Governor Kristi Noem says South Dakota is open for business. The governor highlighted expansion of high speed internet services during the state of the state address Tuesday afternoon. She also outlined additional steps she wants to take this year to make South Dakota even more attractive to businesses.
To illustrate the importance of high-speed internet to small businesses, Governor Noem points to the Linderman family. As owners of the only grocery store in Timber Lake—40 miles from the next grocery store—Noem explains they struggled without access to high speed internet.
“For them, that meant that they couldn’t provide their customers with credit card, debit card, WIC or EBT payment options," she explains. "They even had to do orders for their store somewhere else.”
But after state and federal programs brought $25 million dollars to expand internet services last year, Noem says the Lindermans are among more than 6,000 families who now have high speed access.
“We want to create an environment where people aren’t forced to choose between the modern economy on one hand, and life in their hometowns on the other,” she says.
But broadband isn’t the only barrier to businesses. This year, Governor Noem is looking to improve housing options by opening the state’s REDI fund to support workforce housing projects.
“Having suitable housing is economic progress. I’m confident that opening up this fund will get developers to invest in communities where additional housing units are most needed,” Noem says.
The governor also discussed occupational licensing reform, retaining the state’s graduates, and the upcoming South Dakota Week of Work. The inaugural program will give high school students a chance to explore job opportunities in their local communities.