SIoux Falls, SD
South Dakota Representative-elect Kristi Noem is back from Washington after being elected as a leader of the House of Representatives freshman class.
It's the largest crop of new Congressional members in more than 60 years, with more than 100 new members elected during the mid-term election. Noem says they have a chance to make their mark if they can stay unified in their goals.
This freshman class could be one for the history books. Nearly a quarter of the members of Congress are new, and Noem says they have the chance to make changes on Capitol Hill.
"This class, if we can stay unified, can essentially set the tone for what's going to happen in Washington, D.C. If we can stay committed to our purposes going forward, there's a lot we're going to be able to deliver," Noem said.
Noem says members of the class have already had several impromptu meetings to talk about the policies they want to pursue when the 112th Congress convenes. One priority is tax policy.
"They also saw that our whole country and South Dakota needs to make some new decisions as far as how we're going to tax people, what kind of reassurances we're going to give small business owners," Noem said.
The influence is already evident in the new positions created to give freshmen a seat at the leadership table. Noem says she's ready to take on that new role, but realizes it comes with a big responsibility.
"We wanted more representation on the steering committee. We wanted more representation at the leadership table, and they listened and gave us those opportunities to do that. So we're grateful for that, but also realize we now have a voice that needs to be extremely effective," Noem said.
And the freshman class could turn out to be the most influential in years, with Noem leading the way.
Noem says she's excited about the leadership position and the doors it opens for South Dakota to have a seat at the table with the established leaders in Washington.