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Noem Picking Outside Politicos over South Dakota Public Servants

The consolation prize young Republicans are supposed to get for selling their souls to South Dakota’s corrupt one-party regime is lots of juicy patronage jobs. But under the Noem Administration, even that perk is disappearing, as she continues to fill her plum positions with out-of-state politicos to run her 2024 Presidential campaign:

Mark Miller starts Monday as general counsel to Governor Kristi Noem. He comes from Pacific Legal Foundation, where he was a senior attorney. He replaces Tom Hart, who left earlier this year for private practice.

…Allen Cambon began Tuesday in Simmons’ previous role as the governor’s agriculture adviser. Cambon was legislative director for U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham, R-Louisiana, and oversaw agriculture issues.

Another new face is Caroline Thorman. She is the governor’s new federal liaison, succeeding the governor’s daughter, Kennedy Noem. Thorman came from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and previously was on the staff of U.S. Representative Congressman French Hill, R-Arkansas.

The South Dakota Telecommunications Association meanwhile has hired Kara Semmler as general counsel. Rachel Oglesby starts in November in Semmler’s previous role as an adviser to the governor. Oglesby previously was industry communications manager for the U.S. Travel Association [Bob Mercer, “Governor Noem Is Shuffling Some of Top Staff Again and Adding More ‘D.C.’ into the S.D. Mix,” KELO-TV, 2020.10.14].

Florida lawyer, a couple DC Capitol critters, another DC lobbyist… such are the outsiders Noem is picking over homegrown talent to replace the experienced South Dakotans who were working in the Capitol before Noem brought her agenda to Pierre.

But on the good side, with Noem forgetting to use her patronage to reward her local base, she may be opening the door for Democrats to recruit more talent to their side and back a gubernatorial candidate in 2022 who might actually hire locally and focus on serving the public instead of filling the halls of Pierre with immediate kin and the hacks Corey Lewandowski says are necessary for a national campaign.


  1. mike from iowa 2020-10-15 08:29

    This ditzy, inattentive, incompetent nincompoop of an alleged guv does not fit the mold of wingnut candidates for the potus. They have been increasingly white, male, extremely rich and totally clewless.

    Noem Nothing only clicks the last box.

  2. chris 2020-10-15 08:46


    A governess is a woman employed to teach and train children in a private household. In contrast to a nanny (formerly called a nurse), she concentrates on teaching children, rather than caring for their physical needs. Her charges are of school age rather than babies.[1]

  3. Jenny 2020-10-15 09:39

    Governor Covid will not even hire bright young republicans from her covid infested state! She turns her back and hires DC politicians instead.

    Just like I said, she will do everything possible to get back to DC. She is desperate, she wants power BAD and will fight ruthlessly to get it. She is tossing her covid infested state behind her and is jetting around the country for her manchild Donnie. South Dakotans are not good enough for her when she gets National airtime instead.
    Any person in the psychology field knows exactly what I am talking about. Kristi’s obvious traits of narcissim have gotten worse with her casual disregard for her increasing COVID problem. The Covid Queen has chosen the National spotlight now instead of average South Dakotans. She even had to rally for Trump during the Ravnsborg Investigation update. That’s what narcissists do, it’s only about them. No one else.

  4. o 2020-10-15 09:46

    Mike, you ignore the needed “big tent” window dressing of a stage full of candidates to show “inclusion and diversity” before it whittles down to old, rich, white guy.

  5. bearcreekbat 2020-10-15 10:25

    Absent some specific job requirement or need, focusing on where an individual is born or happens to reside as a factor in deciding whether he or she deserves to be hired for a job over some local person strikes me as a variation on Trumpian xenophobia. Do some human beings really deserve to be treated worse than others simply because of where they happen to be from?

    There are more reasons to criticize Noem, or to criticize people she hires, than I can count, but this seems too nativist to be such a reason to question or criticize her or implicitly demean the people she hires.

  6. mike from iowa 2020-10-15 10:42

    Wasn’t one of Noem’s political opponents a man of the world and therefore, too experienced and unfamiliar with South Dakota’s needs?

    O, I plead guilty as charged. :)

  7. Jenny 2020-10-15 10:46

    bcb, Noem knocked Matt Varilek on the fact that he went to college out of state. I know what you’re saying, and the republicans, generally speaking, are a lot more worried where someone is from and where they went to school than Democrat are so I’m just pointing out Hypocrisy. The Republicans were all over Stephanie Herseth for going to Georgetown also. I’m just sayin.

    The Republicans are a lot more petty over where people are from and what sexual orientation they are and what religious preferences they have than Dems.

    I don’t care if I have a whole neighborhood full of beautiful transgender people in my neighborhood but the Kristie’s republican party would have a nervous fit over it.

  8. Dale C 2020-10-15 11:11

    Oh btw Ian and Maggie trained and cultured by the best, Koch Brothers,

  9. bearcreekbat 2020-10-15 11:21

    Jenny, I agree 100% with you, although I recognize, as you apparently do, that not all Republicans have joined the Trumpist nativist/xenophobic cult. I would to hate to see anti-Trumpists develop a similar irrational and harmful phobia.

  10. o 2020-10-15 11:30

    I had posted on another thread about how SD used to be more independent; meaning SD Republican and Democrat wasn’t the same as national Republican and Democrat. In SD, SD issues mattered most: farming, infrastructure, water, . . . Then we, as the rest of the nation, because more pawns n the new Conservative/GOP/Trump power play. To me, what Cory points to in this piece is more of that degradation of who we are for wanting to be part of those “national” bright lights. We almost felt sorry for our elected officials we sent to DC — but that is where our interests had to be protected. Now we just feed the machine.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-10-15 11:36

    Meanwhile, Kristi Noem is spending this day campaigning maskless in New Hampshire. Maybe some young Republicans would enjoy working for the Governor and touring the nation… or maybe South Dakota’s public servants want to spend their time actual working for their friends and neighbors here in South Dakota and being able to go home and have supper with their families each night instead of supporting the Kristi show nationwide.

  12. o 2020-10-15 11:38

    bearcreekbat, I find myself less willing to give your concession. ff you used your vote to put Trump in power, then you DO bare the responsibility for all that happened/is happening. Elections have consequences; votes have consequences.

    I no longer subscribe to the GOP retro-moralizing/hand washing of “just because I voted for him, doesn’t mean I support him.”

  13. o 2020-10-15 11:45

    Cory, the opposition campaign copy writes itself: “While I was at home in SD dealing with the CORONA, Governor Nome was . . . (flash to video of the Governor, massless, beaming at Trump campaign events all over the nation).”

  14. bearcreekbat 2020-10-15 12:05

    o, I assume you are focusing on my “not all Republicans are members of the Trump cult” theory. Although I don’t know if he voted for Trump, I would offer John Tsitrian of the South Dakota Standard blog as an example of a SD Republican that rejected the Trumpist cult. Likewise, on a national level I would point to John Kasich.

    I do agree with you, however, that anyone, Republican, Democrat or otherwise, that voted for Trump in 2016 bears a portion of the responsibility for our current nightmare. That said, however, I accept and even hope for the possibility that many of those folks have wised up, such as Trump voters who are now supporters of the Lincoln Project, and are no longer members or supporters of Trump or his harmful policies and behavior, specifically including xenophobic nativism.

    The bottom line is that folks normally should be subject to criticism based on their past actions and objectionable behavior (such a voting for Trump!), not because of the physical location where they have resided or currently reside. I disagree with Cory’s premise that being from South Dakota should be a factor in Noem’s hiring decisions. Even if two theoretically absolutely equally qualified individuals apply for a position, where they are from should not be the deciding factor absent some relevance to the position they are applying for.

  15. Darrell Solberg 2020-10-15 12:48

    She has always been a ladder climber! As a South Dakota concerned resident, we deserve a Governor who puts S.D. above their political asperations and agenda. Remember the transparency that she has promised us? She forgot to say the muzzle that she has put on individuals don’t matter! A real hypocrite!!!

  16. leslie 2020-10-15 13:37

    We need to select winning candidates with appropriate values and competence and replace Thune and baby Dusty Johnson. Not running against the baby allows him to beef up his war chest that Rounds will pummel Alhers with and Thune—well thats all he has except McConnell. And it is a lot. Tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars by then. Quite a SD war chest!

    SCOTUS Chief Roberts was vital in overturning Gore’s 2004 win. ACB and two others were also big instruments in Gore’s defeat. They are on board for a 2020 contest. Read precisely how GOP machinations happened in 04 in this excellent Vanity Fair piece then:

    The GOP wasted no time going to SCOTUS as Gore recounts of 60,000 Florida’s rejected ballots surfaced.

    But not wanting to seem “political” SCOTUS liberal and conservative divide found: “the remedy was clear: send the case back to Florida. It was not to stop the recount altogether.”

    “Bush’s lead had diminished to 154 votes. *** Gore would have edged out Bush had they [over-counts marked for both Gore and Bush] been considered.”


    “So much time had been put into counting by what seemed a fair method at last. And now, with stunning suddenness, it was stopped.”

    Of course voter discrimination and suppression was also evident:

    “Lavonna Lewis was on the rolls. But after waiting in line for hours, the polls closed. She was told to leave, while a white man was allowed to get in line….The phone lines at the N.A.A.C.P. offices were ringing off the hook with stories like these. “What happened that day—I can’t even put it in words anymore,” says Donna Brazile, Gore’s campaign manager, whose sister was asked for three forms of identification in Seminole County before she was allowed to vote.

    “[I]t was impossible to rile up the American people about these five conservative ideologues stealing the election”. (cont)

  17. o 2020-10-15 13:40

    bearcreekbat, I also believe in redemption through good acts. Should a 2016 supporter now cast a vote against (cast a vote — not denounce then vote for) President Trump, then they get to be part of the solution. I’m willing to focus on solutions.

  18. o 2020-10-15 13:50

    Leslie, fortunately I see now that the GOP (I forget which state/s) is putting out ballot collection boxes t make sure ballots get taken to the proper place and counted. Even under court order to stop, they are still out there to help those votes get in.


  19. mike from iowa 2020-10-15 14:21

    O, that is California where they always whine about non-existent Dem voter fraud. The 5th court of appeals, headed by a drumpf appointee in Texas, declared one ballot box for each Texas county was plenty, overturning, on demand, a different court’s decision that one box is not enough.

  20. ds 2020-10-15 16:52

    The illegal ballot collection boxes in California are an opportunity for the GOP to sort, purge, and destroy the democrat voter’s ballots and only relinquish the republican ballots to the county auditors. And don’t tell me they would never do that….HA! Now they promise even more collection boxes because their sinister plot is working so well!

  21. grudznick 2020-10-15 17:26

    Mr. bat, from bearcreek, along with Mr. Tsitrian, grudznick is a Conservative with Common Sense, and has long eschewed any of Mr. Trump’s insanerisms. I am the past president of said organization, and have been voted the most loved Conservative on this blog now 6 years running. Many people get their undies all bunched up when the out-of-state name-callers lump all Conservatives in as Trumpists.

    Vote Jo. Jo Jorgensen. She might even be in line with the druggie views some espouse.

  22. grudznick 2020-10-15 18:11

    The covid is spiking in France. This is concerning. Mr. H, should we cancel all sports and all restaurants?

    Not the delivery or the pick up food from fancy restaurants, because people need that to live.

  23. Richard Schriever 2020-10-15 19:23

    bcb – in the opinion of this “foreignly educated” (Southern California) SD’n, you have this; “…..Republicans have joined the Trumpist nativist/xenophobic cult…..” backward. It is the nativist/xenophobic Republican cult that have joined Trump. His going away will NOT change the nature and features of that cult. Only his personification of it will change.

  24. Debbo 2020-10-15 23:31

    I believe Richard’s comment is correct. Spineless Sputum will assume whatever characteristics get him what he wants. Hence his current “Christian” role. He joined the cult and immeasurably strengthened it by becoming its leader and figurehead and relentlessly feeding its basest wants.

    I do think that each state ought to provide opportunities for the people of that state, all things being equal. If it comes down to an equally qualified Minnesotan and a South Dakotan to work in Pierre, the SDan ought to get the job. It’s a service, paid for with tax dollars, that state government provides to the citizens.

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