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Re-Election Realities

November 7, 2012, 10:07 PM by Don Jorgensen

Re-Election Realities

Despite the discontent in Washington and Congress' low approval rating, South Dakotans re-elected Congresswoman Kristi Noem.

On Tuesday night Noem defeated her democratic challenger Matt Varilek by a wide margin picking up 58% of the vote.

As far as elections go, it was a relatively short night for Congresswoman Noem. She jumped out to an early lead in her re-election bid and never looked back. 

Shortly after 10 p.m., Noem gave her victory speech, even before her challenger gave his concession speech.  As South Dakota's lone Representative, she talked directly to the voters.

"I know not everyone in South Dakota voted for me tonight, I know there are a lot of Republicans, Democrats and Independents out there and I want you to know, maybe while you didn't vote for me, I still represent you," Noem said.

And even if you don't agree with her style or her views, she still wants to hear from you and your concerns.

Noem sat down with us following her speech and told us her first priority is to get a farm bill passed, but that's not all.

Noem and the rest of Congress, face the challenge of dealing with the so-called "fiscal cliff," a mix of massive defense cuts and tax hikes set to kick in this coming January.

"We head right back to D.C., we've got a lot on our plate to get done, not only getting a farm bill done, but at the end of the year we got a lot of tax extenders to deal with, sequestration, which is across the board cuts which could dramatically impact our budget," Noem said.

But the political dynamics in Washington didn't change much Tuesday night. Republicans still control the House and Democrats still hold power in the Senate and President Barrack Obama was re-elected to another four year term.

Many woke up Wednesday morning wondering if Tuesday night's results will bring a new era of compromise or just much of the same. 

"If there's one thing I heard from South Dakotans during this campaign was that they wanted us to work together, tired of watching Washington D.C. continue to have a gridlock and not get things accomplished," Noem said.

Noem says it's imperative for South Dakotans and the rest of the country that the two sides find common ground.

"For the betterment of this country we've got to make sure we are giving ourselves a better future, that includes having some results when it comes to tax reform, making sure we are living within our means, working toward a balanced budget," Noem said.

As for Noem herself, she says she can begin that process by reaching out to her colleagues.

"I think it's important I work with other members from other states, find those I can agree with to build a coalition on ag issues, on energy issues, things that might impact South Dakota," Noem said.

A state that has given her another opportunity to tackle the big issues that may not have any easy answers.

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