Five years ago, the woman dubbed by some as the next Sarah Palin was ranching and running a restaurant. Elected to the state legislature in 2006, Noem, 38, faces another star, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, in the race for South Dakota's lone House seat.
Who is your political hero/inspiration?
I obviously look up to and admire Ronald Reagan, his leadership and ability to communicate his visions to the American people. But also our senator here in South Dakota, John Thune, has been a good source of help and inspiration for me as I've pursued this campaign.
What's your go-to political blog?
I don't read a whole lot of blogs these days, I've been on the campaign trail so much. But I like to read politico.com and The Hill, and we've got some within our state that are pretty good at keeping us up to date. There's a conservative blog that I generally look at called [South] Dakota War College, but the Rapid City Journal blog is probably the one that I would look at the most.
If you weren't working in politics, what would you be doing?
I'd be ranching, raising cattle, and we have horses that we show. Then my husband and I own an insurance agency, which sells crop insurance and PMC insurance. I'd be helping with that as well.
What's the most overlooked issue facing America these days?
My number one concern is the lack of a balanced budget and our deficit spending. So for me, what I don't hear people talking about enough is the fact that we need really strong leadership to get out of this not necessarily just who is saying the right things but who is willing to stand there and draw a line in the sand.
Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?
I believe I'll still be involved in small businesses and agriculture industry in South Dakota. I could potentially still be serving in a public service role, but the guaranteed part will be working with small businesses in South Dakota, being a small-business owner and ranching.
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