HURON — Just a few weeks after her re-election to Congress, Kristi Noem said Thursday it’s too early for her to be making a decision about her political future.
Questions about her 2014 plans came Thursday during Noem’s weekly conference call after former Gov. Mike Rounds announced his intention to run for the seat currently held by Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D.
Rounds is back in the private sector after serving as governor from 2003 to 2010. Before that he was in the state Senate for 10 years.
Johnson released a statement welcoming Rounds, whom he calls a friend, to the race.
“As in past campaigns, I will make my formal announcement later next year,” Johnson said. “But I feel great, still have work to do, and I fully intend to put together a winning campaign in the weeks and months ahead.”
If Noem decides to run for the Senate, it would set up a Republican primary race with Rounds.
With her recent re-election victory, she said she’s not ready to think about running for a third term in the House or whether she’ll try for the Senate.
“You know I can’t speculate on that today,” Noem said when asked when a decision would come.
“That election is almost two years away,” she said. “My focus is on doing my job well.”
Major issues that have yet to be resolved include the looming fiscal cliff, passage of a new five-year farm bill and extension of the production tax credits sought by the wind industry.
Deep spending cuts coupled with tax increases could send the country back into a recession, she said.
Democrats and Republicans are committed to averting the so-called fiscal cliff, but Noem and her fellow Republicans say President Obama has yet to provide his own blueprint.
“I have been very clear I oppose increasing tax rates,” Noem said. “I’ve said that for months and it’s something I’m going to continue to promote.”
She said new revenues could be achieved through reforms to the tax code and the closing of loopholes. She voted for a House Republican budget that closed loopholes and simplified the system.
“He’s (Obama) got to come as the leader of this country with a plan and he simply hasn’t done that,” she said.
On Wednesday, South Dakota’s senators offered their views on the fiscal cliff as returned to work from the long election break and later the Thanksgiving holiday recess.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said the president has failed to offer meaningful proposals to create jobs and boost the economy, and added that fiscal solvency is not possible without addressing entitlement programs. He hopes for give and take between the political parties as the clock ticks toward the end of the year.
Johnson supports a balanced approach, combining common-sense cuts to spending with increased revenue by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay more taxes.
Noem wants to see the farm bill reauthorized for another five years, but said preparations are under way for a temporary extension.
It could be wrapped up in a fiscal cliff agreement, she said. There have been discussions that a farm bill could be a savings mechanism for the fiscal cliff as part of a larger agreement, but she said she doesn’t know if that will happen.
Action is needed because South Dakota producers need certainty and confidence as they make decisions on spring planting, she said.For the complete article see the 11-30-2012 issue.
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