Who is Kristi Noem?

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) was thrown into the national spotlight last week after she detailed in an upcoming book about how she shot her family’s dog.

The backlash over the anecdote has dimmed Noem’s prospects of becoming former president Trump’s running mate, after she also faced scrutiny last month over her promotion of a Texas dentistry company.

Heres what to know about Kristi Noem:

Backlash for killing her family dog

The South Dakota governor has come under fire after The Guardian reported on an excerpt from her new book, in which she revealed how she shot “Cricket,” her nearly 14-month-old dog.

She said she shot the wirehaired pointer on her property after taking it pheasant hunting. Noem said she “hated” the dog and claimed it was responsible for attacking a neighbor’s chickens and trying to bite her.

She also described how she shot and killed a “nasty and mean” male goat that smelled and liked to chase her children, shortly after killing the dog.

A series of Democratic governors and conservatives have since slammed Noem for the admission.

Noem defended her actions on Sunday, writing, “I can understand why some people are upset about a 20 year old story of Cricket, one of the working dogs at our ranch, in my upcoming book — No Going Back,” Noem wrote Sunday on the social platform X.

“The book is filled with many honest stories of my life, good and bad days, challenges, painful decisions, and lessons learned.”

She claimed the story shows constituents that she is “authentic, willing to learn from the past, and [doesn’t] shy away from tough challenges.”

Sued for promoting Texas dentistry company

Noem faced separate criticism in March after posting a nearly five-minute video touting the dental work she got done at Smile Texas. The video is a commercial-like style and features close-ups of Noem’s teeth and before and after shots of her smile.

She was later sued by the consumer advocacy group Travelers United, which alleges she violated consumer protection laws and accused her of acting like a social media influencer.

Despite the lawsuit and criticism, Noem later posted a video promoting a South Dakota business.

Noem’s political, personal history

Noem began serving as South Dakota’s 33rd governor in 2019, becoming the first female governor of the Mount Rushmore State. She was reelected to a second term in 2022 with the largest vote total in the state’s history, her office said.

Her time as governor came after serving eight years in the U.S. House for South Dakota’s at-large congressional district.  During her time on Capitol Hill, she focused on tax cuts and advocating against government growth and secrecy, per her office.

Prior to her time on Capitol Hill, Noem was a member of the South Dakota House of Representatives for the 6th District from 2007 to 2011.

Noem got married to her husband, Byron Noem, in 1992 and the couple has three children, Kassidy, Booker and Kennedy.

Reportedly on Trump’s VP shortlist

Noem is among a handful of Republicans whom Trump is reportedly considering as a potential running mate in his presidential campaign this year.  She has said that she would accept being Trump’s running mate “in a heartbeat” if he asks.

The former president mentioned Noem and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) as potential VP picks when asked in February about who he is considering.

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