South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem and Democratic challenger Matt Varilek will go head-to-head in their first debate of the year Wednesday.
The debate at the annual Dakotafest farm show in Mitchell will focus on agricultural issues, and it should be interesting because agriculture has already been the main focus of both campaigns.
Democrat Matt Varilek has been criticizing Congresswoman Kristi Noem over the past couple of months for her attendance record in the House Agriculture Committee, and more recently Varilek has been calling out Noem for the lack of progress on the Farm Bill in the U.S. House.
On Tuesday, Noem announced she is launching a new radio advertising campaign to highlight her record of fighting for South Dakota farmers and ranchers in Washington.
“Record drought, high fuel and fertilizer costs, and over-regulation by Washington are creating extra hardship for farmers and ranchers all across South Dakota,” the narrator said in Noem’s most recent radio ad. “That's why Kristi has pushed for emergency drought relief, protections for our ethanol producers and a Farm Bill that's good for South Dakota.”
Noem also highlights her efforts to stop the Department of Labor from implementing regulations on children working on the farm in the 60-second radio ad.
But not everyone wants to know about issues facing agriculture during this race. KELOLAND News spoke with one man who said the best person for South Dakota's lone house seat is someone who can accomplish the most in a deeply divided Congress.
“I think we really have to take a look at whether we want to get things done in Washington and right now everything is in gridlock, kind of dead locked,” Sioux Falls voter Jeff Richards said.
Wednesday’s debate is organized by the South Dakota Corn Growers Association and South Dakota State University and is one of four scheduled debates before Election Day.
KELOLAND News will stream it live at on our Live Coverage page of KELOLAND.com when it begins at 2 p.m.