When the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association convenes its 121st annual convention and trade show this weekend, at least one invited guest will not make an appearance.

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., declined an invitation to speak along with her Democratic opponent, Matt Varilek, at a candidates forum scheduled for noon Saturday in Rapid City, Stockgrowers executive director Silvia Christen said Wednesday.

“It’s very disappointing that in a Farm Bill year, especially with the drought conditions that we’re having, that our sitting congresswoman isn’t able to come to answer questions directly from producers,” Christen said.

Noem is being challenged by Varilek for South Dakota's lone Congressional seat in the Nov. 6 election. Christen said Saturday's event is not intended to be a debate.

“The intention was to have both candidates there to talk about what their plans are and what their work is and then to answer questions from our members. It wasn’t a debate,” she said. “We were really hoping to have a discussion and some dialog about what’s going on in Washington, D.C., and what our producers need from their representative.

Noem attended the convention two years ago, when she was seeking her first term in Congress. Her opponent and the incumbent at the time, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, did not attend the convention.

Varilek has accepted the invitation to speak to the Stockgrowers at the Rural Heritage luncheon at noon Saturday. The invitation is still open to Noem if she wants to come, Christen said.

The public is welcome to attend any of the convention’s sessions, Christen said.

Noem and Varilek have agreed to meet in an Oct. 12 debate at the University Center in Rapid City. The debate, which is the only one scheduled for western South Dakota, is sponsored by the Rapid City Journal.

Contact Andrea Cook at 394-8423 or andrea.cook@rapidcityjournal.com

(23) comments


I have sent questions to the Noem office email. I received a generic thank you with no reply. It appears her goal was to get the office and hang on as long as she could. Get the perks and ignore the people. As a rep, with a two year election cycle, I doubt she has the job very long. Another ineffective want to be lawmaker. Any person involved in agriculture needs to go to the poll and send her home. Oh wait, she does not want to come home and does not want to attend the required meetings in Washington. Where is she and what does she want to do?????


Bobbie, we aren't talking about Obama. We are talking about NOem. She doesn't have any of her bigshot Washington buddies to hide behind in Rapid City.


And the left spew their talking points again. I guess if you want to talk about someone not doing their job you would also have to bring up Obama our Campaigner in Chief. But I'm sure to you leftist he is a special case. November 6th can not come soon enough when Obama and a lot of the other democrats will have to hit the college speaking circuit for income.


Too busy making commercials and riding around on her horse to show up???


Anyone ever tried to communicate with Kristi??? A reply will come vie e mail with nothing but Tea Party talking points. She represents her political benefactors and no one else.


That's very true, Notnek. Neither her nor her staff will actually communicate with constituents. You know, us unimportant little people who actually pay her very generous salary and perks. If my husband or I were to treat the people who sign our paychecks the way she treats the vast majority of the people of this state, we'd be out of a job in no time and rightfully so. But we don't matter to her unless we have deep pockets and completely agree with her, or rather, what her benefactors and her party agrees with. I don't even think she comes up with her own positions, she's told what to say and how to vote. Our last congressional rep was inconsiderate and dumb enough not to attend the stockgrowers convention during the election and she lost. Coincidence? I sure hope not!


looks like another liberal infested site not really commenting on the nitty gritty of the issues..bye bye


As long as she fears livestock producers, which are the life blood of our part of the state, I think that Ms. NOem should bring her bestest pal, Paul Ryan to the debate in Rapid City. That way, not only could the ranchers have a go at her, but also the 47% elderly, veterans and disabled could ask her why she voted for his bill 3 times to kill Medicare and Medicaid. She may primp and purr but when it comes down to the anger that people honestly have for her, she is toast and will bow out. The Rapid City Journal should bring in Clint Eastwood as they will only find an empty chair to debate Matt.


Love it!


Well from the calendars I have seen the US House isn't even in session from September 20th until October 1st That is plenty of time to come back to the State you represent and face your Constituents questions about what you are accomplishing in DC. Why won't you come back and speak to your Constituents Kristi?? Sorry let me rephrase that; Why won't you come and talk to your WEST RIVER Constituents, Kristi? One debate to cover the whole West River part of the state?? I really wish SD could get a second congressman and split the districts along the Missouri River so us West River folk could actually get proper representation in the US House.


Well, she isn't that much better here in East River, either, I assure you; we've also hardly seen her. The one town hall she had in Sioux Falls she scheduled only after she got intense pressure for not having anything scheduled at all hardly anywhere. She showed up here at our annual, well-known Labor Day Parade, but avoided anyone with any real questions, her handlers swooped right in to protect her from anyone who wasn't fawning over her. Given the predominance of farmers and ranchers here, there weren't too many of those supporters, frankly. I think she's insulated by her handlers and doesn't recognize the extent of dissatisfaction with her in this state. She doesn't respond when you contact her office, unless you're a deep pocket supporter, and isn't interested in constituent contact if she actually has to think for it. I'd like to have a job where I get five straight weeks off every year and get paid a six-figure salary with almost-free health care, retirement and other major, cushy perks, yet can mess over and ignore the very people who are paying for it.


Hopefully the reason is because there's a legislative committee hearing that she doesn't want to miss for once.


I would like to know if it's the Ramkota in Rapid City or Sioux Falls? Kristi does need to get out and talk to her constituents, across the state, not just southeastern SD.


Good luck with that. She apparently has never realized that she represents ALL of us in the ENTIRE state. She's too afraid to face more than half of her constituents because, unless an event is scripted, she has no idea how to handle actual questions where she has to give a real answer other than her stock fallback Boehner talking points. Unless you agree with her and her positions, she has no use for you and will never bother responding to you at all.


reminds me of Herseth-Sandlinin


kind of reminds me of Stephanie - if you didn't agree with her, which I didn't forget about hearing from her.


no where in this article does it say why she refused - how many of you called her office to find out why? Maybe, just maybe she has a valid reason - stop being such haters.


blah, blah, blah. Do any of you people actually read these articles. Rep. Noem is at the mercy of the division with both the Democratic and Republican leaders. Another fact is Rep. Noem obviously can not attend every invitation she is offered. It's clear and evident as Rep. Herseth could not as well when she was in office. As for the tax returns? Go to a Gov. website that has all the House members salaries listed and you'll have your answer, including Democratic members.


Sorry a listing of one' salary does not even come close to disclosing what a tax return does. Need proof, just ask romney!

Potatoes Browning

I think the problem with Krissy is that she really doesn't have anything to say. Her Tea Bagger buddied have pretty much derailed the Farm Bill and that should be her focus. She either needs to stand with them or stand with us....looks like she knows what side the butter comes from.


I along with others want to see those tax returns Kristi. We also have some questions we would like to ask. Your office won't answer our questions. We thought may be you would.


So I guess no showing up is a forecast of the coming election? If so called "leaders" are afraid of their constituents they really ought to not be in public office.


I like Kristi Noem, she is an excellent speaker, very knowledgable and i think hard working but it sure seems like she is trying to lose this election. i certainly hope not but?.

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