Noem to AP: Address to focus on 'aggressive' economic growth

In this Jan. 23, 2019, file photo, Gov. Kristi Noem gives her first budget address to lawmakers at the state Capitol in Pierre. Noem will use her State of the State address to pitch prospective businesses on why they should move to South Dakota, the Republican governor told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview on Sunday. (AP Photo/James Nord, File)

SIOUX FALLS (AP) – Gov. Kristi Noem will use her State of the State address to pitch prospective businesses on why they should move to South Dakota, the Republican governor told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

After witnessing a tough year for the agriculture economy and South Dakota graduates leaving the state to find jobs, Noem said she will approach 2020 with an “aggressive model for our families.” Noem said she will use Tuesday's address to tout the state's low taxes, fiscal conservatism, and “reliable” workforce in a bid to attract business to the state.

“South Dakota is open for business and 2020 will be a year of going after opportunities for our families,” Noem told AP on Sunday.

The state's economic growth lagged behind the nation this year. Despite sizable financial and medical sectors, the local economy is highly dependent on agriculture. Storms and flooding led to South Dakota leading the nation in unplanted acres this year.

“While we have been focused on problems, my job is to cast a vision for where we're going,” Noem said.

Noem will point to businesses that have relocated to the state during her address. She said she has been in discussions with several other businesses and hopes to announce their arrival later this year.

The year's legislative session opens on Tuesday with Noem's address, and she said she wants legislators to keep economic growth on their minds throughout the session.

Noem also wants them to look for ways to keep the next generation in the state.

A report from the U.S. Congress's Joint Economic Committee last year found that South Dakota college graduates are leaving the state at a higher rate than nearly everywhere else. Noem said she is looking for ways to grow the state's bio-technology, cyber security, and science industries so that engineering students from job offers from companies in state.

“I want every single child and family member to stay in the state if they want to,” she said.

The year's legislative session kicks off with Noem's address on Tuesday.

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