U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem has added a constituent service office in Watertown, the first representative office for the city of Watertown.

"Watertown is obviously a very important community in the state," Communications Director Joshua Shields said. "It's one of the more vibrant communities in the northeastern area. Additionally, (Noem) is from near there. Those two reasons lead us to the decision to put an office there."

With the Watertown office, Noem will have three full-time offices, including Rapid City and Sioux Falls, as well as a part-time office in Aberdeen.

Traditionally representatives have chosen to have offices in Aberdeen but Shields said logistically Watertown made more sense for Noem.

"House offices don't have as many resources as the Senate offices," Shields said. "We wanted to put our people in different areas with the broadest reach, which is what lead us to Watertown."

For the people in Watertown, the office will offer the ability to make a quick trip to check on veteran's benefits, Social Security benefits, problems with Medicare, international travel and passport issues and other constituent services. Shields said the office primarily works with federal agencies that are not being as responsive as constituents might expect.

The office will be run by Noem's Northeast Area Director Beth Hollatz and Constituent Services Representative Lance Hildebrandt. Hollatz has deep roots in the community and has worked with Noem through both of her legislative races. She will be helping constituents with problems as well as attending events that Noem cannot. Hildebrandt's primary role will be working with constituents who have an issue with a federal agency.

The office, located at 505 12th St. SE, is open though the phone lines and Internet connections are still being put in place. Shields said the office should be fully functional within the next week.

"Because there has never been an office (in Watertown) the contracts through the General Service Administration take a little bit longer to set up,"?Shields said. "The nuts and bolts of setting up a federal office take a little bit longer than setting up a small business."

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