South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem has been ranked "Best Governor in America" by a prominent nonprofit conservative organization.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) graded and ranked all 50 governors and released the results Friday, the final day of ALEC's 2021 States & Nation Policy Summit.
The governors were ranked using three key performance indicators — economic performance, fiscal policy, and executive policy — and current performance and effective change during their terms.
Noem, who was a guest speaker at the summit, was rated first among 10 governors — all except one being Republicans.
Each received a five-star rating.
"Thank you @ALEC_states for this honor, but it really belongs to the people of South Dakota! I trusted them to exercise their freedom and personal responsibility, and they've lived up to that trust," Noem tweeted Sunday.
The rest of ALEC's Top 10 governors included: No. 2 Spencer Cox, R-Utah; No. 3 Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.; No. 4 Jared Polis, D-Colo.; No. 5 Brad Little, R-Idaho; No. 6 Bill Lee, R-Tenn.; No. 7 Chris Sununu, R-N.H.; No. 8 Doug Ducey, R-Ariz.; No. 9 Brian Kemp, R-Ga.; and No. 10 Greg Abbott, R-Texas.
The worst-ranked governors included No. 50 Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.; No. 49 Daniel McKee, D-R.I.; No. 48 Gavin Newsom, D-Calif.; No. 47 J.B. Pritzker, D-Ill.; and No. 46 Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., who resigned in disgrace in August after being accused of sexually harassing several women. They were among 10 Democrat governors who received one-star ratings.
Noem also released a statement after receiving the top honor.
"ALEC is an incredible resource for legislators in every state, and it is a tremendous honor to receive this recognition from them," she said in a release. "We've accomplished a lot for South Dakota in my first three years as governor, but there is still more work to do. South Dakota will continue working to advance policies that protect freedom, cut red tape, and promote continual growth for our state."
Noem and other GOP governors did not implement strict lockdown restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has said her open policies led to the state's economy rebounding quicker than other states.
"South Dakota has the strongest economy in America right now, but that success does not stem from government," Noem said in a release. "It stems from our people and from the freedom that they enjoy. This year, as with years past, we will continue to focus on our people and their future."
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