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.

 

Tim calls for new congressional leadership in Fox News interview

Tim calls for new congressional leadership in Fox News interview

Tim continued his call for new congressional leadership in a Saturday morning appearance on Fox News.
“I think Congress is broken and both parties play a big role in that,” Tim said during an interview on “Cavuto Live.”
He is one of more than 50 Democratic candidates for Congress who have called for new leadership in their caucus in 2019.
Tim first called for leadership change in both parties in July 2017 when he announced his race for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He underscored that position while speaking with Neil Cavuto.
“We need to start sending people to Washington who are willing to put country over party again and work across the aisle on some of the biggest issues we face to help solve America’s problems,” Tim said. “It’s not happening. Both parties are responsible.”
Cavuto asked Tim if he agreed with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who wants to redo the tax cuts passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2017.
“Tax cuts are good,” Tim replied.
But he said he favored reductions that benefit the middle class without putting the nation further into debt. In this latest cut, 83 percent of benefits went to the wealthiest 1 percent, Tim said.
He said he wants to emulate the 1986 tax cuts passed with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. Tim said as a former “tax lawyer and judge,” he knows the best way to reduce taxes is with revenue-neutral tax cuts that help all people.
“The one thing both parties have been able to do, Neil, is spend us into debt,” he said. “We cannot keep doing that.”
Tim also talked about the need to aid people on the fringe of society, those who are not in the workforce largely because of dysfunctional upbringing. He said he saw many of those people come before him when he was a judge.
“They grew up without a lot of guidance in life, started school behind the others,” Tim said.
“They did not learn a work ethic and job skills, have little education and no hope,” he said. That’s a major reason, along with addiction fueled by the plague of meth use, that South Dakota’s prison population has grown at 30 times the population increase since 1978.
It’s costing everyone millions of dollars to send people to prison and pay government assistance, when the better answer is to help treat people’s needs and set them on the path to a productive and healthy life.
Tim, a Canistota resident, is running against Republican Dusty Johnson, who also was invited to appear on “Cavuto Live,” according to host Neil Cavuto, but did not respond. Independent Ron Wieczorek and Libertarian George Hendrickson also are vying for the seat being vacated by Rep. Kristi Noem, the Republican candidate for governor.
To watch the entire interview, click here.
For more information, go to timbjorkman.com
Tim to be interviewed on ‘Cavuto Live’ Saturday morning

Tim to be interviewed on ‘Cavuto Live’ Saturday morning

South Dakota congressional candidate Tim Bjorkman will be a guest on “Cavuto Live” on Fox News Saturday morning.

Bjorkman, the Democratic candidate for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, was invited Thursday to appear on the show. He is scheduled to be on at 9:30 a.m. Central time, 8:30 a.m. Mountain time.

Bjorkman will speak to Cavuto from a TV studio in Sioux Falls before heading to Yankton to take part in Riverboat Days.

Cavuto is a senior vice president, anchor and managing editor of business news for both FOX News Channel and FOX Business Network.

Bjorkman, a Canistota resident, believes Congress is broken and in dire need of fundamental reform to remove the death grip of special interests on Washington. His message is resonating with South Dakotans all around the state during his travels to more than 130 towns.

He will discuss those issues, and his belief that change is needed in congressional leadership in both the Democratic and Republican parties, on Saturday.
Tim preparing for Dakotafest forum on Aug. 22

Tim preparing for Dakotafest forum on Aug. 22

The first debate of South Dakota’s Nov. 6 congressional and gubernatorial campaigns will be held Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Dakotafest in Mitchell.
The Governors Forum is set for 10 a.m. and the Congressional Forum is slated for 1 p.m. Both will be held at the Dakotafest Education Building on the Dakotafest grounds, 2300 E. Spruce St. in Mitchell. There is a $10 admission fee for Dakotafest; you can obtain advance tickets for $7 at Dakotafest.com
The Governors Forum will include Democratic candidate Billie Sutton, Libertarian candidate Kurt Evans and Terry LaFleur of the Constitution Party. Republican candidate Kristi Noem was invited but has not accepted. It is scheduled for 90 minutes, with agricultural topics emphasized.
Don Norton, CEO of South Dakota Ag and Rural Leadership, will serve as the moderator.
The Congressional Forum will include Democratic candidate Tim Bjorkman and the other three candidates, Republican Dusty Johnson, independent Ron Wieczorek and Libertarian George Hendrickson. It’s a 90-minute debate focusing on agricultural issues.
Zippy Duvall, a Georgia farmer and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, will serve as moderator.
The Bjorkman campaign is inviting supporters to be there at noon to obtain seats and cheer for Tim. Free T-shirts will be provided. You also are asked to vote in the daily poll on the race conducted by the Farm Bureau. Go to the Hoop Building to vote; totals will be released on social media every day.
There is some construction in Mitchell, so the best route to the Dakotafest grounds is to get off Interstate 90 at Exit 330 on the west edge of town and make the three-mile drive over on 256th Street to 411th Avenue and then north to the Schlaffman Farm, where the event is held because there are width restrictions in place for the Burr Street construction project.
For more information, contact Tom Lawrence, communications director, Tim Bjorkman for Congress, at tom@timbjorkman.com or at 605-789-1605 
Tim: Include all candidates at forums, debates

Tim: Include all candidates at forums, debates

I’ve been disappointed to learn that two of the four members of the congressional race have been excluded from several of the scheduled congressional forums and debates.
George Hendrickson and Ron Wieczorek have worked hard to qualify for the ballot and are running on their convictions, which South Dakotans deserve to hear. The sponsors clearly have the right to invite who they choose, but I think they should invite all candidates who qualify for the ballot.
I am glad to hear the South Dakota State Fair Congressional Debate is now considering the addition of Ron Wieczorek and George Hendrickson on Sept. 2.
These are important opportunities both for candidates to address the people and for voters to learn what we stand for. I’ll be at every debate no matter who is invited. https://timbjorkman.com/

Tim was leader in refusing PAC dollars

Tim was leader in refusing PAC dollars

From the start of his campaign, Tim has refused to accept money from special interests and political action committees.

“I have put some of my own money into the campaign and I am relying on regular South Dakotans who will support a candidate who won’t be owned by anyone, and every day will do the business of the people,” he said. “I solemnly promise that I will not bow to the big money that controls Washington. If I had to raise money that way in order to win, I’d rather stay home because  I wouldn’t be any more effective for the people than those we now send.”

A growing number of candidates are taking that same stand against the cronyism, corruption and careerism that has bogged Congress down into a Swamp of ineffectiveness and political gamesmanship.

That is not how Tim is elected when he gets to Washington. A New York Times story out Monday, Aug. 13, shows that Tim was ahead of the curve on this issue.

“Campaign finance was once famously dismissed by Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, as being of no greater concern to American voters than ‘static cling,’” the story stated. “But since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 opened the floodgates for unrestricted political spending, polls have shown that voters are growing increasingly bitter about the role of money in politics.

“The issue is now emerging in midterm races around the country, with dozens of Democrats rejecting donations from political action committees, or PACs, that are sponsored by corporations or industry groups.”

To read Tim’s op-ed on the need for congressional reform, click here.

To read The New York Times story, click here 

 

 

Tim was one of first calling for new Democratic leadership

Tim was one of first calling for new Democratic leadership

Tim was among the first to call for new leadership in Congress. He did so in July 2017.

He is listed as one of 51 Democrats opposed to Nancy Pelosi serving another term as the Democratic leader. NBC News reported on Friday on the Democratic candidates demanding change in their party’s congressional leadership.

It’s a position Tim has taken, and repeated, for months. He is running a campaign based on change and fundamental reform and said Pelosi and other long-entrenched congressional leaders cannot be expected to fix the mess they helped create.

From the NBC News report: 34. Tim Bjorkman (D-SD-AL) Campaign website (3/13/2018)

“My first pledge is one I have spoken of since the day I announced my candidacy… that as South Dakota’s lone Congressman, I will not support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House or any other leadership position.”
Tim meets supporters at Sioux Empire Fair

Tim meets supporters at Sioux Empire Fair

Tim enjoyed a warm summer day at the Sioux Empire Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 8.

He was met with friendly smiles and handshakes as he moved across the fairgrounds on Agriculture Appreciation Day. It was the second straight day at the fair for Tim, who came out on Tuesday for Senior Citizen Appreciation Day.

On Wednesday, Tim spoke with Larry Kotat, 78, of Sioux Falls, at the gate. Kotat said he is ready for real change and is fed up with the same old song-and-dance from politicians.
Tim also stopped by the Democratic booth, where he chatted with a pair of legislative candidates, Margaret Kuipers and Teresa Ann Robbins, as well as volunteers staffing the booth.
A large blue Bjorkman banner hung from the top of the booth and people stopped by to express their support.
Ron Winkel, 79, of Sioux Falls, also chatted with Tim. They are old friends, and Winkel said he think Tim’s campaign is running well and he is impressed by it.
“I think he’s doing a good job,” he said.
Tim enjoyed a visit with Rundale Dobson of Sioux Falls, who was on a break while working at the fair. Dobson asked for a yard sign to show his support.
His friend Gwen Baudion of Sioux Falls was at the fair with her grandchildren Jamiah, 7, and Jalayah, 2, and also chatted with Tim. They were all smiles as they talked about the annual summer festival and the coming fall campaign, and they wished Tim well.
Steve and Doris Bushard of Sioux Falls also expressed their support.
“I’m for Tim!” Steve said.
He said he follows the news closely and is concerned about healthcare and social programs that help people in need, especially children. They said those are the people who need a voice like Tim’s in Congress.
Some people shook hands and moved along, but others engaged in lengthy discussions, eager to learn Tim’s positions and ask him about why he was running.
Tim toured the fair, stopping to chat with people and listen to their thoughts. It was a warm day, but the support of the people he came across was cool to see.
Bjorkman: Poll from noteworthy source shows tightening race

Bjorkman: Poll from noteworthy source shows tightening race

Congressional candidate Tim Bjorkman has narrowed the gap in his race for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, a new poll shows.
In addition, Bjorkman is within the margin of error in the Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey when voters are told more about each candidate.
The poll shows Republican Dusty Johnson leading Bjorkman 39 percent to 37 percent when the positions and backgrounds of both candidates are provided. In the initial head-to-head match-up, Johnson leads Bjorkman 43-33, with 14 percent undecided.
However, this lead is largely due to Johnson’s substantially greater name recognition, an advantage that will certainly decline as Bjorkman becomes better known.
While Johnson’s own recently released polling shows him with a 21-point lead, there are reasons to question those numbers. For unexplained reasons, the pollsters left out two of the four candidates who will appear on the November ballot, which may help account for the polling firm’s low accuracy ratings.
While Bjorkman’s pollster, PPP is ranked fifth for accuracy by FiveThirtyEight, which tracks political surveys, FiveThirtyEight ranks Johnson’s pollster, Public Opinion Strategies, near the bottom — 25th.
Additionally, an analysis from a Fordham University political science professor ranked Public Policy Polling as the most accurate polling firm in the nation for the 2012 presidential election.
“I believe our numbers accurately reflect the state of the race,” Bjorkman said Tuesday. “I am the underdog, but I knew that going into this race. We’re running with a purpose; we don’t accept PAC money of any sort and we want to fundamentally change the way elections are run. As this reliable polling seems to suggest, we are gaining ground every week.”
While most voters already are well-acquainted with Johnson, a two-time state office winner, less than half know Bjorkman, but those who do view him more far favorably than Johnson, suggesting that as the campaign heats up, voter sentiments will likely shift strongly to Bjorkman.
It’s also noteworthy that despite Republican voters’ familiarity with Johnson, even after he has spent over $750,000 so far on his campaign, he hasn’t won over 41 percent of Republican voters.
Additionally, Bjorkman runs relatively strong among them with 16 percent supporting him, another 16 percent say they’re unsure who they’ll vote for, and 9 percent supporting other candidates. And by a wide margin of 60-19 percent, voters are more likely to vote for Bjorkman after learning that he is refusing all special interest money from political action committees.
PPP surveyed 641 registered South Dakota voters, 53 percent of them Republicans, from July 19-20. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percent. The poll was conducted by automated telephone interviews.
The POS poll surveyed 400 people. There was no available breakdown by party.
The Johnson polling also shows that, while Johnson enjoys the predicted name recognition edge, he’s not liked as well as Bjorkman among those who have opinions of each man: Bjorkman enjoys favorability ratings of 4:1 in the Johnson poll, while Johnson’s favorability rating is half that at 2:1.
Tim has busy week in West River

Tim has busy week in West River

Tim headed west this week and discovered a gold rush of support in the Black Hills.
During a busy five days in western South Dakota, Tim held a successful meet-and-greet fundraiser, met with Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender, was interviewed four times and met with many South Dakotans.
The week started in Custer State Park, where Tim and Kay enjoyed the majesty of the state park.
“Enjoying a summer rain on the porch of the Game Lodge in Custer State Park!” he posted on Twitter. “This park in all its beauty is a testament to leaders with a vision for a better tomorrow for SD. I hope to be that same kind of strong, independent voice for a better future for us all in D.C.”
From there, Tim went to Custer on Tuesday, where he spoke at length with Custer County Chronicle reporter Ron Burtz on a wide variety of issues, campaigned at the Custer County Courthouse, and talked with people he met in town.
On Wednesday, Tim traveled to Rapid City, where he met with residents before going to the KOTA Radio studio for an intriguing interview with reporter Ian White.
That night, Tim hosted a well-attended meet-and-greet fundraiser at Murphy’s Pub & Grill in Rapid City. It was an opportunity to meet with people and discuss the issues that make this election so important.
Tim talked of the need for change and fundamental reform and listened to the concerns of voters who attended.
On Thursday, Tim started the day with an interview on “Good Morning KOTA Territory,” the most-popular morning TV news program in West River. He also recorded an interview for KOTA News reports later in the day.
He then went to the magnificent Prairie Edge in downtown Rapid City, where he was interviewed by Native Sun News reporter Richie Richards for the newspaper as well as for a segment on “Oyate Today,” a NSN television show.
“We need to take account of the connection between lack of access to healthcare and a lot of bad outcomes: untreated mental health issues, addiction, exploding prison populations,” Tim said in the interview. “Providing access to healthcare is the wise thing to do economically.”
Tim said he welcomed the chance to focus on Native American issues and detail his years of experience in working with and assisting Natives.
At noon, Tim had lunch with Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender, a former police chief now in his second term leading the city. They spoke for almost 90 minutes about the issues in this race and discussed the importance of communicating with people in person, through the traditional media and on social media.

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.