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Noem becomes SD’s newest governor

January 8, 2019

PIERRE — The Inauguration celebration in Pierre Saturday welcomed in the 33rd governor and the first woman governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem.

The day began with all 35 senators and 70 representatives being sworn in. Each house held its own ceremony in its own chambers. The proceedings were open and free to the public. The Capitol was so full that it was standing room only, and some rooms had television viewing of the proceedings going on just down the hall.

Then the oath of office ceremony for the other elected state officials was held in the rotunda of the Capitol. It was emceed by Sidney Goss, professor at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The S.D. National Guard Color Guard presented the United States and South Dakota flags, and the musical group “Mogen’s Heroes” sang the national anthem. Other musical pieces were performed by the S.D. State University Chamber Choir and the Northern State University Herald Trumpets. South Dakota Supreme Court Justice Dave Gilbertson performed most of the oaths, with one being done by Associate Justice Janine Kern.

Noem was sworn in, then Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden took his oath of office. The other elected officials - the Constitutional officials - included Secretary of State Steve Barnett, Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, State Auditor Rich Sattgast, State Treasurer Josh Haeder, Commissioner of School and Public Lands Ryan Brunner, and Public Utilities Commissioner Kristie Fiegen.

Noem was officially introduced to the audience by Pastors Steve and Kathryn Ferguson, Watertown. They compared Noem to the Biblical character of Esther, who used her influential position in the government to better her people.

Noem began her speech with, “The oath that I just took is a promise and a commitment.”

She continued, “On my first day in this high office, I ask for your prayers. Keep praying. A good way to live is for one to consider what they want said at their own funeral and work backward from there … to that end, when this is all over, I want to be a governor for the next generation … for our kids, teenagers and young adults.” Noem referenced that last Nov. 5 was the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, and the next day, Nov. 6, Noem won the election to be South Dakota’s first woman governor. Noem said to all the state’s girls and young women, and boys and young men, to “find role models, find mentors, and go for it.”

The receiving line, where guests could personally greet Noem and Rhoden and the others, was packed. It was so crowded that, because Noem and the others had to prepare for the scheduled balls, they walked through the remaining line to greet the people, rather than the other way around.

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