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South Dakota’s Noem to speak at Republican convention

August 18, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2018 file photo President Donald Trump appears with Gov. Kristi Noem in Sioux Falls, S.D. South Dakota officials said Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, they plan to erect a security fence budgeted around the official governor’s residence to protect Noem. Noem's office did not give specifics on any threats. The South Dakota Republican has championed a hands-off approach to managing the coronavirus crisis and also raised her national political profile in the past year, including tying herself more closely to Trump. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2018 file photo President Donald Trump appears with Gov. Kristi Noem in Sioux Falls, S.D. South Dakota officials said Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, they plan to erect a security fence budgeted around the official governor’s residence to protect Noem. Noem's office did not give specifics on any threats. The South Dakota Republican has championed a hands-off approach to managing the coronavirus crisis and also raised her national political profile in the past year, including tying herself more closely to Trump. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem will speak at the Republican National Convention, her office confirmed Tuesday.

The Republican governor has developed a national profile through her hands-off approach to the coronavirus pandemic, gaining attention from President Donald Trump. Instead of ordering statewide lockdowns or business closures, Noem has encouraged “personal responsibility” to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Noem has made frequent appearances on Fox News and even installed a small TV studio at the governor’s office last year. As she staked out controversial positions on the pandemic and downplayed the danger of large gatherings, conservative pundits have pinpointed her as a rising star in the Republican party.

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While the number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 has remained at a manageable level for the state’s health care system, the number of new infections in South Dakota has risen in recent weeks. Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by about 17, an increase of 21%

Her spokesman Ian Fury did not provide details on when she would speak or for how long, saying “things are still being worked out.”