SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Campaigning, governing, traveling, representing. All are things that are part of holding the office of governor of a U.S. state in 2022.

We live today in a time when decisions made by entities in other states and within the federal government effect South Dakota, and vice versa. While the travels of Governor Kristi Noem have been points of interest in recent years, it is undeniable that the person holding the Office of the Governor will have reason from time to time to leave the state.

Find the latest election coverage at Your Local Election Headquarters

KELOLAND News reached out to Kristi Noem (R), Tracey Quint (L) and Jamie Smith (D) to find out how each candidate views the Governorship, and when/why they believe it is appropriate for the governor to leave the state.


Noem: Role of the Governor

A request to Noem campaign was answered by Ian Fury, who directed us to Noem’s campaign website, and a page titled ‘The Job of Governor.’

With this page, the campaign text describes Noem in the office of governor as the CEO of the state, as well as the state’s biggest advocate and number one ambassador.

Quint: Role of the Governor

“I believe that the role of Governor is there to help guide the state,” Quint said on a phone call with KELOLAND News. “That helps figure out where they want to go and what they want to be.”

Quint said she believes the governor should be there for guidance, but should not serve as a ‘ruler’.

This view, that the governor is less of a boss and more of a collaborator, Quint chalked up to her view point as a Libertarian.

Smith: Role of the Governor

Smith, in an interview with KELOLAND News, appeared to have a view similar to that of Quint’s, noting that the people deserve a governor that works for them. Smith went on to emphasis his view of the necessity of the governor being present in the state to work for the citizens.


Noem: When is it appropriate for the governor to travel out of state?

Still reading from the campaign website to which we were directed, the Noem campaign writes about the time she has spent traveling outside the state, which they say is done to promote South Dakota.

The page specifically cites Noem’s tourism campaign as an achievement, writing: “During the pandemic, tourism across the country ground to a halt. South Dakota’s tourism industry initially suffered, so Governor Noem launched a nationwide ad campaign to encourage tourists to come celebrate Freedom in South Dakota.”

The campaign notes that Noem has engaged in this tourism business directly as well, via her out of state travel.

“When Governor Noem goes to other states, she is telling South Dakota’s story,” reads the campaign page.

KELOLAND News has not received an answer from Noem regarding her view of how governors should treat attendance of purely political events, though her past appearances at NRA, CPAC and other republican establishment events seem to indicate that she sees no issue with a governor attending political party functions out of state.

Quint: When is it appropriate for the governor to travel out of state?

Quint disagrees with the idea that a governor should serve as a sort of tourism ambassador for the state. “I wouldn’t necessarily see the role of governor as the attraction for tourism,” she said. “I think there’s plenty of things in South Dakota that attract tourists. I don’t think the governor needs to take that on as an extra job.”

States should definitely have input in national policy decisions, says Quint. “National policies don’t always work the same ways in different states,” she said. “Asked if travelling out of state to support a policy position was within her idea of what a governors should do, she said yes.

“If you’re going just to pander to the national party — maybe that’s something you should reconsider,” she said, going on to note that activities such as those should be done on the governor’s own dime, and if at all possible, not during the legislative session.

Libertarians, like Democrats and Republicans, have a national convention. Asked if a governor should be free to travel out of state to speak at such an event, Quint said that as long as it doesn’t conflict with the legislative session or cost the state money, “I don’t see a problem with it.”

Smith: When is it appropriate for the governor to travel out of state?

Asked when a governor should travel out of state, Smith began with times “when you’re assisting your neighbor.”

“I think you should go to the Western Governor’s Conference,” he continued. “You go to meetings of governors around the country. You go work with like-minded folks on certain issues — like ag — let’s sit down with the other states no matter what their party,” he said.

The other area in which Smith said a governor should travel is for business recruitment. “That’s a given,” he said. “You should go find people to come to South Dakota and bring their business here.”

Smith also said you should go to Washington D.C. if called, to be an advocate for South Dakota.

Asked like the other candidates about how a governor should approach political events such as speaking at party conventions, Smith responded with a personal pledge.

If elected governor, my biggest obligation will be to the people of South Dakota, not the national party. I will not regularly accept invitations to speak at national events. If I do, it will be for extremely rare exceptions.

Jamie Smith