First Gentleman Bryon Noem , right, and Britton Mayor Clyde Fredrickson toured Britton on Friday. Noem has adopted an initiative to visit smaller rural communities across the state and football game Friday night.
First Gentleman Touts Small Town South Dakota
First Gentleman Bryon Noem believes that small towns are the backbone of South Dakota, and he visited Britton on Friday as part of his initiative “This Is South Dakota” to visit many of those communities.
“Our hometowns are the heartbeat of our state, and I want to highlight them,” said Noem. “I want to remind people that South Dakota’s rural communities are some of the best places to raise a family or to start a business.”
There are more than 300 municipalities in South Dakota. According to the most recent census estimates 40 of those towns have between 1,000- 3,000 people and 248 have a population of under 1,000.
Noem hails from the town of Bryant where he operates Noem Insurance Agency, a community of 500 that has seen its population grow by 100 people over the last 10 years. He thinks there is a movement back to rural America, partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We just had an old building in Bryant that looked like it should be torn down purchased for $5,000, and they are going to fix it up and put in a business,” noted Noem. “People are moving back, and I think they are realizing this is where they should be. When they can work remotely, they can now maybe work in the town they grew up in and bring those values to their family.”
As a result, during his travels around the state the number one issue brought up by communities is lack of housing.
“I haven’t been to a town that hasn’t had a housing problem,” said Noem. “It’s a great problem to have but we want to meet it.”
In a Facebook post Noem talked about his Britton visit.
“While in town I visited the ladies at Dizzy Blondz, went shopping at HH Design where I found some throwback t-shirts, stopped by RPM and toured their operation, watched an old film at Strand Theatre where they even had popcorn ready for me when I walked in, and stopped by Meyer Hardware Hank,” wrote Noem. “I met with Mayor Fredrickson and discussed ways in which we can help the city of Britton, had supper at the Britton Country Club with Governor Farrar and finished the night with one of the only ways you can in South Dakota, under the stadium lights!”
Noem’s number one takeaway from his visits around the state has been the people.
“There are just so many good people that care about their communities and have a passion for their town,” stressed Noem. “That’s what makes small towns special. And I want to make sure we don’t lose South Dakota’s rural culture. I think people have gotten away from how important it is to raise a family in a small town.”
It’s the independent spirit of those people that has come to the forefront during the pandemic.
“Kristi (Gov. Noem) has been letting people make choices,” stressed her husband. “She’s really not doing anything but having the courage to let people make decisions. She always says, ‘I just trust my people.’”
“I think that philosophy has brought us closer together,” said Britton Mayor Clyde Fredrickson, who accompanied Noem on his Britton tour. “We decided what was best for our local community, and we appreciate that. Small communities can figure this out.” One of Noem’s priorities
One of Noem’s priorities while visiting rural communities is to listen. “I think we’ve gotten away
“I think we’ve gotten away from just listening. Our hometowns have stories to tell, and I want everyone in South Dakota to hear them. That’s my goal.”