tv Gov. Kristi Noem R-SD at CPAC Day 2 CSPAN February 27, 2021 8:39pm-9:07pm EST
[applause] you all look wonderful. it is such an honor to be with all of you here today. my guess is that, a year ago, most of you had no idea who i was. [laughter] but unlike the d.c. media, i'm sure you all at least know there are two dakotas, and i'm the governor of the warmer one. i am here today to share some of the lessons from my state. the main question that needs to be answered this weekend is, why does america need conservatives? the question of why america needs conservatives can be answered by just mentioning one single year. and that year is 2020. now, everybody knows that almost overnight we went from a roaring , economy to a tragic,
nationwide shut down. by the beginning of 2020, president trump had created 7 million new american jobs. [applause] we had the lowest unemployment rate in over half a century and unemployment rates for lax and hispanics and asian americans reach the lowest levels in -- lowest rates -- -- and unemployment rates for blacks and hispanics and asian americans reached the lowest levels in history. more than 10 million people had been lifted out of poverty and out of welfare and all of that changed in march. lots of governors shut down their states. what followed was record unemployment, business is closed, most schools were shuttered and committees suffered. the u.s. economy came to an immediate halt. let me be clear -- covid did not crash the economy. government crushed the economy. [applause] and then just as quickly, , government turned around and
held itself out as the savior. and frankly the treasury department can't print money fast enough to keep up with congress's wish list. but not everyone has followed this path. for those of you don't know, south dakota is the only state in america that never ordered a single business or church to close. [applause] we never instituted a shelter-in-place order. we never mandated that people wear masks. [applause] we never even defined what an essential business is, because i don't believe governors have the
authority to tell you that your business isn't essential. [applause] now south dakota schools are no , different than schools everywhere else in america, but we approached the pandemic differently. from the earliest days of the pandemic, our priority was the students, their well-being and their education. when it's time to go back to school in the fall, we put our kids in the classroom. teachers, administrators, parents and the students themselves were of one mind -- to make things work for our children. and the best way to do that was in the classroom. [applause] now, in south dakota, i provided all the information we had to our people. and then i trusted them to make , the best decisions for themselves, for their families and their communities. we never focused on the case numbers. instead, we kept our eye on hospital capacity. dr. fauci told me that on my
worst day, i would have 10,000 patients in the hospitals. on our worst day, we had a little over 600. [applause] i don't know if you agree with me, but dr. fauci is wrong a lot. [cheering and applause] even in a pandemic, public health policy needs to take into account people's economic and social well-being. daily needs still need to be met. people need to keep a roof over their head. they need to feed their families. and they still need purpose. they need their dignity. my administration resisted the call for virus control at the expense of everything else. we looked at the science, the
data and the facts and then we took a balanced approach. truthfully, i never thought the decisions i was making were going to be unique. i thought there would be more who would follow basic conservative principles, but i guess i was wrong. ask yourself this question -- how far will people go to enforce mask mandates? once you start lockdowns, how long can you sustain them? in south dakota, we had some cases in march and april, but the virus didn't really hit the midwest until late fall. should we have kept people in their homes from march onward? of course not. it's important to ask these questions. we have to show people how arbitrary these restrictions are , and the coercion, force and anti-liberty steps governments take to enforce them. often, the enforcement is not based on facts. justifying these mitigation efforts has been anything but scientific. many in the media, they
criticized south dakota's approach. they labeled me as ill-informed, that i was reckless, and even a denier. some even claimed south dakota was as bad as it gets anywhere in the world when it comes to covid-19. that is a lie. the media -- [applause] the media did all this while simultaneously praising governors who issued lockdowns, who mandated masks and shut down businesses, applauding them as taking the right steps to mitigate the spread of the virus. at one point, i appeared on george stephanopoulos' sunday show. i don't know if you watch that. no? you don't? shocker. he just wrapped up a section with new york governor andrew cuomo, where he asked cuomo to give me some advice on how to deal with covid.
[laughter] now seems like a good time to remind everyone what governor cuomo was doing in new york. on march 25, cuomo ordered covid patients into nursing homes and he prohibited the staff from testing people before admitting them. nine days later, he pushed legislation prohibiting nursing home lawsuits over covid deaths. six days after that, he prohibited nursing homes from sending covid patients to the nearby naval hospital ships or the field hospital both of which , were essentially empty. eight days after that, the first deaths started to show up and on january 28 of this year, the new york attorney general announced cuomo and his administration significantly undercounted the number of covid related deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%. to make matters worse, they tried to cover it up.
that is the media's covid hero. and by the way, he also earned an emmy and wrote a book on his covid response. so who needed the advice? again in south dakota, we did things differently. things differently. we applied common sense and , conservative governing principles. we never exceeded our hospital capacity and our economy is booming. we have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. [applause] we are number one in the nation for keeping jobs, keeping businesses open, and keeping money in the pockets of our people. [applause] the people of south dakota kept their hours and wages at a higher rate than workers anywhere else in the nation, and our schools are open. [applause]
america needs conservatives at the state and local level, but we also need conservatives at the highest level of government. in america, we have government of, by and for the people. [applause] our founding fathers established our national constitution and the people of individual states crafted their own constitution that placed specific limits on the role of government. those limits are essential to preventing government officials from trampling on people's rights. the people themselves are primarily responsible for their own health and well-being. they are the ones entrusted with expensive freedoms, the free will to exercise their work, worship and earn a living. no governor should ever dictate to their people which activities are officially approved or not approved. [applause]
no governor should ever arrest, ticket or fine people for exercising their freedom. [applause] governors and members of congress and the president have a duty to respect the rights of the people who elected them. but it seems these days, conservatives are the only ones who know what that means. personal responsibility is considered a god-given gift in south dakota. personal responsibility is not a term that conservatives have abandoned. when i was preparing to come speak with you, i came across some fascinating remarks that were made to back in 1962. listen to this. the declaration above all else was a document not of rhetoric but a bold decision. , the declaration release not only a revolution against the
british, but a revolution in human affairs. this doctrine of national independence shook the globe, and it remains the most powerful force anywhere in the world today. that is fantastic. those are the words of democrat president john f. kennedy. [applause] is there any wonder ronald reagan often said i didn't leave the democratic party, it left me? [applause] there was a time when both political parties clung to certain fundamental principles. but today, we seem to not even sure the most basic ideals. america needs people who will stand up for these fundamental principles. america needs conservatives. it's easy to look back on 2020 and remember all the issues we had with covid. but covid is only one piece of a very problematic puzzle. it certainly showed us how deep the divide really is and how
, thin the barrier is between freedom and tyranny. but there was a worse movement happening in 2020, and it is an ongoing problem. across america these last several months, we watched an organized, coordinated campaign to remove all references to our nation's founding and activity. rather than look to our past, some are trying to wipe away the lessons of history, lessons we should be teaching our children and to our grandchildren. this approach focuses exclusively on our forefathers' flaws, and it fails to capitalize on the opportunities to learn from their virtues. and they had many of those. by discrediting the individuals who formed america's founding principles, they create doubt and then they can remake america , into a very different political image. it is our job to explain why this is wrong. remember, america wasn't founded
for the personal gain or personal power of men like washington, adams and jefferson. the signers of the declaration of independence put their lives and their sacred honor on the line and they affirmed's god-given freedoms. today, the declaration of independence he is one of the most important statements of purpose ever written, and not just that it serves as a justification for our independence to the entire world, but also because it has led to our prosperity and it has inspired many other nations and peoples to seek freedom. [applause] we the people have consented to a government that will serve all of us equally, a government that will protect and uphold our god-given rights as well as rights enumerated by, or --
a numerate did by our constitution. these ideals cannot be dismissed as the opinions of flawed men. our founders had their flaws, certainly, but to use those flaws to condemn their ideals and the greatest constitution the world has ever seen is both unjust and self-defeating. how many of us can even live up to our own ideals? without the words, beliefs and sacrifices of those few come of those few, the world would not have a ringing example of true freedom. to attempt to cancel the founding generation is an attempt to cancel our own freedoms. let's always remember, america is good. freedom is better than tyranny. we are unique. we are exceptional. and no american should ever, ever apologize for that. [applause]
we should illustrate to the world that people thrive when government is limited. when people's ingenuity and creativity is unleashed. we should also remind the world what happens when tyranny and oppression are allowed to survive. china is a nation that crushes read him of speech and religion. china literally places religious minorities into internment camps. china responded to the covid virus by trying to cover it up and one of their mitigation strategies was to weld doors shut to lock families in their homes. friends of china are not friends of freedom. make no mistake, america's
leadership is needed in the world. now, let's have a really candid conversation. everyone in this world and those at home knows america needs leaders right now. those leaders need wisdom, the confidence to stand up to our principles and a will to act. those leaders need to be conservative. we have a lot of work to do. what may have worked in the past is not good enough anymore. it is not enough to say our pocketbook will be bigger, or we will cut taxes and reduce regulations or fight abortion or obamacare or whatever else. i am not saying these things are not important, they are among the letters of what we believe, but conservatives must lead the nation away from borrowing against our children's future. we must put an end to the accounting gimmicks used to deceive people. jill biden has been in politics for 50 years. at that time, our national debt
was roughly $450 billion. today, that is pretty close to what we pay in interest on our national debt. everyone is to blame. we have forgotten principles we once held dear and we must work to articulate to the american people that we are the only ones who respect them as human beings, we are the only ones who believe the american people have god-given rights. we are not here to tell you how to live your life, how to treat her like a child or incremental because you go to church or you defend yourself. conservatives respect people as individuals. we don't divide people based on their religion, culture or the color of their skin. we don't shun people who think for themselves and we understand that every single person is different. each person deserves the opportunity to build his or her life without some self-important government bureaucrat telling them what they can or can't do.
we don't have the media on our side. conservatives must smarter than progressives. we must know our history. we must know what works and what doesn't work. we must think through the issues. and make no mistake about it, conservatives exist fight for america and for every single american. now, for those of you who are disappointed about the election, i am too. remember, incredible innovation took place after goldwater's 1964 landslide loss. it took the creation of many institutions, including the american conservative union, national right to life, heritage foundation, the manhattan institute, concerned women for america, the federalist society, the family research council and among others, many to change hearts and change minds.
institutions like these helped bring about the reagan revolution and bring american exceptionalism act. -- exceptionalism back. their work is more important today than ever before. so what can you do right now? it is very simple. you can be bold. you can show up. debate these ideas. persuade your neighbors. this pandemic illustrated many politicians have a totally different vision for government than what the founders laid out. it was said that the left takes the provisions seriously, more seriously than the right, they want to be the shepherd, but that requires us to be the sheep. let it be heard live and clear right now, we will not be sheep. [applause]
i would like to close today with the story. my dad was a cowboy. he was the toughest person i have ever known, ever since i was a real little girl, i just wanted to grow up and be like him. he died on an accident on a farm when i was 22 years old, and a couple of months after he was killed i finally got the courage to go out and clean out his pickup. all of you who have a farmer or rancher in your life, you would know they often live out of their pickups. everything important can be found in the cab, their wallet, bills to pay, tools, you name it. and if you need to find something important, every single one of us farmer's kids knows the pickup is the first place you live. as the new general manager of the business, a couple of months
after dad died, i knew that where that pickup was, what was in it, and i needed to clean it out eventually. those had also been filled with hundreds and hundreds of questions. what seeds was -- should we be planting, wood field should we plan first, what is the price we need to sell all caps for to catch some of the cattle operation, and i did not have those answers? i remember wishing over and over if i could just as dad, if i could just ask dad one more question, and frankly i was running the business, but i was merely faking my way through it. i had no idea how we were going to keep our family business going without my dad, and i was determined that we were not going to fail, so that day as i carried a box out to the pickup, i knew it was time to clean it out. i stuck my hand out into the console between the middle and the chairs and the front seat and i started to put items in the box that i was taking out, so the first thing was a pliers.
a baby roast candy bar, i remember that was his favorite, notebooks, pens, tools, and then i found a little tiny tape recorder, the kind of tape recorder or a doctor dictates into. i pushed the play button and immediately i heard my dad's voice. he was talking about seed corn varieties. which ones had performed well uncertain fields we own that went with certain types. he had spoken about and we had such a wet year that resulted in poor crop yields and damage grains. we had had a tough to harvest and he went on to describe what kind of writing traces he would have made differently, what he thought would've worked better for the spring we were anticipating i had. my eyes started to fill up with tears as i realized i was learning information that was going to be helpful for me in making crop decisions. i looked out into the console and i saw several more tapes, almost one dozen of them in all.
and one by one i put them in the tape recorder sitting in that pickup and listen to my dad's boys talk about the cows, the weather, markets, and what to do if we were ever caught in a tough financial situation. inside those states where the answers to so many of the questions that i had had over the past several months. over and over again, i had said if i could just ask dad, and here in my hands were all of the answers that i needed, straight from him in his voice in the palm of my hand. in that moment -- in that moment i felt a strange sort of peace settled over me. i know scripture talks about a piece of understanding. it was almost at that moment as if god was saying to me i will provide, stop worrying, you will be ok, your family will be ok, i have got this. i had the answers, i just needed to get to work. dad was always the hardest
worker that i knew. he lead by example and he led by action, but that they would change everything was his words. i made a decision that day to be like my dad. a person of words, but a person of action, because goals matter. that is why i ran for office. my mission is to make south dakota a better place, a better place to live, to do business, and to raise a family. one of the reasons i care so deeply about these issues it because i want these things for my family, and for every single american's family. idly south dakota has been an example to the nation this past year. people use personal responsibility to protect their families health and their way of life, while the government respected their rights and their freedom. and we -- [applause] and we are working together to create new opportunity and a
better future for our kids. we took the american path. let me close with this. as conservatives, we often forget the stories are much more powerful than facts and statistics. our stories need to be told. it is the only way that we will inspire and motivate the american people to preserve this great country. we must go into this fight for freedom with our eyes wide open. educated to the -- the liberals will use yet totally pure in our motives. this is not about us. it is about our children, and their future. it is about the nation that we are going to press on with them. it is about telling them stories over and over again, not that remind us why america needs conservatives now more than ever. so thank you for all that you do. america is blessed to have you on her side. god bless each and every one of you, and may god bless the united states of america. [applause]