South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who did not issue a stay-at-home order for her state, was surprised with a parade in her honor as residents praised the Republican’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.
Video footage posted on the governor’s Twitter account shows fire trucks blaring their sirens and people honking from their cars as Noem walks out of what appears to be the governor’s mansion in Pierre.
The woman filming her tells the governor, “It’s a parade for you! Wave to them!” and Noem waves as she appears to get a little emotional.
“I am so blessed to serve the people of the great State of South Dakota,” she tweeted. “You folks made my day!”
I am so blessed to serve the people of the great State of South Dakota. You folks made my day! pic.twitter.com/oy0e5KO9RZ
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) April 28, 2020
She expressed her gratitude to her residents in an interview with Go Watertown, saying that “you can’t describe this to people in other states.”
“I just love this state and these people and they’re amazing. And I, I’m overwhelmed. I love them,” she said.
Noem made headlines and received criticism during the pandemic for refusing to implement a stay-at-home order for her state, but she has refused to back down.
“For me personally, I took an oath to uphold our state Constitution. I took an oath when I was in Congress to uphold the United States Constitution. So I believe in people’s freedoms and liberties and I always balance that with every decision that I make as governor,” Noem told Breitbart News.
“I get overly concerned with leaders who take too much power in a time of crisis because I think that’s how we directly lose our country someday by leaders overstepping their proper role.”
She added that she does not believe in a “one-size-fits-all approach” because South Dakota has “pretty diverse communities.”
“I wanted to leave some flexibility there for local folks to make decisions but also recognizing that when it comes down to it that these guys had to take on the personal responsibility that is necessary to really go after this virus.”
Although Noem did not issue a stay-at-home order, she did place some restrictions on her state.
Schools have been closed since March 16 and businesses were directed to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on social distancing, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The governor told Breitbart News that despite earlier projections of a surge of coronavirus patients flooding hospitals, South Dakota has cut down the projection number by 75 percent, and only 111 people total have been hospitalized with coronavirus.
“We probably, from all of our projections and studying the science behind the virus, we won’t peak until the middle of June,” Noem said. “But we already have done much better than what we had thought would have been hitting our state already.”
As of Tuesday morning, there have been 2,245 cases of coronavirus in South Dakota and 11 fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
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