South Dakota Republican Rep. Kristi Noem has been named a Small Business Champion by the Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International.

The award, which is given to lawmakers who promote the interests of small, family-run operations like those that make up HARDI’s membership, was given to Noem by Rick and Glenys Hull of Sioux Falls, S.D.

“Congresswoman Noem has consistently shown through her votes and the bills she sponsors that she understands the plight of small businesses like ours in dealing with issues like the estate tax, increasingly burdensome regulations, and an overly complicated tax code,” said Rick Hull, who owns a Johnstone Supply with his wife.

“Kristi knows that actions speak louder than words and she has been proactive in visiting businesses like ours and listening to the concerns of small businesses throughout South Dakota,” said Glenys Hull. “She is a true voice for job creators in Congress.”

Talbot Gee, HARDI’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said Noem has championed issues important to the association’s members.

“There is perhaps not a more eloquent and honest speaker on the subject of the estate tax than Congresswoman Noem,” Gee said. “For our members, this (the estate tax) has been a major issue to tackle and we are grateful to have Rep. Noem leading the charge on this and many other issues that impact business owners in South Dakota and across our nation.”

Noem said she was honored to receive the award.

“Small businesses are the engines of our economy,” she said. “They drive innovation and invention. They employ us and our families, and they strengthen our communities. I am committed to being an advocate for policies that allow for the job creation and innovation that is inspired by small businesses and am truly honored to receive the HARDI Small Business Champion Award.”