The Washington Post

Rep. Kristi Noem earns her college degree

Ninety-two percent of House lawmakers and all but one senator have a college degree. Kristi Noem wasn’t one of them — until Saturday.

The South Dakota Republican graduated Saturday from South Dakota State University with a degree in political science.

As the 40-year-old lawmaker told “CBS This Morning” on Monday, she dropped out of college at age 22 when her father died in a farming accident. She caught the political bug, became a state lawmaker in 2006 and came to Congress last year.

“That was one thing about coming here to Washington, D.C. -- I never felt insecure about my education,” Noem told CBS. “I felt like I had been through the school of hard knocks.”

Adding to the milestone, Noem’s daughter will graduate from high school later this week.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) sent his congratulations via Twitter Monday morning, calling Noem’s graduation“a wonderful accomplishment and truly inspiring story.”

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Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
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