Well, thank you all. My goodness, thank you all so much. It's late. You all should be tired and worn out by now. My goodness, thank you so much. [Responding to comment from crowd:] No, not at all. Your faces look wonderful.
I just don't even know how to begin to thank you for all the love, the support, the prayers. It's just meant the world to me and my family, so thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.
I just had a conversation with Billie Sutton and it was a wonderful conversation. I told him that he worked hard. He worked hard throughout this campaign and talked about issues that I believe are important to all South Dakotans, about working together to get things done. And so I want to wish him and his family well, and I told him to go get some rest as well, too, which is something that our family will do here as well. [applause]
I want to thank my family. You guys all see Bryon standing here [cheers] Him and the kids have walked every step of this journey with me my entire life. When Brian married me, I was going to be a farmer and a rancher my whole life, and he got a little bit more than what he bargained for. But my goodness, he has been an absolute rock star and I thank God every day that he had the wisdom to give me Bryon Noem as a husband. [applause]
I think sometimes these races are hardest on moms. So my mom is behind me and so is my mother-in-law, Sharon, and they're probably the two most wonderful women you'd ever meet in your entire life. And I want to thank them for just being willing to put their hearts out there and love us through the difficult days and celebrate on the fun days and just being there.
Listen – success comes from strong families and you've heard me talk throughout this campaign about the importance of strong families. I want to use every opportunity that we have for kiddos in South Dakota to grow up with families that love them, that support them, that help them be successful. We have the opportunity to be the state that leads by example on building strong families and communities together. [applause]
I've got a staff that turned themselves inside out on this race. They never quit. Some of them worked for 36 to 40 hours without going to bed at times. And so it just means the world to me. And I'm not gonna thank them all by name because on the night of the primary I forgot one and it was not…I felt terrible about that for weeks afterwards. But they know how hard they work and I just want them to know from the bottom of my hearts how much I appreciate them being a part of the team and what it meant and that this success is in big part due to them.
I also want to thank the volunteers, because I've just never seen so many volunteers just come in and put up signs. John Mogan, how many signs did you put up? Dear Lord. I mean, I can't even count that high. But we had people that went, they spent all night out putting up signs. They'd work all day and they'd go out and put up signs all night long. They would go knocking on doors and make phone calls. We made more phone calls in this race than I think has ever happened in the state of South Dakota. It – well maybe the John Thune-Daschle race, there was a few more done then – but a lot of volunteers that just turned themselves inside out.
But we're missing another special one. She was here the night of the primary and she was our rock star caller and it was Maxine Hogstad. And for those of you who knew Maxine, she was a dear, dear, dear friend and we lost her this summer and it's been hard for us, but I know she's celebrating in heaven so I'm good with that, aren't you? Yes.
And I just have one special shout-out to Dale and Marilyn. I know they wanted to be here. You guys probably don't know Dale and Marilyn, but when I was a little girl I used to go stay with them all the time on their ranch, West River, and they're not very healthy right now so they're not here tonight but I just want them to know that I love them and that I'm thinking of them and I'm so grateful for all of their prayers.
Now listen. You know that I have talked often about my mom and my dad and the fact that growing up on our family farm and ranch that my dad had a dream. He worked hard every day because he wanted all four of his kids to have the opportunity to stay in South Dakota and farm together if they wanted to. And that's my dream for every single child in this state as well – to create opportunity so every single one of them can stay here with their families if they so choose and if they want to pursue their dreams right here surrounded by the people that love them best.
In my family there were no girl chores or boy chores – there's just things to get done. So that's what we're gonna do. I have some big plans for this state – addressing education, meeting our workforce needs, going after affordable housing, affordable health care, dealing with our mental health crisis, and also addressing our rising crime and drug issues here in South Dakota.
But I can't do it alone. I'm gonna need every single person's help in the state of South Dakota. And you coming alongside of us I think is going to be incredibly important. So I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to work for you the last eight years.
And secondly, I want to thank you for the trust that you put in me to let me work as your next governor. So may God bless you…. [applause] [Responding to comment from crowd: Yes, I do.] [applause] So thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your prayers. May God bless you and may God bless the great state of South Dakota. Thank you. [applause]