Governor Kristi Noem has repeatedly said that lockdowns don’t work and that South Dakotans can decide for themselves how to respond during the pandemic.

Despite the 288 South Dakotans who have died from COVID-19, she has directed the public’s attention to the fact that most people recover from the virus, especially those under the age of 70.

As we continue our “COVID-19: Beyond the Numbers” coverage, KELOLAND News wanted to sit down with Governor Noem to talk about the rising cases in the state and her campaigning across the country for President Trump.

Over the last several weeks, Governor Kristi Noem has spent time in other states on the presidential campaign trail for Donald Trump. Just yesterday this video was posted on Twitter from Minnesota.

“I’m Governor Kristi Noem from South Dakota and I want to encourage everybody from Minnesota to get out and vote. It’s incredibly important we turn Minnesota red,” Noem said on Twitter.

During a news conference on the Attorney General crash, KELOLAND News asked Governor Noem about her out-of-state trips to campaign, while COVID-19 numbers here rise.

“If we do not focus on the election as well and President Trump is not in office, there are consequences of that to our state of South Dakota,” Gov. Kristi Noem said.

Shortly after being elected, in January of 2019, Noem told lawmakers that she wants people to trust her administration.

“Today I’m committing to work towards building the most transparent administration South Dakota has ever seen,” Noem said during the speech.

At the time, we sat down with Noem to ask her about the about the openness of her administration.

Dan Santella: Do you expect the public and the press to have steady access to you and your cabinet?

Noem: I do—absolutely–and that’s been a directive that I’ve given to my cabinet, and to my staff; that we want to be responsive.”

The governor’s tax-payer funded TV studio in the capitol building is supposed to give the media more access to her, but so far it appears that the studio is mostly being used for appearances by the governor on national Fox News programs.

This week KELOLAND’s Angela Kennecke asked Governor Noem’s office for a one-on-one interview to address questions about rising COVID-19 cases in the state, her campaign trips for Trump and the economy. Angela received the following response from the governor’s office:

“Were there even the slightest attempt on your part to be fair in your reporting, I’d be happy to move this through the process. Since that hasn’t happened in my entire time with Governor Noem (and I’m told long before…), the answer is no.”

Maggie Seidel, Senior Advisor and Policy Director