Gov. Kristi Noem has broken the law and will continue to do so if she is reelected.
In 2006, when I was in the Legislature, South Dakotans overwhelmingly supported a ballot measure that the state airplane fleet could only be used for state business. It passed 55.36% to 44.64%.
Noem claims that she was “South Dakota’s ambassador,” so wherever she went, it was state business! There is no position of “ambassador” in the South Dakota Constitution!
South Dakota is a very big state, so it is appropriate to have a state aircraft for in-state travel — certainly not an incredibly luxurious, corporate-type plane, not junkets all over the United States for political purposes. She spent more than $900,000 more than what was appropriate for the most luxurious corporate aircraft.
Many local media outlets have reviewed and reported on the state plane travel logs.
I have looked at them too. It appears 2019 was an extremely busy year for our governor (seen traveling on the state plane in a file photo from ABC News) with her out-of-state travel. Attending events hosted by the National Rifle Association, Turning Points USA, and trips to Las Vegas, Aspen, Boca Raton and Kentucky.
All of these trips would seem political in nature, and for self-promotion, and would violate the law passed in 2006. She highlighted these trips on her social media accounts for those of us back home to watch at the time, and the national press covered her whereabouts, too.
She suggested to the press that the state plane won’t be used for an upcoming, out-of-state political junket. We all know that she is untruthful.
The disregard for the law and Noem’s personal and political use of the state airplane doesn’t just end with out-of-state political trips. She doubled down on all of us, right under our noses. She used the plane to travel to her daughter’s wedding, picking up family members and a friend along the way.
Who does she think she is? And more importantly, who does she think we are?
South Dakotans have historically honored the dictum, “If you deceive us once you are foolish, if you deceive us twice — WE are foolish!!”
Stan Adelstein of Rapid City is a former Republican state representative and state senator.