Five take-aways from Gov. Noem’s ‘disaster-responses’ speech Tuesday

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Gov Kristi Noem Headshot

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A morning-after summary of Governor Kristi Noem’s speech late Tuesday afternoon that she delivered via Facebook Live:

She’ll probably seek another disaster declaration from President Donald Trump. It would be the fifth during her first year as governor. Understandable. “Federal disaster dollars are never as timely as we would like, but we appreciate the responsiveness we’ve seen so far,” she said.

She won’t call up South Dakota National Guard units yet after the latest rounds of tornadoes first and then floods in many parts of southern and eastern counties last week. “Often times other resources such as DOT trucks or inmates are a better, more affordable fit for the need,” she said.

She doesn’t see a need for a special session of the Legislature yet. South Dakota has programs in place to address the needs, according to Noem: “If that changes, I will be the first to inform the public and the Legislature.

She wants state Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist and his department’s engineers to flood-proof the interstate highways. High water closed I-90 between Sioux Falls and Plankinton last week and the Bridgewater exit remains down to one lane. “We just can’t have that happen. Our population is spread out. When we lose the ability to travel on interstates and major highways due to flooding, we are compounding the disaster,” she said.

She wants more neighbors able to help neighbors in responding to disasters. “Over the longer term, I have my team looking into enhancing our state disaster response portal to connect volunteers and resources with local efforts at disasters,” she said.

To watch the entire speech go to

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