A Washington gridlock shut down a lot of things, but Augustana Political Science Professor Emily Wanless said it opened up opportunities for discussion.
"As a political science junky, this has been kind of fun for me because people are actually learning about what's going on in Congress," Wanless said.
Now many voters are talking about Representative Kristi Noem's 'no' vote on the deal to re-open the federal government. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives followed the Senate's lead and approved the plan that will re-open the government until January 15th. Noem was the only member of South Dakota's Congressional delegation to vote against the proposal. She said she she could not approve the plan because it does nothing to reduce the nation's mounting debt.
"The problem I had with the bill that we voted on last night was that it tied the debt ceiling to that bill and increased spending at a time when we should be looking at ways we can deal with our federal deficit," Noem said.
21-year-old Crystal Ortbahn said Noem's vote, especially considering ranchers' livestock losses after the blizzard in Western South Dakota, is worth remembering.
"People that need programs to be open for them and thankfully it is open now, so that's good. When she's advocating for that and voting against the government re-opening, I think that's worth questioning," Ortbahn, an Augustana senior, said.
The Washington Post published an article about a potential "political disaster" for her career on Wednesday. Wanless said despite voter frustration, Noem's decision likely will not impact the Congresswoman's political future, because voters look ahead and not in the past. With the election a year away, a lot can happen between now and a year from now.
"And (if) Noem makes a good decision and is on the side of public opinion, voters are easily able to forget," Wanless said.
Wanless concedes that Noem's vote was in line with most of her party in the House, and says her views have remained consistent.
"Representative Noem has been successful about keeping her message about fiscal responsibility, and not so much about Obamacare," Wanless said.
With criticism comes praise. Brian Erbland wrote on Noem's Facebook wall, 'Good job, we respect you for making the right choice even when it may not be popular.' For many voters, the frustrations are not just with one person or party.
"Democrats are just as much at fault and I'm hoping I can find a third party candidate that I find worthy of support," Matthew Housiax, an Augustana sophomore, said.