The Contrast Between the Tim Bjorkman and Dusty Johnson Campaigns is Striking

The Contrast Between the Tim Bjorkman and Dusty Johnson Campaigns is Striking

CANISTOTA—Both the Tim Bjorkman and Dusty Johnson congressional campaigns released their FEC reports today, “and the contrast between the two couldn’t be more striking,” Bjorkman communications director Tom Lawrence said.
“Many more South Dakotans contributed to Bjorkman’s campaign than Johnson’s, with 1,880 South Dakotans contributing unitemized contributions (under $200) to Bjorkman, and only 510 unitemized contributions for Johnson,” Lawrence said. “Bjorkman’s average donation was $126; Johnson’s was around $500.
“South Dakotans are responding to our campaign far more than Dusty’s,” he said. “It’s the well-off and well-connected who are responding to Johnson. It’s the everyday people of South Dakota who are responding to Tim.”
Bjorkman raised $261,442.69 during the third quarter of this year, according to a report released Monday. His primary opponent, Dusty Johnson had half as many donations.
Johnson did raise more money in the third quarter — more than $540,000 — by relying on larger donations from fewer people, and $143,000 in PAC contributions, which Bjorkman refuses to take.
“The reason that Tim refuses to take PAC contributions is because he knows that it comes with strings attached,” Lawrence said. “The special interests that have given Dusty over $200,000 in PAC money aren’t giving to him for any other reason than they want to whisper in his ear their instructions about how they want him to vote. This is the reason why healthcare is unaffordable for so many South Dakota families, why pharmaceutical prices are up to 10 times what citizens in other countries pay for them, and why our government in general favors the wealthy and well-connected over everyday South Dakotans.
“South Dakotans will have a real choice to make on November 6th, whether to send someone to Washington who will fit right in with the corrupt, failed status quo in Congress, or send someone who will fight to reform the system which so clearly doesn’t work for so many of us,” Lawrence said.
Bjorkman, a fifth-generation South Dakotan who lives in Canistota, is a former circuit court judge in his first race for a partisan office.

Tim details goals at congressional forum

Tim details goals at congressional forum

Tim detailed his goals for South Dakota during a forum in Sioux Falls on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
He described the challenges the state and nation face and what steps he would take to address them. Tim also sounded a note of optimism, saying South Dakota was a place dear to his heart.
“We have one of the greatest places on the face of the earth to raise a family,” he said.
But there is a lot of work to be done to preserve that, Tim said, including providing affordable healthcare for all, fixing the broken criminal justice system to return people to the workforce and restoring government to We the People, not the special interests who dominate it now.
Tim took part in a congressional forum sponsored by Americans for Prosperity-South Dakota, as did Republican Dusty Johnson, Libertarian George Hendrickson and independent Ron Wieczorek. About 100 people attended the event at the Sioux Falls Convention Center, which also was streamed live on the AFP Facebook page.
Augustana University Government and International Affairs/Political Science assistant professor Dr. Emily Wanless moderated the forum. All but the last question were written by her students, she said; she drafted the final one.
Tim said healthcare is the most pressing issue facing the nation.
“It has its tentacles all through government costs,” he said.
The answer is a bipartisan solution that obtains broad consensus to repair the system, he said. It would reduce spending and help balance the national budget while also reducing the burden on law enforcement.
Lack of access to healthcare is the “chief driver” in sending people to prison, Tim said. It helps explain why South Dakota’s prison population has grown at 30 times the rate of the state’s population.
A failed effort to clean up the problem by Gov. Dennis Daugaard, undertaken when Dusty Johnson served as his chief of staff, is an example of how government has failed to address and correct the problem, which only can be done by providing treatment appropriate for the needs of troubled people, Tim said.
Until that happens, law enforcement agencies will be burdened and taxpayers will have to cover the costs of these failed government choices.
Tim, who served on the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Parole, said 90 percent of South Dakota’s prison inmates have substance abuse issues. In addition, two-thirds failed to obtain a high school diploma and 68 percent did not grow up in a home with a father present.
It’s that cycle of unstable family lives, addiction, untreated mental illness and crime that has harmed the state and helped convince Tim to step down from his post as a circuit court judge to run for Congress.


During the 90-minute forum, he discussed how these problems have arisen and how they can be handled.
“Crime’s biggest enemy is a stable home, an education and job skills,” Tim said.
Methamphetamine has been “a scourge on our state,” he said. Meth has fueled a spike in crime and its production, distribution and use must be attacked and reduced.
But South Dakota has failed to address these concerns.
“It’s a fundamentally broken system,” Tim said. “It’s been used as a political football for far too long.”
Asked about the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” Tim said it was a “very imperfect first step” to address a problem that has existed for more than a century.
The primary problem, he said, is the inflated cost of health care, double what other developed nations pay for their care, because corporations, especially Big Pharma and Big Insurance, are making Americans pay far too much.
The cost of healthcare is $1.5 trillion annually. That should be cut in half, he said.
“That would about balance our budget even with the reckless spending we’ve seen this year,” Tim said. “We’re paying dearly for it. We can do it much more efficiently.”
He said it’s crucial the state has a strong advocate for family farmers and ranchers and he wants to serve on the House Committee on Agriculture.
Tim said he had consistently warned of the dangers of the trade war sparked by tariffs.
“I believe in free trade, but only if it’s fair trade,” he said.
Damaging trade relations will have a long-term impact, he said.
“Once they get severed, they’re very, very difficult to reestablish,” Tim said. “We’re going to see repercussions all across the Midwest.”
All this has caused great economic harm to farmers and ranchers, he said, with soybean producers losing $600 million off a crop of 270 million bushels due to the sharp decline in prices. More will face difficulties in the spring when they seek operating loans, Tim said.
As many as one in three may find banks declining to provide them with such capital, he said.
Tim has three more opportunities to face Johnson. They will debate the issues at the City Centre Holiday Inn in Sioux Falls at noon Monday, Oct. 22, in an event sponsored by the Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary.
They will meet again on Thursday, Oct. 18, on South Dakota Public Broadcasting, with the event taking place at the SDPB Black Hills Studio, 415 Main St. in Rapid City. It’s set for 7 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, 8 p.m. Central.
Their final debate will take place the next day, Friday, Oct. 19, at the KELO-TV studio, 501 S. Phillips Ave. in downtown Sioux Falls, at 7 p.m. Central time, 6 p.m. Mountain.

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 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: 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/