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Group of South Dakota Legislators ask Noem to apologize to state National Guard, cancel deployment

(KSFY)
Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 7:18 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A group of South Dakota Legislators is asking Governor Noem to apologize to the South Dakota National Guard calling the deployment a “misuse.”

In the letter sent Wednesday, the legislators say the state’s “National Guard, and no troops should ever be made available for privately contracted mercenary assignments.”

The letter says the deployment raising ethical questions, sets a dangerous precedent, and should be canceled immediately. It says the $1 million donated by a Tennessee-based foundation should be returned.

Finally, the letter asks Noem to apologize to the state’s National Guard.

You can read the legislator’s full letter below:

Governor Noem,

We are writing you today regarding your June 29, 2021, press release announcing the deployment of up to 50 South Dakota National Guard troops to Texas. Within that press release, you stated “The deployment will be paid for by a private donation.” This is a misuse of our National Guard, and no troops should ever be made available for privately contracted mercenary assignments. Not only does it raise ethical questions, but privatized deployments set dangerous precedent for further political use of our National Guard. We ask that you cancel the deployment immediately and return the funds to the donor.

We believe it is imperative that an apology is offered to the South Dakota National Guard. South Dakota’s uniformed forces should not be available for citizen use, and we ask that you don’t force our men and women in uniform to act on behalf of private donations. We feel that this alters our National Guard into a private, employed security force and diminishes and demeans the oath they took to protecting South Dakota and the United States. Our National Guard are to be respected and treated with dignity rather than transferable to the highest bidder.

Respectfully,

Representative Jamie Smith, Representative Erin Healy, Representative Shawn Bordeaux, Representative Linda Duba, Representative Ryan Cwach, Representative Peri Pourier, Representative Oren Lesmeister, Representative Jennifer Keintz, Senator Troy Heinert, Senator Red Dawn Foster, Senator Reynold Nesiba

Governor Kristi Noem has received national media coverage and pushback for her decision to accept a private donation to send troops to the southern border.

MORE: Foundation donates $1M to pay for South Dakota National Guard deployment to southern border

The money is coming from the Tennessee-based Willis and Reba Johnson Foundation. We spoke with Willis Johnson who said he’s a Vietnam veteran and that he doesn’t approve of the way Biden is handling the border situation. He says he likes the way Noem has stood up to Biden.

The governor’s communications director, Ian Fury, says Noem welcomes donations to help alleviate the cost to South Dakota taxpayers. In a now-deleted tweet, Fury said all troops taking part volunteered for the mission.

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