(Neb)-Noem Takes Oath As First Female Governor Of SD
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Republican Kristi Noem has been sworn in as the first female governor of South Dakota, taking the oath of office Saturday at the state Capitol.
Noem chose not to seek reelection for a fifth term in Congress to instead become the 33rd governor of South Dakota.
State legislators and other officials including Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden were also sworn in during the ceremony.
Noem called it a "unique honor" to serve as the state's first female governor, but it wasn't a milestone she emphasized during the campaign that saw her narrowly edge Democratic State Senator and former rodeo cowboy Billie Sutton.
In her inaugural address, Noem said she couldn't let the day pass without commenting on its "historic nature" since her election came 100 years and one day after women's suffrage passed in South Dakota.
Noem said she didn't campaign on gender, but that the milestone is an honor - foremost because of the message it sends to children in South Dakota that anything is possible and says she wants to be governor for the next generation.
U.S. Senator John Thune, who served with Noem in Congress, called it "an exciting day and a historic day" that all residents should celebrate.
Republican State Representative Scyller Borglum, among the officials also sworn in on Saturday, says Noem has the tenacity and determination needed to move the state forward - adding that she's proud her first full session is with Noem as governor.
The number of women who will serve in the South Dakota Legislature in the upcoming session is close to a record high. Borglum calls that "tremendously exciting," saying the Legislature needs a variety of perspectives. Borglum says
Two balls, one in the Capitol rotunda and the other at a Pierre event center, capped the celebration. The estimated budget of $150,000 for the balls was funded by ticket sales and donations, largely from major businesses and organizations.
Noem's first legislative session as governor begins on Tuesday with her State of the State address, in which she will release her policy priorities.
A four-term congresswoman, Noem is trading Washington for Pierre as the 33rd governor of South Dakota. She replaces Republican Dennis Daugaard.
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