You’ve probably heard a little bit about some problems with our school lunches. Congresswoman Noem has been sounding the alarm ever since it became a political issue. Well guess what?
Congresswoman Noem missed the committee meeting where the problem was first discussed in Congress.
And she missed 6 of 7 meetings in the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education where the issue is worked on in Congress. You can read the details from Matt Varilek below.
Bottom line: If Congresswoman Noem isn’t doing her job, she deserves to be out of her job.
Records Reveal Noem Absent at School Lunch Hearing in May 2011
Skipped 6 of 7 hearings and attended 0 in the last year and a half
(SIOUX FALLS, SD) — As Congresswoman Kristi Noem highlights the federal role in school lunch programs, official records reveal she skipped a May 13, 2011 subcommittee hearing dealing with the very issue.
In addition to missing the May 2011 hearing, Congresswoman Noem has an overall abysmal attendance record in the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education. Of the 7 hearings held, Noem has skipped 6.
Noem, a member of that subcommittee, skipped a May 13, 2011 hearing titled “Examining the Costs of Federal Overreach into School Meals.” According to the subcommittee news release that day, “the hearing… featured testimony from school leaders and child nutrition experts who described the negative consequences stemming from the 2010 law.” Many of the criticisms Noem is bringing up today were discussed at that hearing over a year ago.
The new standards put into place are the result of the Healthy and Hungry-Free Kids Act passed in 2010.
“We’re seeing a pattern here — Congresswoman Noem isn’t showing up for South Dakota. This is now the third committee where Congresswoman Noem has been missing in action,” said candidate Matt Varilek. “She failed to show up to get a farm bill passed, she failed to show up to represent the interests of Native Americans, and now we’re seeing that she failed to show up for our school children.”
In recent months, Noem has received a considerable amount of attention for skipping House Agriculture Committee and Indian Affairs subcommittee hearings since taking office in January 2011.
At Noem’s town hall meeting in Sioux Falls on August 8, 2012, she said she was proud of her appointment to the Education and the Workforce Committee.
“When I was put on that committee, it was the first time in 30 years that we’ve had someone from South Dakota on that committee, and it’s been a good opportunity for me to speak up about rural schools,” she said. But her attendance record tells a different story.
Of the 65 Education and the Workforce Committee hearings Noem has had an opportunity to attend since her election, she has missed 40. On most of those days she had no apparent conflicts, and when she did have overlapping hearings scheduled, she often skipped them both.
“Congresswoman Noem says she one thing in South Dakota and does another when she’s in Washington, D.C.,” said Varilek. “Congresswoman Noem has failed to deliver for South Dakota. It’s time to elect someone who will show up and make sure South Dakota’s one voice in the House is heard once again.”
Committee Finds Federal Expansion into School Meals Raises Costs. “Witnesses described a number of challenges resulting from the new law and its regulations, including: Higher Cost…. Wasted Food…. Fewer Children Served.” [House Committee on Education and the Workforce, 5/13/11]
Noem Questions New School Lunch Standards. Noem: “Since these are the first major changes in school meals in over 30 years, I believe any changes should be adequately evaluated for cost, consequences, and impact on the people the law is intended to help.” [KSFY, 9/13/12]
Attendance in Congress in question. “But the South Dakota Democratic Party contends that Noem hasn’t been a strong voice for farmers and ranchers, at least not on the House Agriculture Committee. Of 20 committee and subcommittee meetings held since Noem’s appointment in June 2011, South Dakota Democratic Chairman Ben Nesselhuf said she’s attended four…. Even if she was missed by the video cameras, or only attended parts of meetings — which is common for members of Congress, experts maintain — Noem has appeared in transcripts once, Nesselhuf said.” [Argus Leader, 5/12/12]
In Our Opinion: Things we like, dislike: Noem’s absence, Mina’s recognition. “There was a disturbing news story this week that reported South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem had attended only four of 20 U.S. House Agriculture Committee meetings since her appointment in June 2011. Equally disturbing in the Argus Leader story was the sentence: ‘Noem’s office did not reply to requests for comment on this story’.” [Aberdeen News, 5/16/12]
Editorial: Kristi, Text Us. We need to talk. “Matt Varilek, the contender for Rep. Noem’s job, seems to us to raise a valid issue here about job performance. Kristi Noem needs to explain what business has kept her from doing the nation’s business. And Congress needs to make it easier to keep track of which lawmakers are attending meetings…. it appears that Rep. Noem has not taken seriously the very ordinary, very important work that a lawmaker does in committee in helping shape the discussion of issues important to the country. [Capital Journal, 10/3/12]
US House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. Education Regulations: Burying Schools in Paperwork. [3/15/11. Present]
US House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. Examining the Costs of Federal Overreach into School Meals. [5/13/11. Absent]
US House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. Education Reforms: Exploring the Vital Role of Charter Schools. [6/1/11. Absent]
US House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. Education Reforms: Ensuring the Education System is Accountable to Parents and Communities. [9/21/11. Absent]
US House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. Education Research: Identifying Effective Programs to Support Students and Teachers. [11/16/11. Absent]
US House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. Exploring State Success in Expanding Parent and Student Options. [5/16/12. Absent]
US House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. Education Reforms: Discussing the Value of Alternative Teacher Certification Programs. [7/24/12. Absent]