Tim: All Americans deserve equal rights

Tim: All Americans deserve equal rights

All Americans deserve equal rights and a seat at the table of opportunity in America, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual  orientation.

Those are the very rights promised to every one of us in the Declaration of Independence and made law in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I support those same rights and that same opportunity for members of the LGBTQ community.

It’s a bipartisan position. President Obama initiated, and President Trump has maintained, workplace protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for federal employees and contractors.

In addition, I’ll be a consistent voice against anti-LGBTQ violence, bullying and discrimination. Recognizing my commitment to Justice for All, Equality South Dakota endorsed my candidacy.

I will always work to protect the right of every American to be treated with dignity and respect in their communities, their workplaces and their schools.

Tim counting on strong Native American support

Tim counting on strong Native American support

Tim has had Native American friends, neighbors and clients for decades. He has a deep understanding of Native American history and culture and has dedicated a great deal of time this campaign to the Native community.

The Native Sun News strongly endorsed Tim, with publisher Tim Giago urging people to support him and help Tim win this fall. We are counting on a great outpouring of support from Native Americans this fall.

You can register and vote at the same time through Oct. 22. Here is information on voting in South Dakota this year.

Questions? Need help voting? Call 605-201-0866

ROSEBUD

Todd County Building, Mission, SD: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 AM-3:00 PM CT starting Tuesday, 9/25.

Trip County Courthouse, Winner, SD: Every Weekday 8:00 AM-5:00 PM CT from 9/21 until 11/5.

Mellette County Courthouse, White River, SD: Every Weekday 8:00 AM-5:00 PM CT from 9/21 until 11/5.

PINE RIDGE

SuAnne Big Crow Center, Pine Ridge, SD: Monday-Friday 8:00 AM-5:00 PM MT from 9/21 until 11/5.

Eagle Nest Life Center, Wanblee, SD: Monday-Friday 9:00 AM-5:00 PM MT from 9/24 until 11/5.

CHEYENNE RIVER

Veteran’s Building, Eagle Butte, SD: Monday-Friday 9:00 AM-3:00 PM MT from 10/22 until 11/2.

Dewey County Courthouse, Timber Lake, SD: Every Weekday 8:00 AM-12:00 PM and 1:00 PM-5:00 PM MT from 9/21 until 11/5.

Ziebach County Courthouse, Dupree, SD: Every Weekday 8:00 AM-12:00 PM and 1:00 PM-5:00 PM MT from 9/21 until 11/5.

STANDING ROCK

Corson County Courthouse, McIntosh, SD: Every Weekday 8:00 AM-12:00 PM and 1:00 PM-5:00 PM MT from 9/21 until 11/5.

YANKTON

Charles Mix County Courthouse, Lake Andes, SD: Every Weekday 8:00 AM-4:30 PM CT from 9/21 until 11/5.

SD music legends will play to support Bjorkman

SD music legends will play to support Bjorkman

RAPID CITY–They’re some of the most celebrated musicians in South Dakota history — and they’re coming together to perform for Tim Bjorkman.
Darla Drew “D.D.” Lerdal and her husband Don Lerdal and their friend and occasional bandmate Hank Harris will headline a concert for Tim on Sunday, Oct. 7.
A limited number of tickets, including some packages that offer special perks, are on sale now. They start at $25.
Bjorkman, a former circuit court judge and the Democratic candidate for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, will speak.
Amanda Lynn, a talented young musician who is also working for the Bjorkman for Congress campaign as an intern, also is scheduled to perform at the concert, set for 2-5 p.m. Food and drink will be available.
The concert will be hosted by longtime Democratic Party official Steve Jarding and his wife Brenda at their home at 9581 Clarkson Road in Rapid City.The Lerdals, who are the founders of the legendary act DD & The Fayrohs, and Harris are all in the South Dakota Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees. In fact, Don is in three times as a member of the Fayrohs as well as in acclaimed groups Ivory and The Apostles. Darla is in there twice as a performer and promoter, and Harris in there twice as one of The Fayrohs and a founding member of The Red Willow Band, widely considered the greatest band in state history. He recently learned he will be “indicted,” as he puts it, a third time as a member of R&B Supply.
The musicians appreciate the talent of their fellow performers.
“Having worked with Hank for over 25 years, I can say without question he is the finest vocalist I have ever experienced,” Darla said. “I say experienced because I am a bandmate and audience.
“Hank brings his soul to every song he sings. Let me explain that it is more than soul,” she said. “He has covered some songs for over 20 years in D.D. & The Fayrohs, yet somehow, he will find a new note or different phrasing for a song he may have sung 400 times. Who does that?”
Harris said he admires Darla’s singing and stage presence and is a fan of Don’s guitar playing and overall musical knowledge.
“Don and Darla are friends, bandmates and sterling human beings,” he said “Smart, engaged and I feel lucky to know and work with them.”
Bjorkman said he is pleased that such celebrated performers are supporting his campaign.
“I am delighted to have these wonderfully talented musicians perform for our campaign,” Bjorkman said. “This Rapid City concert is another opportunity for South Dakotans to join with us while having fun on a fall afternoon.”

Bjorkman joined The Last Call Band, a Sioux Falls group, for a rendition of “Sweet Caroline” during the Rally for All at Terrace Park, a picnic and concert in Sioux Falls on Sept. 7 as the crowd sang along.
South Dakotans are singing the same tune for Bjorkman, and you have the chance to join in the chorus on Oct. 7.
To buy tickets, go to timbjorkman.com/concert-tickets/
Tim: Medicinal Marijuana Has Value

Tim: Medicinal Marijuana Has Value

I view federal oversight of marijuana laws by the government to be overreach and an encroachment on states rights.

I believe the federal law prohibiting marijuana and limiting research on its medicinal value are wrong. Men, women, many children, war veterans and others appear to receive real help from marijuana in medicinal doses. It is wrong that they are kept from its benefits by antiquated drug laws.

So I support marijuana for medicinal purposes, in a form that doesn’t strip it of its medicinal benefits. I oppose marijuana prescriptions that simply allow an individual to buy a bag of grass or a joint.

I’m not a proponent of recreational marijuana legalization, but I believe the laboratory of the state should work its course on this issue.

Featured Video Play Icon

Interview: barriers to running for Congress

Kay and Tim Bjorkman sat down recently for interviews on a broad array of topics.  In this video, Tim discusses their personal decision process in entering a congressional race.  The challenge for candidates who refuse to be “bought” by special interests is simple:  How do you raise the necessary money to mount a campaign without accepting PAC money?

Tim presents his strategy, embodied in his campaign, for defeating special interest “swamp” influence.  The strategy relies on voter recognition of the huge threat PACs and Super PACs represent to our political system.  Tim’s vision is a template for how candidates across the country might succeed, while still remaining beholden only to the voters they represent.

As always, Tim holds hard to his outright refusal to take a single dime from special interests, and all those that use political donations as leverage to attain specific legislative goals.  Tim remains committed and beholden only to the people of South Dakota.,

Rally for All was fun for all

Rally for All was fun for all

Tim’s Rally for All in Terrace Park on Friday, Sept. 7, drew more than 500 people. They heard great live music from the Last Call Band from the El Riad Shine, dined on barbecue sandwiches and hot dogs while relaxing in the natural majesty of Terrace Park.

Tim delivered an off-the-cuff speech that explained why he is running and why the nation and state must return to the fundamental reasons the United States was created: To provide a voice for all, and opportunity for everyone.

Attorney General candidate Randy Seiler also spoke and Democratic candidates for the Legislature and county offices also were introduced to the cheers of the audience.

Tim’s emotional and powerful address was met with a standing ovation and he then chatted with folks, posed for photos — and not for $5,000 a picture, either, although one supporter delighted him with a fake $5,000 bill. It was an enjoyable day on the campaign trail and Tim joined the talented Last Call Band for a rendition of “Sweet Caroline,” with the crowd joining in on the chorus.

Here are some images from the Rally for All:

 

Featured Video Play Icon

Rally for All draws large, enthusiastic crowd

SIOUX FALLS—More than 500 people came together to celebrate an American tradition Friday in Sioux Falls, enjoying a picnic, great live music and a resounding message of the need for a return to our political roots.
Tim Bjorkman hosted the Rally for All at Terrace Park and spoke in the midst of a two-hour performance by the El Riad Shrine rock group The Last Call Band. The crowd, basking in an ideal late summer evening in the park, gave him a loud and long ovation after his remarks.
“This election is about values,” Tim said. “About our values. About who we are as Americans, as South Dakotans.”
That is why he chose to step down from the circuit court bench last year and run for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, he said. Tim said he and his wife Kay decided they needed to try to make a difference.
“We’re convinced that Congress is broken,” he said. “Both parties, nationally are responsible.”
A big part of the problem is elected officials who are more concerned about their next election than the next generation of Americans, Tim said. Instead, we need to be concerned about the kind of nation we leave behind.
The path to that future is by retracing our original steps as a country, Tim said.
“Our nation was founded on a simple, yet profound idea — that every person counts,” he said. “Our government was founded to protect life, liberty and that quintessential American trait, the pursuit of happiness.”
Tim said he wanted to restore the promise of America, the opportunity to succeed and build a full, productive life.
“We’re losng it in America today,” he said.
Tim said for too long, we have failed to invest in our neighbors, allowing untreated mental illness, addiction, a lack of education and healthcare, to build a permanent underclass where crime is all too common. It has filled our jails and prisons, reduced the number of people in the workforce and dramatically increased costs to taxpayers.
He said he saw it on the bench and on the parole board. It helped spur him to run for Congress. Tim said he is promoting healthcare for all, education and job training. All those will help build a stronger community and a thriving economy for all.
“We can do better and it goes back to the fundamental idea this country was founded on,” he said.
Today, politicians are addicted to special interest dollars and dependent on big donors who fund their campaigns. Candidates must choose if they will take part in that corrupt process, Tim said, or instead run for office with the help of friends, supporters and people who share their belief in change.
“You can’t fight against the special interests if you take their money,” he said. “So, I won’t take a dime of it.”
It’s a question of who owns America, Tim said.
“Is it the special interests or Wall Street?” he asked. “Or is it still We the People?”
Tim said he was dedicated to ensuring every man, woman and child had a seat at the table of opportunity.  That drew a loud round of applause.
The Rally for All was a free event, but supporters donated money after enjoying the music, good food and clear message of the need for change and reform. Tim wore a broad smile as he posed for photos for people, and he didn’t charge $5,000 for that, either.
He joined The Last Call Band for a rousing version of “Sweet Caroline” and people in the crowd, relaxing on chairs, blankets and picnic benches on the sloping terraces that give the park its name, joined in.
“What a beautiful day to be here in South Dakota,” Tim said.
Tim hosting Rally for All at Terrace Park on Friday

Tim hosting Rally for All at Terrace Park on Friday

Not invited to the political rally in Sioux Falls on Friday?

That’s OK. Tim Bjorkman invites you to join us at Terrace Park for a free weekend kickoff, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, September 7! We will serve food and soft drinks, and live entertainment is being planned as well.

The best part? It’s not $500 per plate — and there will be no $5,000 per person photo-ops, either! It’s all free. You may, if you wish, donate to the Tim Bjorkman for Congress campaign. A suggested donation is $5.

Photos with Tim will be available — and they won’t cost you $5,000, either! They’re free, too!

Last Call, a rock band based out of the El Riad Shrine, will perform starting at 5 p.m., which is when food service will begin in the upper shelter. Tim will speak starting at 6 p.m.

There are some benches and picnic tables at the bandshell, but bring lawn chairs and blankets and be ready to have a good time. Remember, you’re invited to the PAC-free people’s picnic!

Tim clear winner in State Fair Debate

Tim clear winner in State Fair Debate

HURON—Tim Bjorkman was the clear winner at the South Dakota State Fair Congressional Debate in Huron on Sunday afternoon.

Tim was declared the winner by about a 2-1 margin in a KSFY online poll, by Dr. David Ernest, head of the USD Political Science Department, who served as KSFY’s analyst — and judging from the applause that greeted Tim’s responses.

Tim called for South Dakotans to cooperate to solve problems — and to elect him to help lead reform in Washington, D.C.
“America works best when we work together,” he said in his opening remarks.
Tim said he would be an advocate for Social Security, farmers and all South Dakotans. He said the deep problems in Washington won’t be fixed by another professional politician. Instead, reform and change is needed.
Tim said by refusing all special interest money and running as a bipartisan newcomer to politics, he would provide a fresh voice in Congress.
“I will be, most of all, a strong independent voice for South Dakota and for all of you there,” he said. “I’m not happy with the way Congress has been running, and I don’t think you are, either. Let’s try something different.”
Tim said he would work from the middle of the political aisle, and would act to represent South Dakota.
The 90-minute debate touched on numerous issues as the four candidates for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives fielded questions from KSFY anchor Brian Allen, who served as moderator. They also made brief opening and closing statements.
The debate started with a discussion of tariffs, an issue Tim has repeatedly focused on this summer.
“I’ve been a steady, unwavering opponent of trade barriers imposed by tariffs,” he said.
He said trade wars ”start in one sector and spread like wildlife” and never end well. Tim said Congress must reassert its control over trade, a point he made before these new tariffs were imposed.
Republican Dusty Johnson disagreed then, he noted, although he has come around to some of Bjorkman’s positions. South Dakota’s congressional delegation has been largely silent, he said.
Tim noted there are two Farm Bills, with the version that emerged from the House of Representatives a highly partisan bill that benefits the wealthy and corporations at the expense of family farmers, young farmers and veterans who want to get started and conservation. Johnson favors that version,Tim noted, while he supports the Senate version, which is better for all.
“It will damage small communities,” he said, saying the House bill had come “directly out of the swamp.”
Tim said the economy has been tilted to favor the wealthy and that must be corrected.
“One family has the same worth as 130 million Americans,” he said, largely because of tax laws and other policies that favor the few.
“The first thing we have to do is get government spending under control,” Tim said. “We’re going incredibly, deeply into debt. We need to support working families, and not cut their Social Security and Medicare. We need to stand up for working families again.”
He said there are short-term and long-term problems with our immigration system.
“We’re using immigration, legal and illegal, to paper over a problem that 12 million of our fellow Americans are not in the workforce,” he said.
Tim said the workforce would be strengthened by helping people who are out of the system due to mental illness, addiction or other problems. The state has failed to provide available care, he said.
“Why haven’t we taken advantage if the federal held we’ve always been offered through Medicare expansion?” he said.
He said decisions made by the Daugaard administration, with Johnson serving as chief of staff, prevented people from getting the help they needed, turning away $300 million annually, tax dollars we had sent to Washington. He said he witnessed the impact of that when he was a circuit court judge.
Tim said he wanted to see the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election continue. Special counsel Robert Mueller must be allowed to complete his work and present a well-researched report to allow Americans to understand what happened.
“I have a deep respect for the rule of law,” he said. “Let the facts and the law be addressed. Justice is best served in that way.”
He said Johnson, who also supported a continuation of the investigation, is well aware of the interference, since he introduced Russian agent Maria Butina to a group of teenage Republicans in South Dakota, unaware of her mission in this country.
Asked how to reduce the nation’s $22.5 trillion debt, Tim said the tax cuts that were imposed in 2017, he recognized, “as an old tax lawyer,” that they would pile up more debt and largely benefit the wealthy. Johnson said he now favors finding reductions — but he supported the tax cuts then.
“This is what is wrong with Washington,” Tim said. “You can’t have it both ways.”
He said he would cut spending but protect Social Security. Johnson has indicated he supports reductions in Social Security, he said.
Tim said “it would be a huge mistake” to send private contractors to Afghanistan instead of American troops. In fact, involvement in wars around the world is a mistake in general, he said.
“We need to start investing in our neighbors, in their healthcare, in their education, in their lives,” Tim said.
He said the United States must support our ally, South Korea, and tread carefully when dealing with North Korea. Quoting President Ronald Reagan,Tim said we must “trust but verify” any agreement with that outlaw nation.
On abortion, Bjorkman, who has a pro-life stance, said he has been consistent on his views.
“I have been convinced my entire adult life that the unborn child is a human being,” he said.
Tim said we have done a poor job of taking care of vulnerable life both before and after birth and that must be corrected.
“We need to have a whole life pro-life view,” he said.
Tim said he supported continuing to provide healthcare coverage to people if they have a pre-existing medical condition, having seen people suffer and, in one case, die because of hassles with an uncaring process.
“We don’t want to return to those days,” he said. “We can do better. We cannot have people denied that coverage. It’s too crucial.”
Tim said he favored reasonable and intelligent solutions to reduce gun violence. He noted 60 percent of gun deaths are suicides, and 90 percent of those people suffer from mental illness. There is a growing need for a national effort to treat mental illness, he said, and to reduce access to items like bumpstocks, which can convert a rifle into a mass-murder weapon.
He said he was opposed to banning the use of weapons made from models downloaded off the internet, since it is already happening, while admitting it was a troubling issue.
Tim said when dealing with energy issues, we “have to first be honest with real science. It’s overwhelming that climate change is real, and is human-made and effecting the planet.”
He said he supports clean science, such as solar panels, both for environmental issues and to drive our economy.
Tim favored allowing driverless vehicles on the road, as did all four candidates. He said research and a steady, step-by-step process to create an efficient and safe system is the answer.
Tim said if elected, he would consider his term a success by being a voice and vote for reform, by standing up for Social Security, healthcare and against the special interests that control Congress.
“We need to bring down the costs of healthcare and we need to make sure it’s available to all men, women and children,” he said.
Republican Johnson, Libertarian George Hendrickson and independent Ron Wieczorek also took part in the 90-minute debate, broadcast live on KSFY and live-streamed on KSFY.com. It was held before a large audience at the State Fair’s Freedom Stage and is available at KSFY.com.
For more information, go to timbjorkman.com.
Tim talks ag issues with Tri-State Neighbor

Tim talks ag issues with Tri-State Neighbor

Tim provided detailed information on agricultural issues for a story in Tri-State Livestock News.

“We have been placed on this earth to be caretakers and leave this land in the same condition we found it instead of raping and destroying the land for profit. We need to work with farmers to incentivize them to use the best practices to preserve the land. The Farm Bill cuts money from conservation and shifts it elsewhere, but we need some common sense to protect the land for future generations. CRP is good for pheasants, for conservationists, for hunting and wildlife.”

He also offered thoughts on how to aid livestock producers and work toward better prices.

“I’ll be a fierce advocate for restoring Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). It’s just wrong for imported beef and pork to be passed off as a product of the United States of America,” Tim said. “This all just benefits the packers while putting consumers at risk and penalizing the men and women who produce and market locally grown meat. One way to help cattle prices — which have been impacted as much as several hundred dollars a head — is to reinstate COOL, and it will be a priority for me from the day I am elected.

“There are other factors artificially suppressing livestock prices. I’ll also fight for our South Dakota producers to amend the 1921 Packers & Stockyard Act to prohibit vertical integration in the livestock industry, which packers also use to keep prices low. It’s just wrong that the Battista brothers, in serious criminal trouble in Brazil for corrupt practices, and others like them should be able to own some of the largest livestock herds and use them to control prices by slaughtering their own livestock when prices are high, and buying and slaughtering livestock from family-scale producers when prices are low.”

Republican candidate Dusty Johnson did not respond to a request for questions.

To read the full story, click here.

For coverage of the forum, click here.

It’s the third time Tim has been interviewed by Tri-State Neighbor. In June, he expressed his concern over the Farm Bill slowly working its way through Congress and said it must benefit family farmers.

“(I’ve seen) some signs that we’re in for some longer term choppy waters today like they were in 1984,” he said. “How are we going to replace this generation of farmers with the next generation? Everything in this bill points to more big ag and less family ag.”

For a story on his call for a Farm Bill that gives family farmers a better deal, click here.

Keep dark money ads out of South Dakota

Keep dark money ads out of South Dakota

Everyone knows that our Congress is a mess, and one of the main reasons is the overwhelming power of special interest PAC money.

It’s mainly responsible for the Congress we have: one filled with people who place their own election and re-election above their duty to America, beholden to special interests and under the thumb of Big Business, which buys senators and congressmen.

And, as great an impact as PAC money has on our campaigns, another type of PAC known as Super PACs has had an even greater negative impact. Super PACs came about in 2010, as the result of the Citizens United court ruling. Instead of making contributions directly to candidates or political parties, these groups may spend unlimited amounts on ads for or against a candidate, so long as they don’t coordinate with a candidate. It can be hard even to know who’s behind an ad; that’s why they’re called dark money ads.

They have negatively changed American elections, as we witnessed in the June Republican primary in South Dakota. During the late stages, a moderate Super PAC funded by wealthy donors spent more than $310,000 on mailers and other dark ads in an effort to defeat conservative, pro-Trump Shantel Krebs. That expenditure was the second-most spent against any candidate in America this year. A Super PAC of Krebs supporters responded with some $55,000 of their own dark ads, but it was apparently too little, too late.

This is swamp behavior at its worst.

I was more disheartened when I read in the Rapid City Journal that Dusty Johnson admitted to having met months earlier with the special interest group behind the dark money ads against Krebs.

What transpired in that meeting?

According to a Federal Election Commission report, Dusty Johnson has already taken large sums from a PAC for the coal, sugar cane and bankers’ lobbies, among others. His most powerful donors, though, are the wealthy Koch Brothers, whose Super PACs, including Americans for Prosperity, are the most gigantic of swamp creatures, having spent more on dark money ads — by far — than any other Super PACs. They plan to spend some $400 million nationally to influence this election.

In South Dakota, their candidate is Dusty Johnson.

I realize the swamp will likely attack me with negative ads in the same way they blitzed Krebs. Is this the kind of congressional race we want in our state?

Here’s the good news: we can overcome the swamp and its power: they have the money, but together ordinary citizens have the votes, and united, we are stronger than all the special interests combined.

In order to overcome the power of Super PAC influence, we must commit ourselves to vote against the candidate who stands to benefit from any dark money ads we see. All this is one key reason I’ve refused to accept any PAC money. Period.

I reject it because you can’t fight the special interests if you take their money.

And I promise South Dakotans this: if someone tries to run dark ads against any candidate in the race, I’ll immediately do three things: publicly condemn the ads; call on the sponsors to stop running them; and urge voters to ignore them.

I invite Dusty Johnson to join me in this pledge. This election is a simple test: who governs America, the special interests and their PACs and Super PACs, or We the People?

Family farms at heart of Tim’s ag policies

Family farms at heart of Tim’s ag policies

My family has roots in the South Dakota soil. That’s why family farms are so especially important to me in this campaign, and will be a focus for me in Congress.

I grew up in a series of small towns, but we had numerous relatives and friends who owned and worked on farms. I spent time on them, doing multiple chores, including shoveling manure. That experience will come in handy in Washington, D.C.

When I study agriculture issues, I always look at how it impacts family farmers. They’re the ones who need a friend in Congress, a voice and a vote for them. Believe me, the wealthy have plenty of allies bought and paid for already.

Family farms make up the vast majority of our producers, with 98 percent of our farms family owned, according to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.

There are 31,800 farms, most of which have been owned by the same family for more than a century. They’re good, productive operations, with an average size of 1,374 acres, and 46,000 people work on them.

They do great work, which each farmer feeding 155 people across the world. They deserve someone in Congress who looks out for them and speaks up on their behalf.

The most glaring example is the multi-billion-dollar Farm Bill that is slowly making its way through Congress. It’s loaded with billions of dollars in subsidies for corporations and the rich, and all efforts to clean those up have been blocked by congressional leaders of both parties.

According to a Politico report, a bipartisan effort that included conservatives and liberals, with input from outside groups, proposed 10 amendments to the Farm Bill that would have capped two commodity support programs — known as Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage — at 110 percent of their projected cost. 

Among the ideas was to prohibit farmers with an adjusted gross income of $500,000 or more from being eligible for crop insurance premiums partially paid for by you, the taxpayer.

A means test for commodity and conservation assistance was also proposed. In addition, the subsidies for the sugar industry, which have been in place for more than 80 years and need to be reformed, were proposed for study.

We also need to raise the cap on conservation reserve program (CRP) acres. It’s at 25 million acres now, and it’s worth a look to see if placing more land in CRP would reduce our excess production and boost commodity prices.

They also would likely help the pheasant population in South Dakota, which would be good news for hunters, small towns where people flock to pursue our colorful state bird, and the South Dakota economy. 

But the people who run in Congress prevented these interesting ideas from receiving serious consideration.

We need a Farm Bill that’s design to help the farm, not the corporation.

I also favor a restoration of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). We should not allow imported beef and pork to be passed off as a product of the United States of America. They are not.

COOL for beef and pork was lifted in 2016 and that has, once again, benefited Big Ag while putting consumers at risk and penalizing the men and women who produce and market locally grown meat.

We need to restore COOL, and Congress has the ability to do so. I will work on that from the day I am elected.

Another concern is the trade war sparked by tariffs President Trump imposed this year.

That has been a serious mistake. It’s a result of Congress ceding ins authority on international trade. I favor restoring that congressional authority, and it would benefit our farmers and ranchers.

I made that clear in an interview with Black Hills Fox this summer.

“The trade war that is now burgeoning in which our American farmers, and cattleman, and hog producers, are being shoved onto the front lines of against their will. We’ve got a terribly soft farm economy right now. This is making it far worse. In my view, we need a congressman who will be willing to stand up and say that international trade under the Constitution, belongs to Congress under Article 1, Section 8.”

The trade war has lowered commodity prices, especially soybeans. A new report says farmers are once again producing a bumper crop, but many will hold onto it, hoping for better prices.

The problem is there not sufficient storage capabilities. Soybeans will be damaged if left on the ground, making a bad situation even worse. These are some of the byproducts of poor trade policies.

One solution is build more storage facilities, and once again, the tariffs come back to bite us, as steel and aluminum prices have risen sharply with tariffs put in place by longtime trading partners.

We must prepare for difficult days next spring, when farmers seek new contracts for their crops and also talk to bankers about operating loans. Congressmen, like farmers, must consider the long term impact of choices.

I’m also interested in helping younger farmers get started. As the average age of a farmer nears 60, we need to assist the next generation of stewards of our land. They face a daunting challenge with the price of land, livestock and equipment, and I promise to be in their corner.

These are all issues that South Dakota’s sole member of the U.S. House of Representatives must devote himself to in 2019 and beyond. One way to work on them is being being appointed to the House Agriculture Committee

We don’t have someone on that committee now and that has been a mistake. I will correct that next year.

It’s about planting an idea to work for our farmers and I plan to nurture that into a healthy crop of support for family farms. 
 
 
Campaign signs available across SD

Campaign signs available across SD

Looking for a Bjorkman for Congress campaign sign?
We have them available in cities and towns across the state and will add more towns as the campaign progresses. As the campaign heats up, it’s time to make your support for Tim known!
Here’s where and when signs are available.
Aberdeen 202 S. Main Suite 320 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. M-F
Beresford Ann Tornberg (605) 610-5360 or antornberg@yahoo.com
Britton Susan Wismer (605) 237-3086
Brookings 100 Main Ave. S. (basement of Hawley Insurance and Services) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F 605-633-1651
Chamberlain Karen Haynes 605-391-8166
Custer Mary Boots (605) 749-2225; (605) 515-9186
Deadwood Doug and Charlene Miller (605) 578-1215
Dupree Jean Farlee (605) 365-5485
Ft. Thompson Doris Kirkie 605-245-2817
Gettysburg Vic and Patty Beringer (605) 769-9924
Gregory Dan Andersson 605- 830-0740
Kimball Maynard Konechne 605-730-0462
Kyle Emily Bullbear 605-944-1510
Midland George England 605-454-0143
Mission Jim Colombe james@sddp.org, www.facebook.com/james.colombe, 605-201-0866
Mitchell Carl Koch 605-999-6546
Mobridge Rick’s Cafe  117 Main St
Montrose Jim Struck (605) 270-3676
Pierre Amanda Thronson 605-201-7535
Rapid City 605-415-9442
Redfield Chris Hansen (605)  472-0518
Salem: Leetta Bennett (605) 425-2336
Sioux Falls 1737 S Cleveland Ave. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. M-F, 605-553-4975 or kaleb@timbjorkman.com
Vermillion Lisa Terwilliger (515) 351-9578
Watertown 922 W. Kemp Ave. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F or BIllie Sutton campaign office 917 Ninth Ave SE (Hwy 212, next to Papa Murphy’s)
Winner: Donna Duffy  (605) 842-0859
Yankton Jay Williams yanktondem@gmail.com
Tim: Native American issues important to all

Tim: Native American issues important to all

I agree with The Native Sun News editorial about the need for candidates “running for the House of Representatives and for the Governor of South Dakota [to] know the demographics of this State and to understand that “Native Americans will turn out in the largest numbers ever because they are just plain sick and tired of politics as usual by the entrenched bureaucrats now running our government.”
I disagree, though, with The Native Sun News editorial that equated me with Dusty Johnson and other candidates whom your editorial stated know “little or nothing about the power of the Native American vote.”
I know and have had relationships with Native American friends and clients my entire life, and as a lawyer and judge developed a knowledge and appreciation of and for the Lakota culture. As a lawyer I know what it’s like to defend Native Americans in court, including for first-degree murder – and secure an acquittal. I’ve met and learned to know thousands of other Natives across the state as a lawyer, judge, and now a candidate for office.
So I made it a point when I announced for Congress as someone with no political experience or connections to reach out to Native Americans across the state as I’ve tried to do with other South Dakotans. I traveled to the Pine Ridge and Rosebud on multiple occasions and have met with members of the Rosebud Sioux, Oglala Sioux, Yankton Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux, Standing Rock Sioux, Flandreau Santee Sioux, and Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribes so far. I also have trips in the works to the Lower Brule Sioux and Crow Creek Sioux.
I have conducted town halls in Mission on the Rosebud (Jan. 13), in Eagle Butte on the Cheyenne for that community and Standing Rock (May 18), and on the Pine Ridge (May 25) and offered to come to other reservations and conduct them also.
In those town hall sessions I listened carefully to what each person who attended had to say, and answered every question asked until the questions stopped coming, then met individually and listened to stories until people were done.
I have heard seemingly unending accounts from those who have fallen through the cracks of IHS healthcare, something I saw on the bench for over a decade as well. I’ve heard their stories of failure to get basic healthcare even though our government has a federal treaty obligation to provide it. I’ve spoken across the state, not just on reservations, about the need to hold the government accountable for this travesty that is harming so many of our fellow citizens and spoken of the need to treat the meth and opioid epidemics as the national health crises they are rather than a ticket to prison.
I’ve listened to the many aspects of tribal jurisdiction issues, criminal justice issues, sovereignty problems, and a host of others.
In addition to the town halls we’ve held, I’ve met with Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Council members and toured their remarkable new healthcare clinic, and just this week met with tribal council members of Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. We will continue to hold meet and greets and other events across the tribal lands in South Dakota and will continue to listen to tribal members who live off the reservations in our communities across the state. Next Thursday, Aug. 2, we will be taping an appearance on “Oyate Today” and doing an interview with your newspaper in Rapid City.
Finally, I’ve fielded a large number of questions from Natives across the state on Facebook and on the campaign trail at fairs like Central States, the Sioux Empire and others.
While it’s important to sound the clarion about how Natives are crying out for a strong voice willing to stand up for them, it’s worth noting those who have already made their support clear. I’ve worked hard to be that voice and will continue to do that.
So please reconsider the accuracy of lumping me with any other candidates who haven’t shown the interest or dedicated the time to learning about issues important to Native Americans in our state.
I welcome your input and ideas. You can learn more about me and what I stand for by going to timbjorkman.com or our Facebook page @timbjorkmanforcongress to learn more, and send me your thoughts through both.

Tim sets tone at opening congressional forum

Tim sets tone at opening congressional forum

MITCHELL–Tim Bjorkman displayed his knowledge of agricultural issues during the opening match-up of the four candidates for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I stand with the farmer,” Tim said during the Dakotafest Congressional Forum in Mitchell on Wednesday, Aug. 22.
A packed house of around 200 people listened intently as Tim led the discussion during the 90-minute forum, sponsored by the South Dakota Farm Bureau and moderated by Zippy Duvall, a Georgia farmer who is the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Republican Dusty Johnson, a Mitchell resident, Libertarian George Hendrickson of Sioux Falls and independent Ron Wieczorek of Mount Vernon also took part in the opening forum of the campaign.
Tim stressed his years of working for farmers, ranchers and rural residents.
“I was one of those who fought to save the family farm in the 1980s Farm Crisis,” he said.”Farmers, ranchers, small business owners … these are the people I stood and fought for.”
He said during his career as a small-town lawyer, he won a wetlands case, stood up to big corporations that tried to bully South Dakotans, battled insurance companies to ensure his clients got a fair deal and dealt with rental agreements to make sure the law was followed.
Tim also decried the trade war launched by tariffs imposed this spring. He sounded an alarm on them in April during a speech in Mitchell, calling on South Dakota’s congressional delegation to work to reverse the tariffs, an idea so bad that President Trump’s chief economic adviser resigned when they were imposed.
Sen. John Thune and Mike Rounds and Rep. Kristi Noem did not act, and farmers saw commodity prices, already low for the past several years, further reduced. Congress must take back the power it has ceded to the president to handle international trade, Tim said.
The best way to fight a war, including a trade war, is with a broad international coalition the doesn’t allow trade violators like China to target one segment of one nations economy like our agriculture economy.
The idea of offering farmers and ranchers $12 billion to ease their losses is merely “hush money,” he said. It won’t serve to reopen trade agreements and routes that took 25 years to establish.
When farmers sit across from their bankers in the spring, they will face the harsh reality of the damage done by these tariffs, he said.
Tim also spoke of the two Farm Bills that have been debated in Congress. The House bill is a deeply partisan document that provides enormous loopholes for the wealthy. It barely passed, while the Senate version is more reasonable and was approved by an 86-11 vote.
Serious reform is needed, Tim said.
Tim said the House bill, if it becomes law, will hasten the decline of rural America and main streets while setting back conservation efforts.
He said this bill — and Johnson’s support of it – is a symptom of much that is wrong with Congress, showing the kind of laws that are passed when Congress is controlled as it now is by Wall Street and other special interests.
The wealthy already receive 73 percent of money from farm programs and 83 percent of the money provided by crop insurance. But they want still more, he said.
“It’s morally wrong, it’s reckless financially,” Tim said.
He also called for a reduction in regulation that over-reached and did not provide intelligent, reasonable solutions. It’s all too human to create more rules than are needed, Tim said.
But he said not all regulations are bad. One way to encourage farmers is to offer incentives, not by penalizing them.
He also expressed support for broadband, saying it has been great for rural areas, allowing people to live in the small towns and rural areas they love and work remotely. It also allows telemedicine to serve people in areas without adequate medical services.
We need to boost the family farmer and aid young farmers who want to get started. Conservation programs also deserve support, and Tim said he favored increasing the conservation reserve program (CRP) from 24 million acres to 31 million as well as promoting the use of buffer strips to reduce runoff.
We have been placed on this earth to be caretakers of it and to pass it on to the next generation in at least as good shape as we got it, he said.
Tim said it was sadly obvious the H-2A temporary farm worker program is a failure. Temporary visas are not the answer, he said, differing from Johnson’s response.
Tim said one answer to the workforce shortage is to lift up the 10 million to 12 million Americans not working or even seeking employment. He said people such as these came before him in the more than decade he served as a circuit court judge.
Tim said America must focus on treating people suffering from mental illness and addiction.
“We can’t push the problem down the road again,” he said, noting it was not what people had ever heard at a political event before.
Tim repeated what he has been saying since he launched his campaign in July 2017: Fundamental reform and change is needed in Congress and across all levels of government.
“Washington is broken. Both parties are failing us,” he said. “I think it’s time for change in Washington.”
He reiterated his opposition to the congressional dues system, and pointed out he favored term limits for both senators and representatives, while Johnson has only called for term limits in the House.
Tim said the goal was to “light a fire” under members of Congress to get them to do the work of the people and then go home. Prohibiting them from raising money while in session is another needed reform. He repeated his call for new congressional leadership in both parties.
Tim said South Dakota’s next congressman must help lead an effort to return the people to power and get rid of the special interests who control Congress with contributions to candidates and elected officials.
“You can’t serve two masters,” he said several times in the forum, drawing applause from the audience.
Tim said Johnson was not his target. Despite some spirited exchanges, they get along fine, he said.
“My opponent is the special interests and big party bosses in Washington,” he said.
Tim said he wants to represent South Dakota in Congress, not the special interests who wrap their tentacles around elected officials and control them from the wings.
“I ask you to give me that opportunity to be your voice there,” he said.

Click here to read the Mitchell Daily Republic story,

The Mitchell paper profiled Tim earlier in the week. To read that story, click here.

 

Pro-Life for the Whole of Life  

Pro-Life for the Whole of Life  

To my fellow South Dakotans, here is my position on abortion.

I am pro-life. When I use those words it means that I believe in supporting and ensuring a dignified life for the whole of life, from the womb to the grave.

As a former judge, I also respect the rule of law and I recognize that today, based upon constitutional rulings, the right to an abortion is allowed by the law and that it will remain the law until either the Supreme Court changes it or a constitutional amendment is passed. And despite all the talk from politicians, no member of South Dakota’s current congressional delegation has offered such an amendment on the floor of Congress, nor has any such amendment reached the floor of Congress in over 30 years.

The competing rights involved and the vast divergence of how reasonable people see this topic are what make it an achingly difficult and highly divisive issue.  Yet, the sad reality is that the abortion debate is only one of several issues that have polarized us as Americans.

And we’ve allowed our differences to keep us from working together on problems we can agree exist and can address.

We need to apply generous doses of tolerance and respect for the differences in one another’s views, which often spring from deeply personal life experiences. Then we must put our heads together seeking ways we can move forward together.

We have not done a good job of caring for vulnerable young lives on either side of the birth process. Abortion and our failure to care for vulnerable children in dysfunctional homes all across America are twin problems that represent different sides of the same coin. Think of this: there were around 900,000 abortions in 2014. In addition, an estimated 2,000,000 more children last year suffered from abuse or other maltreatment that will have a profound impact on their lives.

Re-establishing a respect for vulnerable, young life only begins by outlawing abortion, because ending legal abortion without adding protections for pregnant women will not only result in other harms; it also won’t resolve this deeper cultural disrespect that fails to protect our most vulnerable children after birth.

That’s why we should think not just about laws that outlaw abortion but about laws that protect life and ensure its dignity.

To do that we must develop meaningful measures to help women — especially those who are poor and abandoned — who find themselves pregnant, including protection from workplace and educational discrimination.  And it means confronting some of the factors underlying the decision to abort by ensuring access to prenatal care and quality childcare, encouraging family leave; eliminating discrimination against pregnant workers; improving the adoption process, and ensuring that all Americans, including children and their caregivers, have affordable healthcare.

This is the path to a life of dignity for each vulnerable child.

An approach that simply outlaws abortion but fails to address our troubling infant mortality rates, food insecurity, abuse and neglect, and poor academic outcomes among poor children isn’t worthy of the label ‘pro-life.’  The person who is truly pro-life actively works to protect vulnerable children born into highly dysfunctional homes, to ensure our collective responsibility to protect and educate them so that they have a fair shot at a decent life, because that person realizes this: they are ALL our children.

It is the right thing morally, but it is also the fiscally responsible thing to do, because it’s the surest way to narrow the road to school failure and prison, and to widen the path for those children to become responsible citizens.

Only this sort of whole life approach can make a movement authentically pro-life.

There is more. While both sides have debated the abortion issue for over 40 years, each side has too often taken its collective eyes off the underlying problem in the abortion debate — unintended pregnancy — which has, ironically, mushroomed since 1973. Consider these numbers: among adults with no more than a diploma — who are mostly low income – the unintended birth rate is startlingly higher than that of all other Americans, and is now stunningly more than twice that of the emerging world average!

Those numbers help explain why today in South Dakota, 47 percent of births are paid for by Medicaid. And why about 2 in 3 mothers with a high school diploma or less raise children in single-parent homes. And why 70 percent of children born to never-married parents grow up in poverty, at high risk for academic failure.

Fiscal responsibility alone should cause us to ensure that every adult – including those who cannot afford them – have access to contraceptives that will prevent pregnancy when not trying to conceive.  

This is particularly important among those struggling with addiction. As a judge, I witnessed the unspeakably tragic pattern of unintended pregnancies for children entering the world from the womb of a mother addicted to meth, after the state government had ended the mother’s Medicaid eligibility because she no longer had a minor child in the home.

How can we say to the child born to a meth-addicted mom that she has been given a fair shot at life?

Regardless of one’s views on abortion, we should be able to join forces to actually confront the root of the problem: unintended pregnancy, a condition that has reached epidemic proportions among impoverished women in this state and nation, and that profoundly impacts our economy, our families, and our most precious resource: our children. No less than the preservation of the American Dream for millions of our children is at stake in how we respond to this challenge.

The path forward for our state and nation is to ensure a life with dignity to every child.

Thanks for reading.