Tim enjoys time at Brookings Summer Arts Festival

Tim enjoys time at Brookings Summer Arts Festival

Tim spent several hours Sunday, July 15, at the Brookings Summer Arts Festival, where he met with people interested in his campaign and excited about change and reform.

It was a wonderful day at the 47th annual festival and a good opportunity to connect with South Dakotans, such as longtime Brookings businessman Tom Yseth, a former Brookings school board member, chamber director, Brookings County commissioner and Game, Fish & Parks commissioner.

Tim and Tom strolled through a packed Pioneer Park, where thousands of South Dakotans and guests from other states came for the two-day celebration of art and creativity.

They shook hands and talked and laughed with people enjoying a wonderful summer day in a gorgeous setting.

“I always enjoy coming to Brookings,” Tim told one of the volunteers working at a booth.

He attended SDSU for two years after graduating from high school and has maintained ties with the community over the years, including attending a fundraiser this spring.

Tim’s campaign has taken him across South Dakota, as he has attended summer festivals, walked in parades and met with thousands of people. It’s an opportunity to hear what people are interested in, he said.

“This is one of the best things, getting out and meeting with people,” Tim said. “This is so enjoyable.”

Tim has strong fundraising period

Tim has strong fundraising period

SIOUX FALLS – The Tim Bjorkman for South Dakota campaign raised $153,751 for the quarter that ended June 30, surpassing all previous quarters, it announced on Monday, July 16.
That amount includes $82,270 raised in the second half of the quarter, his campaign reported to the Federal Election Commission on Saturday. The campaign exceeded its goal for the quarter, despite refusing all special interest PAC money.
The Bjorkman campaign had a balance on hand as of June 30 of $217,604.48 compared to Republican candidate Dusty Johnson’s $151,482.68.
For the third consecutive reporting period, Bjorkman’s campaign outraised Johnson’s in individual gifts, and held a nearly 3-1 advantage in unitemized gifts – those of $200 or less – $40,251 to $14,862 for the quarter.
Johnson, however, took in $46,500 from special interest political action committees, (PACs) from May 17-June 30 alone. Bjorkman refuses to accept PAC money.
Bjorkman says that he and Dusty Johnson are very different candidates with very different approaches to seeking office and serving. So far in this campaign, Johnson’s campaign has already spent over three quarters of a million dollars. Records show that an independent Super PAC unaffiliated with Johnson’s campaign spent an additional $310,000 during the Republican primary in “dark money” ads against pro-Trump conservative, Shantel Krebs.
Bjorkman says that his fundraising is a sign that people across party lines are fed up with the corrupt political money-raising system and hunger for change and reform.
“Once again this quarter, it shows that people are responding to my commitment to refuse all special interest money,” he said. “This election is a test. Who owns America; is it the special interests or ‘We the People?’”

Tim: Congress must act on tariffs

Tim: Congress must act on tariffs

Tim Bjorkman called on Congress to act, not talk, to prevent America’s farmers from being harmed further by a trade war sparked by recently imposed tariffs.
“There is a clear response available to Congress. Let’s remember: The United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, places in Congress the authority to levy tariffs and regulate international trade,” Bjorkman said at a press conference in Sioux Falls on Thursday, July 12. “The president is acting on statutory authority Congress delegated. The fact is, we need to re-establish Congress’s role as a check and balance on executive power in the way the constitutional framers envisioned.”
He noted that South Dakota’s farmers, ranchers, agriculture businesses and the entire state economy will bear the brunt of the casualties because they find themselves on the front lines of this trade war: “Our producers, stand to lose millions — the sharp decline in soybean prices alone is estimated to cost them $500 million,” Bjorkman said.
Livestock producers are being impacted also as China buys less American pork. Prices will drop, as will profits, he said. Dairy producers, already suffering from years of low prices, are seeing markets in Canada and Mexico closed to them.
Those market vacuums will be filled by other nations, Bjorkman said, and new trade patterns will be formed, causing long-range harm.
Producers may be able to rely on crop insurance or crops already sold under contract this year, but they may find obtaining operating capital much more difficult next year. The cost of these tariffs will be felt for some time.
Doug Sombke, president of the South Dakota Farmers Union, attended the press conference and praised Bjorkman for taking a strong stand against the tariffs. Sombke, a Conde farmer, said he was impressed Bjorkman reached out to him and asked for his input.
“Tim is on the right track,” he said.
He said he is seeing the impact of tariffs on both ends, as commodity prices slump while products he needs get more expensive. He recently bought a bucket for a loader and was told the price would increase 7 percent even before tariffs were imposed, because the dealer would have to pay that much more to replace it.
Sombke said he has twice contacted Republican congressional candidate, Dusty Johnson, on the issue but had not heard from him.
Mark Rogen, a former state senator and East River Electric board member who is a partner in a large dairy operation near Sherman, said the tariffs caused milk prices to plummet, costing them around $450,000 monthly.
Rogen said Bjorkman is doing the right thing to oppose the tariffs and urge Congress to act now.
South Dakota’s congressional delegation, Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds and Rep. Kristi Noem released a letter they sent to President Trump asking him to pull back from this economic battle. Rogen said they need to take Bjorkman’s advice and reassert congressional authority over trade.
”Congress has the power to do something about these tariffs,” Rogen said. “Writing a letter won’t do it. They need to act.”
Bo DeKramer, a Canistota row-crop farmer, also took to the podium to express his appreciation for Bjorkman’s stance.
Bjorkman said it’s vitally important to learn from history and not make the same errors.
“Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders, so we’re highly dependent on fairly negotiated and enforced trade deals, the kind forged in deliberate, sensible ways through negotiations that maintain predictability in markets, so essential to sound business planning,” he said. “These tariffs represent none of that, having been enacted by the administration over the objections of its own chief economist who quit over them.”
America erected trade barriers in 1930, which caused trade partners to retaliate. That contributed to a decline in international trade of 50 percent over the course of the Great Depression and likely made the Depression worse as a result.
“These tariffs almost certainly will not end well either,” Bjorkman said.
He said this is a time for action, not talk to protect farmers. Congress must use the authority granted to it by the Constitution, he said.
“The constitutional framers set up three branches of government for a reason,” he said. “They were intended to serve as a check and balance to one another. I think we are unwise to ignore that check and balance.”

Tim: Improve care for SD veterans

Tim: Improve care for SD veterans

SIOUX FALLS–South Dakota’s veterans and their families have earned the best care and support possible, Tim Bjorkman said Wednesday, July 11.
That’s not always what they are getting now.
Tim said he vows to work for nothing less in Congress. He met with Larry Zimmerman, the secretary of the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs, at the Sioux Falls VA Health Care Center on Wednesday, July 11.
“Secretary Larry Zimmerman graciously invited me to this briefing of the role the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs plays in serving our veterans,” Tim said. “I was impressed with the efforts of Secretary Zimmerman and his staff and their sense of service to our state’s veterans.”
Three issues stood out after the 90-minute meeting. Tim said he will raise a voice on all three during this campaign.
He said he will work to reduce the length of time for appeals to be heard on veterans’ claims. It can take up to seven years for a veteran to get a final decision.
That is simply unacceptable, Tim said.
Zimmerman said there is a plan to reduce the appeal process to 30-, 60-, 90- and 120-day periods and he supports that reform. Tim said he will support changing to that, especially after Erin Bultje, a program manager who advises veterans on appeals, said some veterans grow old and even die before a decision is reached.
Tim said he also supports fully funding a law passed by Congress to cover the gap in care-related bills for caregivers of veterans who served before Sept. 11, 2001. The law was passed, but no funding source created to close the gap between bills and money provided by Medicare and private insurance coverage.
Tim said he will seek to ensure Congress puts its money where its votes were. Caregivers play a crucial role and must be supported. There are 267,000 South Dakotans with ties to the military, either as those in the military now, veterans and their families. All deserve this coverage, Tim said.
He also wants to see improvement in the Veterans Choice Program, which is supposed to pay community health care providers if they provide services to veterans. All too often, the providers are not being paid and they then deny service to veterans.
Zimmerman, Bultje and Heather Bullerman, the claims officer supervisor in Sioux Falls, said they are seeing improvements in Choice, but realize it has let veterans down in the past.
Zimmerman said while the state department does all it can for veterans, some counties only have part-time veterans officers, which means assistance can be at times difficult. He said adding 14 full-time staffers to his department would be a major improvement.
Bultje said the agency has focused on working to reduce veteran suicides. Six South Dakota veterans have committed suicide so far this year, and the number has been tragically high in recent years.
South Dakota Joining Forces serves veterans, members of the military and their families to help them find the help they need, at times in an emergency setting. They have increased outreach efforts and work closely with county and tribal veterans officers.
“The hardest thing they do is walk through the door,” Bultje said.”We’ll do the rest.”
Tim said he admired the efforts of Zimmerman, Bultje and Bullerman, all veterans.
“That’s some of what I did as a small-town lawyer,” he said. “Helping people navigate the shoals of life.”
Tim said he will be an advocate for veterans in Congress. It’s a personal issue for him, since three of his sons are veterans who served during the Iraqi War era. He said he knows many other South Dakotans who served their nation, and they must have the full support of their government.
“We have to start paying more attention to make sure we’re serving our veterans as faithfully as they served us,” he said.