Evidently stung by criticism that her “Freedom Works Here” marketing campaign lacks measurable results, Governor Kristi Noem has decided to shout down her detractors. Two days after the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee heard vague marketing flim-flam from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and one day after the Legislature’s Executive Board demanded details about how contracts for splashy video campaign were issued, the Governor issued an exclamatory press release promising more of her plumber dress-up ads:
“Businesses love the Freedom Works Here campaign and have asked us how they can partner to keep it going – so we’re bringing it back by popular demand!” said Governor Noem. “We are continuing to recruit Freedom-loving Americans from across the country to come live and work right here in South Dakota. I can’t wait for everyone to see the new Freedom Works Here ads!” [Office of the Governor, press release, 2023.11.15]
Two exclamation points in three sentences? That doesn’t sound like a typical formal statement from a governor. Noem doesn’t actually speak with that much enthusiasm. Perhaps that punctuation signifies the perky authorship of office baton-twirler Amelia Joy, who after eleven long months on the job is finally being allowed to put her name on the byline of the Governor’s press releases.
But all the shouting and first-name-only anecdotes about a few workers coming here because they like seeing Kristi on TV can’t erase the fact that GOED hasn’t produced real data showing that the Governor’s campaign for Vice-President is boosting South Dakota’s workforce and economy.