U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem discusses issues in Aberdeen

BY SCOTT WALTMAN swaltman@aberdeennews.com

12:00 AM CST, February 23, 2011

 Kristi Noem said she should have an office open in Aberdeen the first week of March.

 The freshman Republican who defeated Houghton native Stephanie Herseth Sandlin was in Aberdeen on Tuesday, visiting with officials at Northern State University and Avera St. Luke's Hospital.

 Noem's Aberdeen office will be in the Capitol Building next to the Capitol Theatre in the 400 block of South Main Street. No phone number has yet been issued.

 It takes longer than expected to get office phones and furniture because they have to be issued and approved by the federal government, Noem said.

 Beth Hollatz, of Clark, will be Noem's area regional director, overseeing the Aberdeen and Watertown regions.

 Noem, who serves on the House Education and Work Force Committee, said she visited Tuesday with NSU President James Smith about how federal spending cuts could affect grants. She said she doesn't want potential students — especially those who have lower incomes and are nontraditional — to decide not to go to college because there isn't financial assistance available.

 NSU's long-distance learning classes and Upward Bound program, which is designed to foster interest in college, are also important, Noem said, and she and Smith visited about both.

 At Avera St. Luke's, Noem said she visited with hospital officials about rural health care issues.

 Finally settled and organized in Washington, D.C., Noem said that every week she will continue to back a bill that cuts spending.


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