‘I Believe in Our Freedoms and Liberties’: Governor Stands For Constitution Amid Lock Downs

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is sticking by her decision to not completely lock down her state during the coronavirus pandemic, pushing back on criticism during a new interview.

Speaking with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Noem said she refused to a shutdown as she took an oath to protect “liberties and freedoms.”

“I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of our state, of South Dakota,” she said during a segment on “The Ingraham Angle.”

“I took an oath when I was in Congress, obviously, to uphold the constitution of the United States. I believe in our freedoms and liberties,” Noem continued. “What I’ve seen across the country is so many people give up their liberties for just a little bit of security. And they don’t have to do that.”

Noem also cautioned leaders against taking up too much power during times of crisis.

“If a leader will take too much power in a time of crisis, that is how we lose our country. So I felt like I’ve had to use every single opportunity to talk about why we slow things down, we make decisions based on science and facts and make sure that we are not letting emotion grab a hold of the situation,” she continued.

The Western Journal reports some of Noem’s critics have gone after her decision not to close a Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Sioux Falls. The plant is one of the country’s largest and makes up a bulk of the states’ economy:

Nearly 600 of the company’s employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, while 135 more confirmed cases are directly related to the plant, USA Today reported.

The plant, which employs 54,000 people, according to Forbes, is now closed temporarily and cases related to the Smithfield plant make up just over half of cases statewide in South Dakota.

According to data from Johns Hopkins, South Dakota has a total of 1,311 COVID-19 cases with seven deaths.

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Noem told Ingraham that her critics are missing the bigger impact on the economy, as well as the potential trampling of her resident’s personal liberties.

“What they are neglecting to tell folks is that this processing plant is critical infrastructure. Regardless of a shelter-in-place order or not, it would have been up and running because it’s an important part of our nation’s food supply,” Noem explained.

“So that’s what’s been happening on the national level, is they’ve been not telling all the facts behind this,” she added. “We are addressing the one hot spot that we do have and aggressively testing in that area. And South Dakotans are doing a fantastic job following my recommendations.”

Noem continued: “The people of South Dakota can be trusted to make good decisions. We have common sense. That’s why people want to live here, and that’s why I love living here.”