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.

A comprehensive solution to immigration issues

A comprehensive solution to immigration issues

Immigration is an issue that has torn this nation apart for far too long.
We need to reach a comprehensive solution that resolves the issues relating to those here illegally, strengthens our borders, ensures a strong vetting process and monitoring of those who seek to enter the country on a visa, and respects the rights of lawful immigrants.
As a nation of immigrants, America has always been a beacon of hope for those who seek
freedom and justice. That must never change. Immigrants are an essential and vibrant part of the American saga.
The vast majority of those who come to America leave everything they know behind to give their children a better life. Most, naturally want to cling to their own traditions, but their children want to learn the ways of their American friends.
We must also address the reality that we have millions here illegally, yet be mindful that for years we did not enforce our laws, largely because of businesses’ desire for a ready, cheap labor force.
Something else has happened over the past 50 years: legal immigration rates have significantly increased our immigrant population from around 5 percent in 1970 to 14 percent today.
The immigrant workforce – legal and otherwise – while supplying businesses with reliable labor, has allowed us to ignore deep problems that have developed in American culture among those who lack more than a high school diploma. This additional workforce also tends to suppress wages of working Americans, which have remained stagnant over the last 40 years, despite enormous gains in worker productivity.
Today in America, there are an estimated 10 to 12 million Americans of working age who are neither working nor looking for work. Some key reasons are: untreated mental illness, addiction, lack of a work ethic or a felony record that makes it hard to find a job.
We are supporting them and their children through our government aid programs, and their absence from the workforce hampers economic expansion. Worse yet, their children often struggle academically and themselves fail to learn a work ethic, and, importantly, personal
responsibility.
Unless we address their plight, those of the generations who follow us will not be able to afford the monetary or the societal costs they will bear.
All this means that we must address the pressing and divisive issues of immigration in a way that is humanitarian and also respects our laws and its borders. I support these tough but sensible measures:
1. A grace period of 12 months for every adult in the nation illegally to apply for permission to remain working in the country, without a path to citizenship – the price of illegal entry – so long as they hold jobs and have no felony record.
2. Strengthening border security with continued development of the decade-long border fencing program, smart walls and increased numbers of border agents.
3. Institution of federal laws making it a crime to hire an illegal alien, imposed against a company’s CEO, with the first offense constituting a misdemeanor-level offense, but the second a felony level crime, with a defense for any company that used E-Verify showing lawful status.
4. Enacting laws that allow those who came here as children of those here illegally to remain in this country and apply for citizenship if they meet basic requirements and have no felony record.
5. Reducing the number of legal immigrants over the next decade and at the same time focusing on efforts to restore adult Americans not in the workforce to working status, so that they are supporting themselves and their children.
If we’re serious about ending illegal immigration, let’s show it by enacting and enforcing stronger laws that honor legal immigration but safeguard our borders and nation.

Tim: Medicinal Marijuana Has Value

Tim: Medicinal Marijuana Has Value

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

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

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

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

Rally for All was fun for all

Rally for All was fun for all

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

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

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

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

Here are some images from the Rally for All:

 

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.
Keep dark money ads out of South Dakota

Keep dark money ads out of South Dakota

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

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

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

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

This is swamp behavior at its worst.

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

What transpired in that meeting?

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

In South Dakota, their candidate is Dusty Johnson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.”
To read the whole story, go to https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/democrats-opposing-pelosi-n899536