tv After Words Gov. Kristi Noem R-SD Not My First Rodeo CSPAN August 28, 2022 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
governor christie nome i'm going to rip the band-aid off and get right to some of the topics. you may not want to discuss or may not want to discuss all the time. and then we're gonna get right into not my first rodeo lessons from the heartland. heartland. you're brand new book. have you ever thought generally speaking about running for president? well people ask me about it quite a bit. so then of course you you have to but i'm really focused on staying in south dakota. i'm running for reelection this year. hope that people of our state trust me to serve them another four years and and that's really what my goal is beyond that. i i know we do need good leadership in this country. i'm sure there's a lot of people that are interested in that job. have you ever given specific thought to running for president
in 2024? no, i haven't. you know people speculate. i think that's the nature of politics, but i specifically have not i'm not convinced that that has to be me in that position. fair enough i wanted to ask you and do a little time traveling for just a moment. we're in the midst right now in washington and granted a lot of people look at what happens in washington and scratch their heads, but we're in the midst right now of the special select committee in the house to examine what happened on january 6th 2021 on that day as you watch supporters of former president donald trump storm the capital in an effort to halt congressional certification of president, joe biden's victory. this is a building where you work for a number of years. what were you thinking that day as you watch that unfold? oh, i think i was like many people i was grieved by what i was seeing. i think what's going on with the committees now and what we saw this week was discouraging a lot of the testimony was hearsay.
not necessarily factual and that's why i think there's so many things going on in this country with inflation energy costs. things that are impacting families across the nation that i would love to see congress focus on those and do what they can to continue to make sure that we have an environment where people can feed their families pursue opportunities in the future for their careers and really protect their freedoms. do you view president trump as the undisputed leader of the republican party and if he chooses to run in 2024 amount of third white house campaign should other republicans step aside. well, you know i've spent a lot of time talking to people across the country and right now i don't believe there's anybody that can defeat president trump in a in a republican primary. he's got a group of individuals that are extremely loyal to him. i've always supported all of his policies. i think his leadership was good for the country compared to what we have today. so, you know, it'll be interesting to see how that
shapes up over the next several years, but if you were to run he'd certainly have my support. and i wanted to talk to you a little bit about the republican party. generally, you know, i noticed this in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election you deliver to speech at the republican national committee at a meeting in georgia, and you were quite critical of how republicans in congress have operated at times and and you were critical of the party's inability from your point of view at times to deliver on campaign promises. where do you think your party has fallen short? i think if you go back and you look at what i actually said there. yes. i said that we've fallen short at times but i also said where we need to go what we need to do. what's hopeful about the republican party. i think that's really what the country's desperate for right now is some optimism, you know, if you look at my state of south dakota, what we did was basically what conservatives believe in the last several years. we had a very limited government
role. we gave people flexibility. let them use personal responsibility to make the best decisions for their families and their businesses, and now we're economy is leading the nation we our children are doing better with educational outcomes and virtually anywhere in the country incomes are going up faster in our state than anywhere else and people are thriving more than they are in many of these other states. so leadership has consequences and republicans can be a party now that brings hope brings optimism and that really is what the people in this country need to be reminded of this is a very special country and so much. we see in the news is discouraging. i would prefer that we talk a lot about what our founders gave us in the blessings that we have. when you served in congress, if memory serves me correctly you entered with a brand new republican majority, but with a democrat still in the white house, and so i wanted to sort of get your insight on this, you know, republicans could have a very good november this year and
beginning next january have majorities of some sort in the house. and in the senate at least the ability to put bills on the floor and and pass at least some of them through the house. what is your recommendation to your fellow republicans in congress who may be in congress next year in terms of how you deliver on what they believe the american people want, but how you also function in a political reality where democrats are still likely to have filibuster power in the senate to block house past bills and we're president. joe biden is still going to be in the white house with a veto pen. while the reality is is that the senate doesn't even necessarily have to talk about what the house is talking about. that's what's so broken about washington dc. i talk about this quite a bit in my book. that just was released this week called not my first rodeo, but it talks about the dysfunction in washington dc and and when i did serve in congress the first couple of years there we did have barack obama and the white
house and we learned how to figure out a way to get some things past a lot of what we wanted to do as republicans in the house did not get past but it was a check and balance to the system and what i believe the republicans in the house in the senate need to do is cast a vision for where we're going not just be opposed to joe biden even though so many of his policies are bad for our country right now. i do think that we also have to be pretty clear on what we're for and to be ready to take action. should we have the opportunity to get congressional bills past and get them to the president's desk? and not my first rodeo lessons from the heartland you discuss a lot about what you're for and also talk a lot about your experiences, which i want to discuss in a minute, but do you think republicans outside of south dakota other than yourself have done a good job casting a vision for what republicans will do with new majorities if they win them in november. i think it depends on the
republican. you know it and what what their message is. there are some that are talking about what they would like to do. there are many that want to get the regulations off our backs do better trade agreements really address national security concerns, you know, make sure we're leading again through peace through strength. those are all things they talk about, you know, i know the house of representatives specific has been messaging what they would do if they were to get the house back i think governing is incredibly important and also keeping perspective. so many people have been successful in the past running for office when they talked about what the people at home care about. we saw a new governor get elected in virginia by focusing on what people cared about in the communities throughout that state not getting diverted down national political divisive topics, but focusing on what his people cared about and is the kids and the education they were getting so that really is a discipline that i think we all could learn as public servants. is that even though what we think may be the conversation to
be having it's really what the people at home want us to focus on that we should be looking at. good. all right, let's get let's get into your book and you know, if if you haven't written one of these things before not always as easy as it might appear a little experience with that myself. and so i i just wanted to ask you off the top not my first rodeo lessons from the heartland. what is your book about? well, most people would assume that it's just a political book. you know that it voices all of my opinions on the political topics of the day, but it's really more a story of my life lived so far what i've learned over the years leadership qualities from the heartland, you know, how i grew up on a ranch in what the very big presence in my life. my dad taught me by having a strong work ethic. we don't complain about things we fix them also my time in the
state legislature how i made big decisions in my life, and i think a lot of people first heard my name during covid, but it's important for them to know that that wasn't my first rodeo. that wasn't my first challenge i went through i did have a life before that and served in congress and some of those experiences along the way i think will give people a little better understanding about how i make my decisions when it comes to this public office that i hold today as well. not my first rodeo lessons from the heartland opens with i think my favorite story of yours and as they pay me to do this. i have heard it, but i bet you a lot of people have not out at least outside of south dakota have not heard this story and i want to i want to go to your words and it's chapter one and i thought it was fitting and just given how often you talk about this in terms of how it's shaped you chapter one is titled the tapes and you start the book like this. i don't know why i'm doing this. he said over the cackles of the tape recorder. i guess i'll go check cows.
click the tape stopped. that was the end. i couldn't believe what i just heard what i had just found what i held in my hands and what a gift it was. suddenly. i knew everything would be okay or was going to be okay. excuse me. we were going to get through this. governor don't talk about this story fill it in for us and why it's such a poignant moment in your life. well, most people wonder how i got involved in government politics to begin with i don't come from a political family. nobody ever been really that interested in government. nobody run for office, and it was a very strange route for me to take growing up. just wanting to graduate from college go home and be in business on the farm and ranch with my dad. so it really was a big life changer for me when my dad was killed in an accident on our family operation and it was i was 22 years old at the time my
older brother and sister were living out of state my younger brother still in high school. i ended up putting college coming home and becoming the general manager of a large business had a lot of people working for me and over and over again at the age of 22. i was wishing that i could just ask my dad questions. i had been working all the time trying to figure out how to keep the business together. we were hit with death taxes trying to figure out how to pay that bill when we didn't have any money in the bank and you know for for months i struggled and wondered if we'd be okay and then one day i decided i'd finally clean out my dad's pick up which is where he kind of ran everything out of you know, if most ranchers and farmers live out of their pick up trucks and i these little dictation tape, so micro cassette recorder and these tapes and when i started to play them it was my dad's voice and on these tapes were answers to all the questions that i wished. i'd had over the several months previous. it was what variety of seed corn worked best on what soil type
what what cattle bread best and did well in our climate what neighbors to trust which ones were good friends what to do if we ever got into financial trouble even he talked about as kids what he thought we would be when we grew up and some of those tapes were almost 10 years old. he'd moved them from pick up to pick up over the years and my dad wasn't a talker. so it was just shock to me to find something like that. nobody had any idea he was doing something like that and and i was just amazed at the fact that the answer to every question i could have possibly had was on those tapes. it was like a prayer prayer delivered and answered and at that moment. i felt a i guess a piece that passes all understanding. it was it was almost like i just knew that. if god cared enough to give me all the answers to those questions and we were going to be fine. it'd be taking care of. talk about the farm a little bit. how big is it? what do you farm? how long has it been in the family?
well, you know, it's been in the family for generations. you know, my my dad grew up on the operation. i live on the ranch, which my dad purchased probably when i was about 12 or 13 years old. that's about 15 miles away from where the original farm is, but it's very special land, you know, my grandfather first bought the first piece of land, you know by not having any even two dollars he could scrape together. he started actually a mink in fox farm and started to raise money that way to buy their first quarter of land and so i come from a family that recognized the value of owning something. in fact, my dad said all the time christy don't sell land god isn't making any more land and really your whole estate. what what your legacy was was tied up in in the land that you could pass on to your children and your grandchildren. so it's a special place. it was always more than just a place to call home. it was a place where our family had its roots our foundation.
out my first rodeo lessons from the heartland you talk about a moment where you and your dad took a drive to what you referred to in the the book as native land and you got real excited about it. and then he said oh, yeah, i bought it. is that the ranch? that's where i live. yes and in our part of the state, it's very rare to find native ground native ground is land. that's never been turned. it's never been plowed. it's the same as it would have been hundreds of years ago, and it's very special even in south dakota. there's certain native flowers our state flower the past only grows on native ground once you turn it it'll never grow there again, and so i'd always treasured rough. prairie like that and it was i remember being very young and my dad's showing me this special place of hundreds and hundreds of acres. that was all native and saying i wanted to live there someday in debt said well, i bought it it's it's mine and me asking him if i could live there someday and him
saying well. someday, i'll let you buy it from me. you know, there was no free lunch in my dad's world. so i eventually did and my husband and i still live there today. fascinating what what are the different things that you farm and who runs the farm today? well today my brothers do what happened was when i went to congress, you know, my us four siblings all worked together in partnership with my mom for many many years, but when i went to congress i was going to be gone a lot and obviously spending my time in other entities so my brothers at that time bought us my sister and i out of the business operation. we still have equity in the land and other things but they run the the business and they do the farming now today. the book is not my first rodeo lessons from the heartland of the author is governor christie nome of south dakota, you know, a lot of children will grow up in a family business and either reject the family business or
just not want to go into the same line of work as their parents. did this is something that you embraced and i was trying to get a sense of how much this was a matter of circumstance for you giving your father's accident or or whether this is something ultimately decided. loved enough to want to do before you found your current vocation. well, i would say my dad and i were a lot of like in fact my brother says if you want to know what my dad was like spend a day with christy so, you know at times that was wonderful. my dream was farming and ranching for the rest of my life at other times. both of us have very strong personalities and and we both kind of wanted to be in charge too. so, i don't know what that would have looked like into the future, but but yeah, i did not think that i could ever be happy not farming and ranching my passion is animals. i love the land. i love being outdoors the fact that i do what i do today is very strange was never on my radar so my plan was always to
be involved in the family business the fact that i'm not today is a very unique circumstance. you spend a lot of time in not my first rodeo talking about your parents. who are they? where do they come from? how did they meet? well, my dad, you know grew up in the same area as my mom my mom grew up in watertown, which was about 20 miles away. so both from south dakota both from the northeastern corner. my dad was a raised out in the country farming and raising cattle. my mom was a city girl. so and what does that mean in south dakota? well, it means that the town was probably 15 to 20,000 people. so no probably not a city girl and terms of what a lot of the country thinks, but she had she certainly had a 4-h and had showed cattle before so i guess that's still doesn't make her quite the city girl that a lot of people would say, but she certainly had never run tractors and live the kind of life that
my dad had required when she married him. in fact, she says when she got married she moved out to the farm and was so lonely because it was so far away from her family, you know, they only went into town on sundays really and she immediately was put in a tractor. she had no idea what to do. it was out of her element. so i think they met, you know through high school friends, but quickly fell in love got married and my mom's whole life became then we're running the business with my dad. he worked so hard all the time. she was kind of the peacemaker in the family. she's the one who kept us alive. he was always coming in the house and saying let's go. let's go let's go and she was the one shoving food in our pockets to saying here eat this on the way to the field or eat this on the way to to haul cattle and and taking care of us kids and and running parts and stuff around the country supporting the business as well. and you do you guys know how far back your family goes in south dakota and where they came from
well, my grandfather on my mother's side. it was his parents that came over from norway. my my dad's grandparents had been here before but they are more german, but they were originally settled up north of us probably about 50 miles. so, you know at least four generations in this country, but, you know very much tied to the land when they came they worked and earned every single thing that that they have today. and your siblings you talk a lot about them you write a lot about them in not my first rodeo. what was your relationship like growing up? well it what has it been like as governor and if they ever get out of line you threaten him a tax audits or anything crazy. no, the you know, there's funny how different we all are my sister is the oldest and i tell people all the time. i may run south dakota, but she still runs my life. so when cindy tells me to do something i do it and she's the one who you know when i went to congress got elected that was such a different thing. our family i was you know
leading 4-h groups. i was the children's pastor at our church. i was running businesses. my kids were little. she's the one who filled in all the holes. she took over every job that i suddenly dropped she took care of my kids ran treats to school took them to the doctor her and my mom were incredibly helpful with this sudden upheaval in life when i decided for the first time out of all of us to go do something different my brother rock went to college to get a psychology degree. so he was never going to come back and be a part of the business until my dad passed away and came home to help for a little while didn't want to be a part of the business but after a couple of years decided to stay so rock is the one that you you know, he's the second oldest cindy is the oldest then rock and rock is the one who when you say wait and sleep very night very well last night. i had a bunch of dreams and kept me awake. he'd say, oh christy tell me all about the dreams you had and what to do.
analysis on me, but he's wonderful at very deep thinker a very thoughtful and then i am the third out of four and then my brother rob is the baby of the family, but he is the big guy and he is probably the most wonderful father i've ever met before he has six children three that he has adopted and hard worker. he calls me almost every day to check on me and make sure i'm doing okay and and, you know loves machinery and working outside and and really is a man of the land so i probably am closest right now to to rob when when i was farming it was cindy, but we all just recognize that what we had growing up in our family and being so close and spending over, you know, 20 years being in business together was a really special way to grow up all of our children feel like their brothers and sisters because every day they were together while we were running our operation growing up together. the same age and that doesn't
happen everywhere in the country. no, it doesn't family businesses can be quite contentious and it does not always go well and i have some personal experience with that. you have an anniversary. that's coming up or if already happened depending on when people are watching this. let's talk to me about how you met your husband. and and how did you end up and i think people would i mean find this interesting. how did you end up honeymooning at dodger stadium in los angeles now, that's my neck of the woods. so you know, i i could almost look at la like sort of a small town depending on how much traffic i have to fight to get anywhere. but that had to be some real culture shock for you guys back then but talk about that. yes, well, my husband went to the same high school. i did he was two years older than may we didn't start dating until you know, he went to college. i was still in high school, but he was in college and you know to be honest with you. he was one of my brothers
friends and you know, we started dating and it was interesting because when we got engaged and we're gonna get married he hadn't left this data south dakota before in fact, i think he had only gone maybe to minneapolis once for like a twins game, but he was a huge dodger fan. his dad was a brooklyn dodger fan and had always watched games listen to games and it was a very big decision for him on where he wanted to go on the honeymoon if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and he just struggled with that? of course, we didn't have any money. so doing something on a budget was important and we were trying to figure out what to do. and finally he was struggling so much i said, you know, listen brian if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you and without even thinking he said dodger stadium and i said, all right. well, then let's go to dodger stadium for our honeymoon and booked it. the problem was the dodgers didn't play until about two weeks after we got married. so we got married and then went right back to work at the farm
the next day in two weeks later left for our honeymoon, and i did not realize when i agreed to dodger stadium though that we that i was agreeing to go to the entire series and that that meant all of batting practice as well and staying till the entire games were over and we my husband was so enthralled with being there that he brought my dad's video camera which at that time if you think about this this back in the 90s, it was bright yellow it was as big as a suitcase and he video cameras were not allowed in dodger stadium. he snuck it in every day. and then went around and tried to video everything that he could and then was chased by security guards and i would just sit there for hours and think what kind of a honeymoon is this, but they would eventually take it away from him, but i think we came home from that honeymoon with a about 11 or 12 hours of videotape of just dodger stadium, um, because he loved it so much. so that was an interesting
honeymoon, but very special because he was thrilled to be there. we've been 30 years now. and eventually about 10 years later. he did take me out on a cruise, so i did get a different kind of a trip about 10 years later. but yeah, very special guy. i think that that he you know when he married me i was going to be a farmer so he didn't necessarily sign up for this crazy life that we live but he has hung in there and really been the support that i need to continue doing what i'm doing well to his credit dodger stadium is one of the most beautiful baseball stadiums in the country. so he has good taste. yes. yes. it was it was beautiful. we loved it. i just ate a lot of dodger dogs that week. well you probably got your you probably got your fell. not my first rodeo lessons from the heartland is the book governor christie. nome of south dakota. is the author. let's talk about. well your first rodeo you decide after a while of running the farm to get involved in politics, and it's sort of
started out innocently enough because whenever you run a business you're very soon to government regulations taxes more so than if you're just getting a check every week and that sort of got you involved in policy and having opinions on that, but you make the leap to run for a seat in the state legislature. what were you thinking at the time and and how did your family react because this is not in the grand scheme of things that long ago. and in the modern era when when somebody runs for congress the spotlight hits their family their family's business dealings and all sorts of things. it's not just the candidate. you know, i would say that after my dad passed away within a year or two. i had received some awards that that kind of put me on people's radar. i was named south dakota's outstanding young farmer within a few years after dad passed and then south dakota's outstanding young leader and that that time our us senator was tom dashel.
he was the majority leader in the house in the senate and was from south dakota and i was at a lot of his meetings. he ended up appointing me to a board that oversaw all the federal farm programs in the state. so i was involved in policy and and showing up with different people and people started to ask me to consider running for the state legislature, you know, it was interesting because asking my family they just thought well that's strange and you know, nobody's done that before but in our state this the legislature meets for 40 days a year you go in in january you balance the budget past bills and then go back home and back to your jobs and it wasn't that big of a commitment to outside of session and we figured we would try it and if it worked then everything would be okay. i did that got elected and ran for leadership right away and served as the assistant majority leader in the house, but that's really when a lot of the pressure started to come to run for congress, which i was not
interested in doing it. all in fact people asked for two years. if my husband and i would consider running for congress because we were represented in the us house by a blue dog democrat. and of course, i was a republican and people wanted me to challenge that representative before she decided to go after john boone who was our us senator. so i think a lot of john doon supporters, and he himself were interested in me challenging her and beating her before she decided to run for the senate and eventually after two years of people calling and talking and i explained a lot of this and in the book as well that i finally said to my husband, you know, maybe we just run and if we lose people will leave us alone, and we don't we can quit talking about this because she was very popular at the time and hadn't voted for obamacare or the stimulus package and but she had voted for nancy pelosi and i spent a lot of my time during that came campaign talking about that and that was really when
things got elevated to more of a national level because i was a heated campaign one of the top five races in the nation at the time and very contentious. i would say i was admittedly out of my element and it was a very interesting difficult campaign for me that democrat was stephanie hurst sandlin and she made south dakota very competitive for democrats just before it seemed like politics in your state tipped to the right, but i wanted to back up for a minute. i was really in and i'm supposed to know this stuff, but i did not realize that you had had a relationship of sorts. calm dashel former senator from south dakota democratic majority leader in the us senate just talk about that because we don't see that sort of thing that often anymore. yeah, you know tom was always very good to me. in fact, he he gave me opportunities that i would say even republicans wouldn't give me opportunities to do in south dakota. i think for a democrat to be
elected and even for republicans you you know, you need to be a little bipartisan and work together. it's with south dakota is very populist. people think it's very conservative and it's really not in fact, you know my last race when i ran for governor, just three and a half years ago. i only won by three points and it was against a guy who was a bernie sanders supporter. so, you know, it's it's very much a state that can go back and forth and and tom was being the, you know was the majority leader very influential. i cared about farm bills. i cared about tax reform and i was somebody who didn't complain about things. i tried to show up and be a part of the solution and i think he appreciated that he had a leadership camp every year that he would host new leaders in the state that he thought had potential to serve and he did invite me to that one year and i went i thought it was in the black hills for a weekend and he brought in speakers and we spent
time together talking about policy and what it's like to run for office. i was it was interesting to me because i never once considered becoming a democrat i think maybe he probably hoped i would but but boy for years after that even when i ran for congress, i had a lot of republicans who who questioned if i was truly a republican just because i had attended that that leadership camp that tom dashel had hosted they i was it was surprised by how they felt like that tainted my credentials to even be a republican that i would go and spend time with democrats. it struck me in reading not my first rodeo that politics is something that you really i don't know if the phrase would be fell in love with but for somebody who wasn't steeped in it necessarily and came to it later in life. i feel like you dove right in and in a sense found your calling just talk about doing this for a living the past few
years and and how it is felt in terms of of the professional satisfaction. you have gotten from the work. well, you know my husband would tell you that i'm kind of obsessive with everything. i do you know, whatever i do. i do a hundred and ten percent. so even when i worked at the farm, you know, i was working 20 hour days the kids were coming with me in the tractors. you know, we were always adding more and more things to to. you know what we needed to get accomplished every day. i was i had a grandmother that told me when i was having my first daughter that i needed to say yes to things the world is filled with people who say no, i'm too busy. no, i can't do that and that i should be a mom who said yes, and i should be a person who said yes, and i took that to heart so i would i would think that you know while i dove in had first and you know going 100 miles an hour in politics, i kind of did that with everything. in fact, i tell a couple stories in the book about how i decided
one time to take a quilting and that was not very smart because my mom finally came to me after i hadn't slept for three days because i couldn't stop until the quilt was done. she said, you know, i don't think quilting's for you. it's supposed to be relaxing and you're supposed to sleep, but for me i couldn't stop until i got the project done. so, you know, that's a little bit of my personality but you know, i i definitely recognize that if i'm gonna to be gone from my family i'm gonna be gone from my commitments at the businesses then i want to make a difference, you know, know, i might as well. be in leadership be if the person in the room making the decisions and and that's kind of the approach that i've always had is it when i'm gone someday, i want people to at least say she lived a life of significance. so that obsessiveness that you describe actually lends a lot more context with story you talk about in not my first rodeo lessons from the heartland about
soon after you first arrived in the state legislature, and it was about the issue of abortion, which is very timely right now and i just want to read from this from your book, but you you immediately and correct me if if i miss remembering the story here governor, but you immediately proposed legislation. to pro-life legislation to curtail abortion rights or or however you would like to describe it and some other republicans also obviously pro-life republicans in the legislature told you was bad strategy. they weren't pleased with it. you immediately emailed your constituents back home that email made its way into a blog. and it became much the topic of conversation in your state you write about the article that were written the article made me sound arrogant naive and frankly i was i had sent the message to everyone that i couldn't be
trusted if i disagree with someone i would start attacking them with emails to constituents. talk to me about how formative that experience was in how you developed your governing style even on issues where you are extremely passionate and that are where you're very principled and how that approaches how you have governed as the chief executive. well that situation, you know, i was brand new to the legislature, you know wanted to to do something impactful. we had just had a ballot initiative. that would have completely banned abortions in the state. it had gone to the public and it had failed and i wanted to immediately bring another bill forward that that would have the debate in the legislature. i remember having a meeting with those who cared about this issue and just being shocked that the state's president of right to life was against bringing a bill and it was a man from my own district my other representative, but he also was
my husband's cousin so that tells you how small south dakota is, but i was just so surprised by it that i you know went and immediately after the meeting emailed people back home and said they needed to call him and talk to him and then that made it. into the public news stories and i just realized immediately how bad i sounded like, i know it all that. i didn't even go to him and really discuss it with him instead. i decided to start emailing people back home who didn't have a context of what was said in that meeting or the strategy behind it, and it was a very teachable moment for me. you know that i didn't want to be the kind of person who am bushed others in policy and i recognize the trust is is something where you create an environment where you you build a team and it's not where you either trust somebody or don't it's almost like a bank account you you do different actions how you treat people how you talk to them? and you're how dependable you are is is building trust day after day after day and i wanted
my colleagues to know that i was somebody who was reasonable logical. smart and could look at the consequences of everything that we did and make sure that it was the right thing to do. so i appreciated that teaching lesson. it was pretty miserable because i was brand new and you know, everybody avoided me after that. everybody was talking about me and i felt like that i really had gotten off on the wrong foot and that's when the majority leader larry roden came to me invited me out to dinner that night. he tells everybody that the reason he did that is. he went around to other members and people that worked in the legislature or lobbyists and said hey, do you want to go have dinner with christy noam and me she doesn't have any friends. they they agreed and those those four men that came to that that dinner that night. you know with this young mom and shared, you know a meal and also their thoughts and knowledge about the legislature are still my dearest friends today. so i thought that i think that
one of the reasons that that particular anecdote from not my first rodeo lessons from the heartland jumped out at me is is we're talking in the immediate aftermath of the supreme court decision in dobbs v jackson women's health center and as you're well aware as the country's well aware that decision overturned roe versus wade and eliminated federal protect protections for abortion rights and has returned that question to the states. what does abortion what do abortion rights look like in south dakota in the aftermath of you and the legislature now having the ability to decide on this question. well in 2005 south dakota had passed a bill that put in place a trigger law that said if row was ever overturned that abortion would be illegal in the state except to save the life of a mother. so that is the law today, and i know that and where does the excuse me?
where does the prohibition begin in pregnancy? and is the life of the mother the only exception? the life of the mother is the only exception today as the statute reads and it is not any consequences against the mother where it would add any kind of punishment would be on the doctors responsibility for a doctor who had knowingly break the law. they are the ones who would be prosecuted never the women that would be involved in this situation with an unplanned pregnancy or or a crisis that they feel they may be facing because of of this situation and where does south dakota law in this trigger law? where does the prohibition come in at conception at six weeks at 15 weeks? where is it? yeah, it is in the first trimester and it is when that that pregnancy can be detected. so that's part of the debate and if you remember the next case it would come before the supreme court is south dakota case, you
know, we we'd been watching the dobbs case in south dakota recognizing it could overturn row, but we believed that if it did not the next case that the supreme court would hear would be planned parenthood versus nome and it's a decision on informed consent case that now i believe planned parenthood is asking to be dismissed because of the decision that we've seen come down and roby weight. so is this a centrally a heartbeat bill another words once a heartbeat has been detected and there is a viable pregnancy that that's when the prohibition kicks in. we actually had a debate this year on doing a heartbeat bill much like texas, that would have put it in place whether or not row was overturned or not. it was interesting to me because we had some division among republicans this year about that many republicans in the legislature did not want to bring a heartbeat bill because they felt it would jeopardize our supreme court case. they didn't want planned
parenthood to completely pull out of the state because they felt like that would undermine the case that we would have that may overturn role. i wanted to introduce the bill brought it forward in the legislature refused to accept it, but my belief is is that that is what the debate should be is around when you can detect that heartbeat that that is we know a human being in a life and that that is when the protection would kick in. okay and governor, i don't mean to belabor this but just can you help define for me a little bit better? where in the first trimester is abortion still legal and at what point in that first trimester, does it become illeg? yes, it is when that pregnancy is determined between the woman and the doctor when there's notification there. so abortions are are illegal as of today except to save the case of the life of the mother. okay, and in response to criticism often from democrats, but not only democrats that south dakota law does not allow exceptions in cases of rape and
--. how do you respond to that? you know, i think that'll continue to be a debate. i think there's people here in south dakota that are continuing to talk about that for me personally, you know, it's it's a difficult conversation because i know that this tragic situation that happens to women is horrific and i can't even imagine. i've never had to go through anything like that. so i've just never believed that a tragedy should be followed up by another tragedy and we know from science and and technology over the years the last 10 to 15 years that this is a life there. this is a baby in the womb that it does feel pain at a certain point and we also know that when doctors do procedures on these babies in the womb that they are defined as patients that they have patience rights, and it's very difficult to say, this is a patient that has rights and not say that it is a human life at the same time. so an intelligent conversation on what every life is precious
means i think is something the public will continue to debate when they see what these laws look like from state to state. would you like to see congress where you once served past legislation banning abortion nationally? i think it's appropriate right now that the discussion happens at the state level. that's really what the constitution defines as the responsibility of the state. so i'm thankful for the supreme court decision that said this would be debated amongst a government close to the people instead of at the federal level. in in not my first rodeo lessons from the heartland you recount a story that all his sticks with me when i'm telling the story for whatever reason about the republican majority elected in 2010 and sort of the the leadership difficulties speaker. john boehner majority leader, eric cantor and their team had in coralling this new what was then a new tea party majority in telling these stories.
sometimes i think is informative for people when they're looking at republicans in congress now and sometimes the difficulty they have unifying what it was surprised me into some degree, although it makes sense that you would not want an agriculture bill messed with given. how important this is south dakota was that you had a colleague and you talk about this in not my first rodeo that wanted to put work requirements for food stamps into the agriculture bill and this is where these things are dealt with. and while you felt that that may have been worthy you referred to it as a poison pill and you really worked over leadership hard not to bend on this and to get the agriculture bill through and that struck me. is that as conservative as you are on policy. there's this pragmatic side to how you govern i think sometimes you've been criticized for that from the right talk about what that experience was like and how it is sort of informed your policymaking style. well, i think it's good to
understand first of all that i view food policy as a national security issue when in other country grows our food for us that that's when they control us. so america is always embraced a safe food policy and also affordable one. it's important to us that every family in this country can afford to go to a grocery store and buy what they need to feed their families and that's one of the reasons you have a farm bill. it's a safety net program. i tell people all the time farmers go to the bank they borrow money and they put in the dirt and they hope that months later the rain will have fallen the sun will have shine and they can pick up something to go pay their bills. you can make an okay living for 20 years being a farmer you can have one bad year and lose everything and so that safety net is incredibly important. it's always been a bipartisan bill that changed dramatically in the next farm bill that happened after 2010 and you know, we when we make these policy discussions especially in washington dc, there's no bill. that's perfect ever. i wish there was but you're never going to everybody happy
and this farm bill was incredibly important that we keep enough votes to get it pushed forward through the house to keep that safety net in place so that we didn't have china controlling our food supply. we didn't have other countries growing it for us and having us reliant on those imports and it was a very very good responsible bill the problem was as we know that work requirements on food stamps was going to cause a lot of the democrats to bail they weren't going to support the bill if that was included we had several other bills that were coming that could have had that debate could have been attached to it could have been a bill on its own but instead the leadership team decided to allow an amendment on the farm bill that they actually air cantor spoke to knowing it was a poison pill that it would kill the farm bill and did it anyways, which i felt like was not what leadership was leadership is recognizing that you represent a caucus and members that have priorities and you lead team by
doing that he let a lot of his team down and i let him know it was a bit of a battle and i would say at the end of the day. we got a farm bill passed and you know, but but being a not being a team at important times on important policy has cost republicans the ability to govern and the ability to really address the big challenges that we have in this country as far as debt and spending and and even national security issues and and i talk about that experience quite a bit because i think people need to understand where their food comes from why it's important. we have farmers here in this country, but also that when it's important, i will challenge leaders even if i'm just the only member of the house from my state fighting alone and nobody's with me that i will stand up in and push because if it's important and if it matters then it's worth it. the book is what i win the book is one discussion. yeah. the book is lessons from the heartland. excuse me. the book is not my first rodeo lessons from the heartland. knew i was going to do that
eventually the author is governor christine. ohm of south dakota a republican governor noam. i think the reason that story jumped out at me is because in looking at the tea party era, i've i believe and i've talked to other republicans about this colleagues of years former colleagues of yours that felt that they had a chance even with barack obama in the white house to move conservative policy forward. however, slowly however, sometimes frustratingly small, but because not there were too many in the group that wanted more that didn't want to compromise on what they felt were principles the whole thing came crashing down and i'm wondering if that would be instructive for the next republican majority if you can get some movement even with joe biden in the white house take it and that's what i sort of felt like you were saying with this story and not my first rodeo. am i misinterpreting what you were talking about? no, i think that that's a very good lesson to have. it's also, you know, incredibly
important that leaders lay out the full plan. you know that the members have a confidence of where you're going as well. they might be willing to support a bill like that. that didn't have everything in it if they knew it would be addressed and could trust that it was going to be addressed into the future and i think that's where we fall down in the past as republicans is not having a strategic plan showing people where we are going to make a big difference far into the future and so in this day and age what gives people results is blow each other up vote know all day and nothing changes and i think that's unfortunate because it's not us that we'll pay the price for that dramatically. it'll be our children and our grandchildren and what we're doing today in this country isn't sustainable. it's just not and the way we demonize each other and talk about each other is is destructive. i think to our republic, you know, we words have consequences and the division that we have does not facilitate debate and conversation and better. policy and and we've got to have leaders that step forward and
help make that happen so that we end up in a place where we're still have a country that our founders envisioned. i think a lot of americans outside of south dakota. probably first heard your name during the coronavirus pandemic. where were you and what were you involved in when you first heard of covid-19 and realize that you were dealing with a crisis? well, i was running my state and making decisions, of course all of 2019. we were dealing with flooding in south dakota. we had been hit with a bomb cyclone that had caused a federal disaster in 63 of my 66 counties. so i had spent all of 2019 responding to emergencies helping families and businesses and towns get patched back together facilitating fema assistance. i was certain that 2020 was going to be so much better and that we would actually get back to you know, just normal government operations. so when i started to hear about this virus at the end of 2019, i
wondered if it would ever really come to the united states. would it be what they were saying it was going to be we got into january i set up an emergency operations center starting to prepare for it doing research assessing what we had for supplies and what we could do to address it. we got our first cases in march, march 10th. and you know started to work our way through really what the state government could do to help facilitate keeping people healthy, but also giving them flexibility to get through it together. so, you know, we are we're in legislative session most of january and february and we're continuing to fill in legislators on this as well and bring people to the table to figure out how to care for people. what were your thoughts when president trump at the very beginning of the pandemic announced or recommended to the country a two-week shutdown two weeks? i think the message was two weeks to slow the spread and your initial. what were your initial thoughts on that recommendation?
well, you know i thought for our state that we would try to do that. i recommended that people do that did not mandate it but also the health experts were telling us that we could have over. around 300,000 people in our state die from this virus and so i held press conferences told them. this is what we were hearing. this is what president trump was asking us to do and encourage them to do so and i think most of the people in the state listened, you know, they went out for essentials and did what they needed to do went to work but most of the time they tried to not gather and not do things that that would happen and they didn't want to overwhelm our hospital systems. so, you know, but beyond that for me always the discussion was how long is this sustainable and what my recommendations were going to be to people was going to be on in reality? how long can they continue to have this kind of action and conduct and and exist. how are we going to keep our our kids educated and keep our
businesses open? so, you know, we in april announced that listen we're gonna go back to normal, you know, we we've kind of modified our activities in the state not by mandating but by recommending and that we are encouraging people to be smart to still wash their hands and and you know, socially distance when possible and to not be in large gatherings, but that we were going to be go back to normal because it was the right thing to do you write a lot about your coronavir. strategy in not my first rodeo lessons from the heartland when you decided to make the shift back to a normal footing did you? did you know that it was the right thing to do did it see? what was it was simply a matter of balancing risks to the economy as in addition to health risks and how sure were you that it was going to turn out? okay. i mean i think in retrospect. you know we can look at what happened in south dakota and what happened in some of the
states that had more long-term stringent lockdowns and say that's south dakota did okay, although there is obviously a lot of debate around that but at the time that you and obviously as you've spoken about this over the past couple of years and as you write about in not my first rodeo, it's clear you're you have no regrets about the policy shift, but at the time you made the shift, how much angst did you have about it if any and did you know for a fact that it was going to work? well, we never in south dakota talked about cases that much what we focused on was hospital capacity. so all indications of what we recommended was focused on that and preparing, you know, search hospitals and working with our national guard and with our administrators to make sure we could take care of people who should need care if they got sick. so that was really you know, what kept things in perspective for us. we knew it was a virus. we knew people would catch it.
we needed to really focus on those who would get sick what we could do to help them get through it and get healthy again. so, you know, i i knew it was the right thing to do at the time. i also knew it was gonna get highly criticized and it did by not just liberals but by conservatives and and by my supporters and and people you know, that that felt like they saw other governors doing different things and then i should just fall in line, but i did not know how how we would be impacted but i also knew that what my authority was what it wasn't and that people in my state needed to have the ability to go forward and to take care of their families the way they saw fit making the best decisions with the information that we could share with them. so it was incredible with south dakota was doing they were they were doing wonderful things to take care of the vulnerable population and we knew we'd get through it together. governor christie, nome of south dakota, is the author the book
and then welcome. thank you for joining us today for the july installment of the and lecture series on the topic of herbert hoover versus the great depression. my is noah gould and i manage alumni and student programs here at the acton institute. i would like to thank our generous donors as well as all who make events like these possible. the format of this event will be a 30 minute lecture followed by a q&a this event is being recorded and streamed live, so please wait for the microphone to be passed you for your question. it is my privilege today to introduce dr. george nash. dr. nash was born in