|Name||Relation to the Campaign||Amount to Date||Contribution Dates|
|Dwight Fettig||South Dakotan||$500.00||3/30/18 – $500|
|Haroon Khan||Former Tim Johnson Staffer, Friend of adviser Drey Samuelson||$500.00||12/31/17 – $500|
|Earl Pomeroy||Former North Dakota Congressman||$500.00||3/31/18 – $500|
|Tom Daschle||Former South Dakota Senator||$5,400.00||2/14/18 – $2700, 6/27/18 – $2700|
|Greg Billings||Father of a Campaign Intern||$250.00||8/31/18 – $250|
|Nikki Heidepriem||South Dakotan||$500.00||8/31/18 – $500|
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.
I’m glad that President Trump has finally made good on allowing the sale of E15 fuel year-round, even though it appears to be a political effort to shore up support in the Midwest. It reflects what members of both parties have been calling for in this state for months now, obstructed by former EPA head Scott Pruitt.
Adding more ethanol to our fuel is one good way to give slumping corn prices a boost and to use American product, rather than Middle East oil.
South Dakota family producers need a strong voice and dependable vote for them in Congress, free of the special interests and national party congressional leaders. That’s why I won’t ever take a dime from oil and fossil fuels companies, or any other special interest. You can’t stand up to the big interests that control Congress if you take their money.
I will be a strong advocate for veterans in Congress.
I have a deep commitment to veterans’ issues and our family, like hundreds of thousands of fellow South Dakotans, understands the commitment to selfless service our veterans have made. Three of our sons are Army veterans who served deployments in the Iraqi War era. Veterans must have the full support of their government. I am committed to serving our veterans as faithfully as they served us.
Here are some of my positions and commitments on veterans’ issues.
I am opposed to privatization of the VA. The VA understands vets and we need a veteran in charge of the VA.
Reduce the length of time for appeals to be heard on veterans’ claims. It currently can take up to seven years for a veteran to get a final decision. It is unacceptable that vets are waiting that long for ruling on a disability.
Fully fund 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 was created to close the gap between bills and money provided by Medicare and private insurance coverage.
Improving 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.
I will fight to preserve the Hot Springs VA facility.
I will fight to provide the VA with the necessary staffing and professionals.
Retired pay restoration act. We need to disconnect retirement pay from disability.
I support a marijuana study for treating PTSD, removing the federal classification which makes marijuana use a crime, and I support doctor-prescribed, pharmaceutically dispensed medicinal marijuana. We need to start looking at herbal treatments and allow research.
I support a veterans court.
SIOUX FALLS—You have to see Tim in action in a parade to appreciate his passion, his drive, his energy.
Of course, he’s had a lot of experience. Tim has walked — and ran — through parades across South Dakota since he announced his candidacy for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2017. For 15 months, he has crossed the state, shaking hands, slapping high-fives and engaging with South Dakotans.
The latest example was Monday in Sioux Falls during the inaugural Native American Day Parade. Tim was among the first to accept an invitation to the parade, which honored Native elders, including grand marshal Tim Giago, whose newspaper the Native Sun News endorsed Tim this summer.
Tim Giago, whose Lakota name is Nanwica Kciji, pushed for South Dakota to change Columbus Day to Native American Day and was able to persuade Gov. George S. Mickelson to do so in 1989, as they teamed to proclaim 1990 as a Year of Reconciliation in the state.
The two Tims took part in the parade, with Giago, perhaps the most acclaimed Native American journalist in the nation, hailed by the hundreds of people who attended the downtown parade in cool, wet conditions. Giago rode through the parade, waving to the assembled crowd.
Tim Bjorkman, however raced up and down the route along Phillips Avenue.
“Hi, everybody!” he called out. “Tim Bjorkman. I’m running for Congress. How are we all doing?”
The crowd responded with smiles and cheers.
“Go, Tim!” a woman called out.
“Good luck!” another woman shouted to Tim as he went past, offering handshakes and high-fives as he rolled along.
Native American issues are a vital part of the campaign. Tim has reached out to Natives throughout the campaign and has received warm support from the people he has met at parades, wacipis and other events.
It was a special day for the former Circuit Court judge and fifth-generation South Dakotan. Monday was Tim’s 62nd birthday but he didn’t take the day off.
Instead, he walked and ran along another parade route, continuing a campaign to represent all South Dakotans and bring reform and fundamental change to Congress. That’s what drives Tim.
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.
I traveled across western and north-central South Dakota last week.
On Friday, we stopped at 14 communities, meeting people in cafes, bars, a sales barn and on the street. I sat for newspaper interviews, chatted with folks and learned what issues and concerns they want addressed by their next congressman.
It was in keeping with a September sweep across South Dakota. I visited more than 60 communities in every corner of the state during the month. We may be outspent by our Republican opponent, who is taking money from special interests and political action committees, which Tim has refused to do, but we won’t be out-worked.
On Thursday, Sept. 27, I met with the Rapid City Journal Editorial Board, two days after sitting down with the Argus Leader Editorial Board in Sioux Falls. After discussing why I am running and what issues and beliefs make me a new kind of candidate with the Journal staffers, I spoke to the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association at its 127th Annual Convention and Trade Show.
I found them very receptive and enjoyed hearing their thoughts. When I said he strongly supported a restoration of the Country Of Origin Label policy, the stockgrowers rose to deliver a standing ovation. It was a marked contrast to their feelings about Dusty Johnson, who opposes COOL.
“We need to restore COOL, and Congress has the ability to do so,” I have repeatedly said. “I will work on that from the day I am elected.”
The next day started in Whitewood, as I met with folks at the local coffee shop and listened to them as they explained their concerns with workforce development and putting South Dakotans back to work.
From there, it was on to the St. Onge Livestock Auction, where I talked with general manager Justin Tupper and his father, Kimball Mayor Wayne Tupper. Ag issues are a primary concern in this campaign, as I have has stopped at elevators, sales barns and fairs to ask farmers and ranchers their thought and advice.
We then headed to Nisland, followed by a stop in Newell, where he chatted with Doug Wallman, a local electrician, and Bret Clanton, a rancher and photographer. Clanton is a Republican, but like many people in the GOP, he supports me, introducing us to people at Saloon No. 3, where we had lunch, followed by a local bank, grocery store and hardware store.
From there, we headed to Reva and Meadow, Bison, Shade Hill and Lemmon, where I was interviewed by LaQuita Shockley, owner and editor of The Dakota Herald. Chad Peterson, my scheduler and regular traveling companion, and I also toured the famed Petrified Wood Park & Museum.
Then it was back on the road, as we headed to Keldron, Morristown, McIntosh and McLaughlin. We made a stop in Mobridge before heading on to Aberdeen as midnight approached.
Saturday meant the Gypsy Days Parade as Northern State university celebrated its homecoming. It was a wet and cool day, but I found a warm reception at the Gypsy Days Parade.
This campaign has involved long hours and a lot of travel, but it’s also been enlightening, educational and a lot of fun. We plan to continue at this pace in these closing days as we connect with South Dakotans.
The Oct. 7 Rapid City concert and rally for Tim Bjorkman has been rescheduled to be part of statewide tour in the closing days of the campaign.
Tim will hold a rally in Rapid City as he travels across the state before the Tuesday, Nov. 6, election. The tour will cover the state and include stops at numerous towns.
In Rapid City, Tim will rally his supporters at a site to be announced closer to the date. Music, food and drink will be part of this celebration of a campaign of change and reform.
Tim will end the tour in Sioux Falls on the eve of the election, Monday, Nov. 5. Once again, music, food and drink will be part of the event as Tim thanks his supporters as they prepare for the big day.
The Oct. 7 concert and rally was rescheduled for several reasons.
Tim’s packed schedule that weekend, with Dakota Days in Vermillion on Saturday, followed by the inaugural Native American Day Parade in Sioux Falls on Monday morning, led to the decision.
The arrival of earlier-than-normal cold conditions in South Dakota also made holding an outdoor concert challenging.
All tickets sold for the show, which would have featured South Dakota Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Famers Darla and Don Lerdal and Hank Harris, have been refunded.
Tim has made many appearances in Rapid City and the Black Hills during the campaign and will return in his pre-Election Day tour.
For more information, go to www.timbjorkman.com.
The Gypsy Days Parade in Aberdeen was held on a cool, damp Saturday. The crowd, however, was warm and welcomed me and our campaign team to celebrate Northern State University’s Homecoming.
Walking down the parade route, I enjoyed meeting our supporters, exchanging high-fives and handshakes, hearing words of encouragement from people who back our campaign of reform and fundamental change.
The Wolves have a great deal of support in Aberdeen and across South Dakota. My son Sam, our co-campaign manager, lives in Aberdeen with his wife and children, so I have a special place in my heart for the Hub City.
“It was cold and wet in Aberdeen but I enjoyed another great Gypsy Day Parade!”
But we also wanted to show our support for other South Dakota colleges that celebrated homecoming. We had entries in the Trojan Days Parade in Madison to help cheer on Dakota State University on its big day, and we also had people wearing Bjorkman for Congress T-shirts marching in the Swarm Days Parade in Spearfish to help Black Hills State University marks its Homecoming.
Members of Tim’s Team attended Homecoming Parades in Canistota, Beresford and Chamberlain. We want to share our message with South Dakotans across the state and are appreciative of the towns and schools that welcome us to their events.
School spirit is a wonderful thing to feel and witness. We enjoyed the opportunities to cheer on South Dakotans this week!
“Thanks to the whole team, volunteers and staff alike for a great weekend all the parades!”
Tim will take part in a congressional forum sponsored by Americans for Prosperity at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3.
Tim’s supporters are asked to attend this free event at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. Just register at AFPCongressionalForum.com.
Admission will be on a first-come, first-seated basis.
There are strict rules for this event.
The audience must remain silent during the entire 90-minute forum, although they may applaud at the start and finish. Cameras are not allowed and all phones must be shut off.
No campaign T-shirts, stickers, pins or other material may be worn, displayed or made visible. No campaigning will be allowed before, during or after the forum.
Tim will be joined at the forum by Republican candidate Dusty Johnson, Libertarian George Hendrickson and independent Don Wieczorek. Dr. Emily Wanless, an Augustana University political science assistant professor, will serve as moderator.
The forum will focus on economic and regulatory issues, which may touch on trade, healthcare, jobs and the economy, infrastructure, veterans’ issues, taxes and spending, criminal justice and immigration.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Charles Mix County Courthouse, Lake Andes, SD: Every Weekday 8:00 AM-4:30 PM CT from 9/21 until 11/5.
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.