South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemMidterm elections loom over Supreme Court abortion fight Noem sets South Dakota record for largest-ever fundraiser Republican former South Dakota House Speaker challenging Noem MORE (R) on Friday sought to address a controversy over her 2020 meeting with the head of the state agency that moved to deny her daughter a real estate appraiser certification.
That meeting, which also included Noem’s daughter Kassidy Peters, has come under scrutiny in the days since it was first reported by The Associated Press. State Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) has said that his office is looking into the meeting, and a key state Senate committee is also expected to examine the matter when it meets later this month.
The July 2020 meeting between Noem, Peters and Sherry Bren, the now-former executive director of the South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program, was called shortly after Bren’s agency moved to deny Peters her residential appraiser certification.
The state Department of Labor and Regulation contends that Peters’s application was never denied and she was granted her certification four months after the July meeting in November 2020.
In a video message released on Friday, Noem disparaged news reporting on the meeting, accusing members of the media of wrongfully attacking her family. She also insisted that she did not intervene to secure special treatment for her daughter.
“There’s a lot of speculation and innuendo in the media and I wanted to take a second to set the record straight. I never once asked for special treatment for Kassidy,” Noem said. “She is my daughter and I’m proud of her. I raised her to accomplish things on her own just like my parents raised me.”
Noem said that she was instead concerned with fixing the “broken” system governing real estate appraiser certifications, arguing that the process was inefficient and had consequently made home buying more cumbersome.
“Appraisers weren’t getting certified and South Dakotans were having to wait much longer to buy a home than in other states,” she said. “This system had been broken for decades. It was designed to benefit those who were already certified and to keep others out.”
In a reference to Bren, who claims that she was pressured to retire last year months after her meeting with the governor, Noem noted that “the person in charge of the appraisal certification process had been in that role for 40 years.”
Noem, who’s seen as a potential contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nod, said that her administration had made changes to the real estate appraiser certification process, noting that state registered appraisers no longer have to take an exam before they begin their training. She said her administration is “looking at streamlining additional requirements.”
Still, Noem offered little information about what unfolded during the July 2020 meeting or why her daughter was in attendance. Instead, she cast the recent attention to the matter as politically motivated.
“The media is ignoring those facts,” she said. “They’d rather attack my daughter in order to score cheap political points against me. But I’m not focused on that, I’m focused on making it easier on young South Dakotans to enter this field and that will make it easier for South Dakotans to purchase a home.”