South Dakota's lone House of Representative - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

South Dakota's House of Representative Kristi Noem defeats Matt Varilek


Republican Rep. Kristi Noem has defeated Democratic challenger Matt Varilek to win a second term as South Dakota's lone member of the U.S. House.

Varilek is a former member of Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson's staff. He argued throughout the campaign that Noem had shirked her duties by skipping committee meetings and failed to protect South Dakota's interests in getting a farm bill passed before Congress adjourned before the election.

Noem is 40-year-old rancher and former state lawmaker from Castlewood who was first elected to Congress as part of the 2010 Republican wave. She says she has worked to cut federal spending and taxes, has a 99 percent voting record in committees and did all she could to get a farm bill passed.

South Dakota has only one member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Republican, Kristi Noem, was elected in 2010.

She serves on the Agriculture Committee, the Natural Resources Committee and the Education & Workforce Committee. Noem is also a freshman class liaison to the Republican House Leadership team.

Noem, 40, lives with her husband, Bryon, and three children, Kassidy, Kennedy, and Booker, on a ranch near Castlewood, where the family raises Angus cattle and also shows Quarter Horses. Kristi actively farmed with her family for 17 years, owned and operated a hunting operation, and helped manage the family restaurant.

Noem was elected to the District 6 House of Representatives in the fall of 2006. Noem served as the Assistant Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, to which she was elected at the beginning of her second term in 2008.

Noem graduated from Hamlin High School in 1990 and has lived in the area her entire life. Noem began her college education at Northern State, later transferring to SDSU and taking classes at Mount Marty in Watertown as well.

Challenger, Democrat, Matt Varilek was born in Yankton South Dakota. For nearly seven years, Matt served as the Economic Development Director for U.S. Senator Tim Johnson. Varilek also worked for U.S. Senator Tom Daschle in a similar capacity. Varilek added to his private sector experience by spending four years as a market analyst at an energy commodities brokerage. He has also served as a teaching assistant, and he worked his way through high school and college.

Varilek graduated from Yankton High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Carleton College in Minnesota. He also earned two master's degrees related to economics — the first from the University of Glasgow in Scotland and the second from the University of Cambridge in England.

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