"The number one thing of course, is freedom to work and freedom that has to do with farms and ranches–the agricultural way of life is a big deal." says Rep. Mike Derby. [Please click on the photo above to view the video on NewsCenter1.tv.]
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Gov. Kristi Noem delivered her State of the State address to lawmakers in Pierre ahead of this year's legislative session, highlighting growth in the state and focusing heavily on workforce development.
“We would not be where we are today experiencing the growth that we have been experiencing the last several years," Noem said. "If we had not figured out a way to keep our momentum of our success going.”
Highlighting her “Freedom Works Here” campaign, Gov. Noem placed a heavy emphasis on the state labor force. Adding that South Dakota's conservative principles are an example and a draw for people nationwide, with around 10,000 new employees added among positions across the state in the last year.
"The number one thing, of course, is freedom to work. That has been her top topic with the advertising she's been running," District 34 Representative Mike Derby said. "And freedom especially, has that has to do with farms and ranches, the agriculture culture – that way of life is a big deal.”
District 32 Senator and Majority Whip Helene Duhamel says with a growth in population comes the need to provide services and support for working families.
"We have got to think about how we are going to make sure that all these people we invite here to work who maybe aren't moving with their support system and grandma have childcare affordable housing, a great education for their children, water for this growing community," Duhamel said. "We have a lot of needs just associated with the workforce. And I know that's the policy side of it, but those are the things I think as a legislature, we are going to really pick up on and run with.”
In her remarks, Noem also highlighted the need for increases to teacher salaries and advances in telemedicine, especially in rural communities. She also announced efforts to establish a healthy quality of life for children and mothers in a child’s first two years of life.
The governor says she is carrying the growing momentum forward into the new session.
"I will continue to challenge the status quo," Noem stated. "I will continue to push for innovation. I will look for out of box solutions. Be prepared.”
Legislators are set to begin working on Thursday, and the session wraps up in early March. To view the State of the State address in it's entirety, click here.