sorry, no,” she said when her turn came during the roll-call vote.

Mike and Jean Rounds now live in Fort Pierre. Jean told KELOLAND News after the meeting that the fundraising committee didn’t want a fence around the house and her vote reflected that [Bob Mercer, “Commission Agrees 6–1 on Security Fence Around South Dakota Governor’s Mansion,” KELO-TV, 2020.08.21].

Alas, everyone else on the commission thinks allowing the Governor to barricade herself away from all those dangerous public health proponents is as reasonable next step in ever-increasing police-statery:

State Public Safety Secretary Craig Price, a former head of the South Dakota Highway Patrol that provides security for the governor, told the commission the fence would be the next step in gradually increasing protection in and around the Capitol.

Security cameras are now inside and outside the building, and visitors must use the north entrance and go through a metal detector. There also are bollards and a fence around the back half of the Capitol, with the front to be finished before snow arrives this winter. The Capitol’s public hours also have been reduced.

Price said three of the 50 states don’t have protective barriers around their governor residences. “It’s always a priority, and more so now,” he said about safety. “The fence at the governor’s residence is needed.”

…Another commission member, state Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson, said the Highway Patrol had “expertly” provided security for the justices for many years on days when the court is in session.

“I think you can’t have too much protection,” Gilbertson said, adding that what South Dakota provides is “woefully inadequate” to what he’s seen in his travels to other states [Mercer, 2020.08.21].

Other states fence in their governors, so so should we? Evidently we don’t have actual instances of violence or even trespass to point to as justification for those princessly separation for our elected leader from the people. The only major ruckus I can recall taking place at 119 North Washington was over thirty years ago, and that trouble was caused by a member of the household.

Nonetheless, when the Snow Queen fantasizes that some political opponent will come attack her in the Governor’s mansion, we “can’t have too much protection,” and the state leaps to implement safety measures undertaken by other states. But when an actual threat attacks over 11,000 South Dakotans and kills 160, the Governor cries from behind her barricade, “Science can’t stop the virus from spreading,” tells us not to take the actions used by many other states to fight that public health threat, and exhorts citizens to engage in revenue-generating activities that exacerbate that threat.

If Kristi Noem were as willing to put a mask on her face as she is to put a mask on her temporary housing, she’d actually save people from suffering and death. But in both cases, Noem’s vanity rules: she won’t cover her face to protect others from real danger, but she’ll build a giant symbol of her perceived special entitlement on the Capitol grounds.

Jean Rounds and her unnamed donor friends are right: the Governor’s mansion needs no fence. As your next Governor, I promise to tear down all of Kristi’s security theater and make the Capitol grounds open to the public again.


  1. Richard Schriever 2020-08-23 09:51

    Should we take that as an announcement of your candidacy?

  2. Scott E 2020-08-23 10:19

    What I find ironic is after passing a no permit law for gun owners in the state Noem has a metal detector at the residence. I thought the mayor of Sioux Falls was a hypocrite, but she takes it to a whole new level.

  3. Jenny 2020-08-23 10:22

    She is never in Pierre. She is too busy campaigning for her man

  4. Joe 2020-08-23 10:28

    Good for Ms. Rounds.

  5. Jake 2020-08-23 10:43

    OMG! Finally, a crack forms in the GOP Wall of Compliance and it comes from the wife of a Senator running for re-election who has NEVER take a stand against Trump and won’t ever. Our Post Office could be slowed down by 30% and he wouldn’t even speak a word. Ag prices in the tank, Covid running rampant also. But Yeah for Mrs. Rounds on this one.

  6. Ray Tysdal 2020-08-23 10:50

    Kristi says she trusts South Dakotans. Obviously she doesn’t.

  7. Jake 2020-08-23 11:12

    If her goal in politics was to ‘truly serve the people’ then she wouldn’t become so paranoid toward those people, right? She’s so interested in serving the wishes of GOP and Trump she doesn’t pay attention to the needs of her people, pure and simple!

  8. bearcreekbat 2020-08-23 11:23

    Before, deciding what criticism of Noem might be warranted it seems appropriate to inquire whether this stupid fence idea originated with Noem or with law enforcement?

    Did Noem direct “her administration” to build this fence? Or did Noem simply fail to object (i.e. support) a fence proposal originating from law enforcement?

    Perhaps this is “a distinction without a difference,” but knowing the answer sheds a bit more light on how Noem thinks and behaves. For example, Trump claims to take full credit with coming up with the stupid idea of a border wall. Does Noem claim similar credit for the stupid fence idea?

  9. Donald Pay 2020-08-23 12:01

    I understand the reasons against the fence. If Noem were a normal Governor, I’d say it was a waste of money. But, Noem is not normal, so it might make sense in an odd sort of way. When the Governor is a nutcase you might need a fence to protect her from other nutcases.

    Janklow was one who may have needed a fence, because he was abusive and cruel to some folks. People don’t usually get worked up enough about policy differences to threaten someone, but if you engage in Janklowian ridiculule, it’s different. Someone could have gotten ticked off enough to do him some harm.

    But Noem is different. Her policies seem to be cut from cruelty and criminal incompetence. People are dying as a result. It’s predictable that someone whose loved one succumbs to Covid may conclude Noem needs to pay for her incompetence.

    Noem, as dumb as she is, understands this. When you have a rational Governor, the fence can come down.

  10. cibvet 2020-08-23 12:07

    Once she goes in there willingly, lock the gate and cut off communications.The people will be better for it.

  11. Mr Sol 2020-08-23 12:38

    In my humble opinion, a vote for the Pierre community.

  12. Buckobear 2020-08-23 12:38

    Maybe now Mrs Rounds will advise Marion to withdraw (from the race).

  13. Loren 2020-08-23 13:05

    I thought we had enuf troopers with Bearcats, ranchers with AR-15s and bikers for Trump in SD that our governor was secure. Guess not.

  14. DaveFN 2020-08-23 17:14

    Contrast Nancy Pelosi’s Pacific Heights home in San Francisco:

    Or that of acting secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf’s home in Alexandria, Virginia:

    Or numerous others. One senses there is some kind of paranoia at work, or at the very least anxiety, whether it’s on the part of law enforcement, Noem, or some other party.

  15. Debbo 2020-08-24 00:10

    I didn’t know that she was such an ugly person until she became governor. Her children have my sympathy, even if they’re not aware that they need it. (I’m not being sarcastic or snarky.) They’re not being well equipped for life.

  16. Jenny 2020-08-24 04:14

    You know, my first thought about Jean Rounds voting against the fence is this is a political move for her husband . Kristi running against Mike in the future and Mike bringing the expensive wall up to pit against her.

    The Rounds were known as enjoying taxpayer money on themselves also – use of the state plane for personal reasons and the state lodge in
    the Hills for their own private family gatherings . Nothing is ever as it seems in politics.

  17. Jenny 2020-08-24 04:56

    She certainly has that tiger mom mentality doesn’t she, Debbo. The not caring about looking bad in not meeting with the tribal members is just carrying on the long racist history SD has with its Native Americans. In most other states this would be a very unpopular decision. In SD, it just makes her more endearing.

    I’m glad MN has a caring governor. Kristi and her me brand would not work in MN. The DFL would put her in her place and she would be so humiliated when she realized she has to answer to the press unlike in SD. She would be voted out easily after one term.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.