Congratulations to Rep. Kristi Noem on becoming South Dakota’s first woman governor. The young women of this state can now more easily see their own paths to the state’s highest office. Everyone benefits when each of us stretches our aspirations.
Congratulations are also due to the winning team of state Republicans. Prosperity is the shared goal of Republicans and Democrats alike, even if they disagree on the formulas. Voters have selected from the competing strategies, and we should all hope the winning vision yields success.
Serious obstacles were waiting regardless of who won. Agriculture struggles. Soybeans planted with the intentions of feeding Chinese hogs and chickens now pile up outside of grain bins. We hope Gov. Noem can help convince President Trump to speedily achieve the best possible settlement and put an end to this trade war with China.
Methamphetamine, meanwhile, continues to fill our costly but necessary state prisons. We’d like to hear more about how the new governor and incoming Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg can reverse this trend, protecting citizens and saving lives while also saving dollars.
During her campaign, Noem stressed the necessity of filling a big hole in mental health services. She noted that untreated mental health problems have crowded our jails, increased homelessness and ruined lives. The need is especially acute West River. While it may be difficult to find funds for a West River mental health hospital, perhaps there’s a creative interim solution that better meets patient needs without vastly increasing costs.
The deepening political divide in Washington, meanwhile, will leave South Dakota increasingly to its own devices. Let’s hope there is a sane path forward to agreements on a new farm bill and infrastructure financing. Our farmers need help, and so do our roads and bridges.
Dusty Johnson, incoming delegate to the U.S. House, has undoubtedly begun reading the Senate version of the farm bill. The House version he read over the summer faded with the House Republican majority. South Dakota farmers will need certainty when they begin preparing for next spring. Johnson will need every ounce of his considerable energy, likability and pragmatism to achieve maximum wins for state farmers.
Meanwhile, the defeat of IM 25, the tobacco tax proposed to fund technical schools, won’t make it easy to create the skilled workforce our state businesses demand. The Journal opposed the tax, mostly because it added a financial burden on people whose addictions already cause them to struggle with bills. To ensure a bright future for our children, we must somehow limit the rising costs of tuition for all post-secondary education. Noem has proposed advancing private-public partnerships to help build our skilled workforce. We’re hoping businesses around the state stand ready to lend assistance and expertise.
The quicker we can move past the divisiveness of the recent campaigns the better. The more optimism we can maintain, the more likely we will succeed. There’s too much at stake. The problems are hard. Success will require contributions and encouragement from everyone.