Editorial: We deserve straight talk from those in Congress

We suppose someone out there feels we were tough on U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem in a story that was published last week in The Daily Republic.

During a Thursday conference call with reporters, Noem, South Dakota’s lone representative in the U.S. House, failed to be specific when asked what spending she wants to eliminate from the ballooning federal budget. When directly asked, we feel Noem avoided a direct answer.

The resulting story, published Friday, outlined the exchange, which included three separate instances of a Daily Republic staffer asking the freshman congresswoman to be more specific. As background, Noem has said many times that spending must be cut and that she backs plans to make such cuts. She has called for billions of dollars worth of cuts, but has less frequently pinpointed any programs for those cuts.

“You have to put everything on the table and have discussions about everything the federal government does,” was her first answer.

Two more attempts to get specifics resulted in similarly vague answers.

This is nothing personal against Noem, a Republican who defeated Democratic incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in November. It’s true that The Daily Republic endorsed Herseth Sandlin, although we considered it nearly a tossup, and threw our support behind the Democrat based on what we felt were strong efforts by Herseth Sandlin to improve life in South Dakota.

But last week’s dustup on the conference call has nothing to do with endorsements or political affiliation. It simply was based on our efforts to get a straight answer from a politician who seemingly has strong beliefs but hasn’t been very willing to talk details.

Had it been Herseth Sandlin or current senators John Thune or Tim Johnson, our approach would have been the same.

South Dakotans deserve straight and specific answers from the people who work for us.

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