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CPAC: Gov. Noem touts South Dakota policy successes, says residents happier because they're 'free'

"We are one of the few states whose suicide rates and mental health challenges are going down," Noem said.

Published: February 23, 2024 2:34pm

Updated: February 23, 2024 2:45pm

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem on Friday touted her state's recent policy successes and said residents as a result are more content and happy because they are "free."

"We are one of the few states whose suicide rates and mental-health challenges are going down," Noem said at the annual CPAC event outside of Washington, D.C., in suburban Maryland.

Noem said successes under her administration include keeping much of the state running the during the COVID-19 pandemic, passing large tax cuts, eliminating fees for concealed carry permits and high-speed internet across South Dakota.

"What does all this say?" Noem asked. "This says that our people are happier, and they're happier because they're free. Leadership matters."

She then went on to criticize President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for their lack of leadership, saying they "suck."

Noem became a rising star in the GOP during 2020 as the only governor who did not shut her state down during COVID-19. She is also on the short list to become vice president for likely 2024 GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. 

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