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WATCH: GOP Gov: I Will Not Shut Down My State, Following ‘Herd Mentality’ Not ‘Leadership’
Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S. Dak., listens during the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on President Trumps budget proposals for fiscal year 2018 on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Republican South Dakota governor Kristi Noem has refused to implement a lockdown order for her entire state, despite intense national media pressure.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Noem underscored the importance of federalism and rejected the “one-size-fits-all” approach pushed in the mainstream.

“Our constitution ensures that the citizen’s right is protected,” Noem told reporters Wednesday. “I agree with the role of our government as set forth in our state and in our national constitution. I took an oath to uphold these constitutions.”

“My role with respect to public safety is something I take very seriously,” the Republican continued. “The people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety. They are the ones that are entrusted with expansive freedoms – they are free to exercise their rights to work, worship, and play – or to stay at home, or to conduct social distancing.”

“The calls to apply a one-size-fits all approach to this problem in South Dakota is herd mentality, not leadership,” Noem stated.

The nation’s coronavirus hotspot is in New York City, where the entire state of New York has 130,689 active cases and thus far 4,758 coronavirus associated fatalities.

In South Dakota, where the population density and variables like mass transit heavily vary, there are only 288 active COVID-19 cases and four fatalities associated with the virus.

“My responsibility is to respect the rights of the people who elected me, and to manage our state operations in a way that reflects the realities of what we have here on the ground here,” continued Noem. “On the foundation of my principles, commonsense conservative values, and the principles we hold dear in America, the facts, the science, and the data will guide our decision-making here in South Dakota.”

While refusing a statewide lockdown, Noem has consistently pushed social distancing practices and good hygiene to the citizens of South Dakota since February. “Other than a select few, the work that the people of South Dakota have been doing has been tremendous and has been incredibly effective. We have been able to bend the curve a great deal,” the governor said.

The science tells us we cannot “stop” the virus, explained Noem, “but what we’re trying to do is to slow the spread, we’re trying to flatten the curve, and we’re trying to make sure that our people and our healthcare system is not overwhelmed.”

According to Sioux Falls Argus Leader, “More than 30 states across the country have issued a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order since the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus began.” South Dakota is not the only holdout, however; North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas have rejected blanket statewide stay-at-home orders, as well.

The economic impact of the near-national shutdown has resulted in at least 10 million Americans losing their jobs, a number expected to continue to soar.

According to, “Bank of America is forecasting a 35%+ GDP fall for the YEAR, not just Q2. The bank thinks the Coronavirus downturn is so bad that the U.S. economy will shrink 7% in Q1, 30% in Q2, and 1% in Q3, a cumulative 35.55% for the year. The downturn would be the worst to ever strike the US.”


Related: Rush Limbaugh: Shutdown Unsustainable; It’s Not ‘Lives Versus Money,’ It’s ‘Lives Versus Lives’

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