Noem, Hawks Square Off In U.S. House Debate

Two candidates focusing on the issues instead of insults; it’s not the kind of debate we’re used to seeing lately, but that’s what happened when the two women running for U.S. House squared off in Sioux Falls Monday. Republican Incumbent Rep. Kristi Noem and Democratic challenger Paula Hawks spoke for about an hour in front of the Downtown Rotary.

“Really, there’s a lot of disfunction in Washington, D.C.,” said Noem.

“It’s a broken system,”said Hawks.

There was a lot of agreement between Noem and Hawks. They agreed that our federal government should be small, our military needs to be adequately funded, agriculture needs to be a top priority, and expanding small businesses is a way to create jobs in South Dakota.

Both candidates also wanted to prove that they work well with others; Noem citing her work on the farm bill and Hawks on helping pass education funding in the state house.

“I might not agree with an individual in Washington, D.C. On 80 percent of the issues, but I can still work with them on 20 percent of the others,” said Noem.

“Going there with the expectation of being able to do anything without having a bipartisan support is.. is folly,” Hawks said.

One of the main differences: their stance on healthcare.

Hawks said, “I would agree that there are some issues with Obamacare and there are some things we can do to approve upon that program. Throwing it out without an option for replacement is not a good approach.”

Noem said, “I’m not a fan of Obamacare. I’ve voted to repeal it 46 times. We actually put a bill this year on the President’s desk to repeal it. He vetoed the legislation.”

When asked if limitations should be placed on the right to bear arms, there was also some contrast.

“Those regulations include some kind of background some kind of background check that allows us to know what it is that those people intend, what it is that they want with those guns,” said Hawks.

“I think we have enough gun laws in this country. If you look at the violence we’ve seen across this country, the vast majority of it is because we haven’t taken care of people who have mental health issues,” said Noem.

As for who should be our next president, the two didn’t agree on that one either. Hawks said she doesn’t align with Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton 100 percent but doesn’t see any alignment with the Republican Nominee Donald Trump. Noem says she sees two very flawed candidates but will vote for Trump.