Her Deal: Two years ago, Noem was a political novice newly elected to her state's Legislature. Today, she's a mediadarling newly elected to Congress and a member of the incoming Republican House leadership in the newly createdposition of liaison. News media have nicknamed her the "Palin of the Plains": She's attractive, fashionable, feisty, amother of three - and she hunts, too.
Why She's A Rising Star: Because she raised more money than her incumbent opponent (an uncommon feat),including collecting more than twice as much from individual donors. That ability will quickly ingratiate her withHouse colleagues looking to fill their re-election coffers. And because she's actually not Palin, already having shownskill at sticking to the conservative policy message and enough smarts to maintain distance from the Tea Partymovement and Palin herself.
Why You Should Care: She, along with co-liaison Tim Scott of South Carolina, will be the most powerful freshmanmembers. Hers is likely to be the face of the Republican Party's broader strategy for connecting with women andyounger voters for years to come (if she keeps winning elections). As the state's lone representative, in an at-largeseat, she already holds statewide name recognition that takes others years to build, providing her an advantage for afuture bid for the Senate or governor.
Kristi Noem takes U.S. House oath
Family, friends join in celebration
LEDYARD KINGGannett Washington BureauJanuary 6, 2011
WASHINGTON - Corinne Arnold sat Wednesday in the visitor's gallery overlooking the House floor where herdaughter, Republican Kristi Noem, waited to be sworn in as South Dakota's newest member of Congress. And thenshe thought about how far Noem had come and how much it would have pleased her late husband, Ron.
"It's hard to believe. I'm so proud of her. I know she'll do well," Arnold said a little later as a throng of well-wishersspilled out of Noem's Capitol Hill office. "She's like her dad. She never gives up."
Noem was part of a historic freshmen class that won victory in November, helping to recapture the House fromDemocrats. She unseated Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who had been in office since 2004.
South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune also was sworn in to a second six-year term Wednesday, though withless fanfare, largely because he was re-elected in November without any major-party opposition. He stopped byNoem's office to congratulate her.
Even before being sworn in, Noem made a splash in Washington. In November, she was named one of twofreshmen to serve on the House leadership team with newly installed House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Lastmonth, she gave the nationally broadcast weekly Republican address to the nation. And she often is mentioned in thenational media as a rising GOP star.
But Wednesday was about sharing an important moment with her family: husband Bryon, daughters Kassidy andKennedy and son Booker.
Source: Sunlight Foundation's Party Time www.politicalpartytime.org. The Sunlight Foundation collects these invitations from anonymous lobbyist sources.