VIDEO: Governor Kristi Noem Talks COVID-19, Liability Protections with W4W Members

May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020

Olivia Perez-Cubas
[email protected]

Noem joins W4W members as this week’s”Modern-Day Rosie,” an initiative recognizing contributions of conservative women during COVID-19

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem participated in a new Winning For Women (W4W) initiative that recognizes the leadership and efforts of conservative women during the COVID-19 crisis. Noem answered questions submitted by W4W members in a live policy discussion moderated by American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) CEO Lisa Nelson.

Noemdiscussed South Dakota’s response to COVID-19, liability protections, and drug testing in her state. Watch the full discussion here.

This initiative is a modern-day twist on Rosie the Riveter, an iconic image that first became popular during World War II and served as a symbol of women who stepped up to lead when our country needed them most.Each week, W4W will recognize a new woman as its “Modern-Day Rosie.”

Partial transcripts of the discussion are below:

Q: How important is the issue of liability? Are there fears associated with some small businesses around not knowing what might happen? Or are the South Dakotans prepared to take this on and willing to move forward?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I would say it’s a concern, and we are hopeful that Congress will address it because we haven’t been in a situation like a pandemic for many, many years like this. And so it is something that people are concerned about, and hoping that there will be some sort of legislation that will come forward that will give them some more comfort.

I would say the people of South Dakota are not holding back from helping people though, and trying to keep the economy going while they’re protecting their customers. We have not had big issues with people saying they won’t take action, or they won’t do things because of it. This was one of the considerations that me and my team talked about extensively when we were deciding on shelter-in-place orders, when we were deciding on if there were going to be businesses that would be asked to close. Because taking up someone’s business does create liabilities and potential for lawsuits and for there to be court actions. We’ve had many doctors that are concerned, as well, about the actions that they take in different situations, how that will be reflected in some type of a lawsuit action that could come.

So, I’d say it’s a concern, but in South Dakota not so much. We don’t tend to have a litigious population. We are pretty independent-minded. And then I use every opportunity I have. I do press conferences virtually every day, and I remind people about this country and our state and why we’re special, and that we can trust each other. That I trusted them to make good decisions and that they could trust me to be palms up and honest with them. And I think that’s really worked for us, and people are appreciating that. We’ve got a marathon in front of us still. We’re not done with the virus, but I think that constantly reminding people that we will get through this together helps keep some of that liability and litigious attitudes in check because people recognize we need each other to really come through this united.

ALEC CEO LISA NELSON:So great to hear that. And we are developing some model policy on the liability protection at ALEC. And we’re working with the White House right now. So hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll have a state model that perhaps you guys would want to take a look at.

Q: What advice and tips would you give to other governors reopening?And what was the most successful thing that you and your state did during the pandemic?

NOEM:I would say that for other governors is just to remember that every state is different. There was a lot of opportunities throughout this COVID-19 incident or episode that we’re dealing with in our country to try to compare yourself to other states. You know, to see if you are doing the exact same things to fall in line, to give in to political pressure. And I think justthe reminder I would give to all governors is to continue to focus on the science of the virus. Learn more every day, be teachable. And then look at the facts on the ground. Because if you start looking at national headlines or criticisms, it can divert you away from making wise decisions.We learned. We studied models. We looked at all the facts of what was happening in other countries and other states, but then when I made decisions I came back to South Dakota and looked at our communities and what was happening here on the ground before I made those decisions targeted towards those individual areas.

We are doing the first ever statewide clinical trial that a state is funding and backing with these three health care systems on hydroxychloroquine. And then we now have another drug, remdesivir, that’s been sent to South Dakota that we will be utilizing. And this is all because we have a unique situation in South Dakota where we have a state that will stand behind this kind of research in going on offense against the virus, utilizing drugs to help as therapeutics and to take care of folks, and then health care systems and research arms in our state that are willing to partner on it, too, and excited about the opportunity.

ABOUT WINNING FOR WOMEN:Winning For Women is a 501(c)(4) organization that aims (1) to inform the public of national security and free-market policy that will benefit the lives of all Americans, (2) to organize and amplify the voices of women across the country who embrace such, broadening the audience for a strong conservative message, and (3) to expand the ability of right-of-center women to succeed in their pursuit of leadership opportunities, including elected office. WFW works closely with its advisory team of high-profile leaders and supporters.Its Board of Directors includes former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, former U.S. Representative Barbara Comstock, founding partner at West Front Strategies Ashley Davis, W4W Board Member Jenny Singer, Hudson Institute Chairman Sarah May Stern, and W4W Board Member Rebecca Schuller.