March 23, 2016 | Posted in:News
Below are news stories relevant to the Second Congressional District of South Carolina and my campaign for Congress, as well as some of my published essays and articles that represent my worldview and political philosophy.
TEDx Talk: “To Be Revolutionary, or not To Be Revolutionary” (YouTube, 4-2-17)
On April 2, 2017, I presented a TEDx Talk at TEDxHammondSchool on the subject of political revolution and our 2016 campaign for South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District.
“SC Democrats Mull Next Move After Big Losses on Election Day” (The State, 11-12-16)
Undeterred, Arik Bjorn said he plans to run again. He said he would consider taking on Joe Wilson, challenging for Republican state Rep. Kirkman Finlay’s S.C. House seat or running for governor in 2018.
“The vast majority of people run for city council or school board, a much smaller seat the first time,” Bjorn said. “I jumped into the big ocean because nobody else would, and now I have the accumulated experience of 12 years packed into eight months.”
“Electoral Defeat Only Emboldens Arik Bjorn to Fight On” (ColaDaily, 11-10-16)
“I know I have established myself as a person of reason who has thought through the issues carefully, someone who takes stands on what he believes to be a better way,” he said. “The funny thing is, tomorrow morning when we wake up, Joe Wilson will still have voted no on the Violence Against Women Act, and unemployment in the district will still be 8.5 percent. Unfortunately, 62 percent of the people seem to be fine with that.
“In 2018, I want people to be nervous,” Bjorn added. “I want (GOP state Rep.) Kirkman Finlay to be nervous. I want anyone who wants the governor’s mansion to be nervous. I want Joe to be nervous…. There are a lot of options out there (for me).”
“The people of S.C. Congressional District Two did not have a viable other candidate for years,” Bjorn added. “They have one now. They have an outspoken leader in me. And when I say leader, really I just say the light of reason that’s in all of us. I’m just willing to express it and carry the burden of certain work.
“Incumbent Joe Wilson Keeps U.S. House Seat” (Aiken Standard / 11-09-16)
“I’m proud of what we’ve done. I want to thank the people of District 2 for voting. I’ll go to bed tonight knowing that I put 100 percent of my effort into this campaign,” Bjorn said.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE NOVEMBER 4 DEBATE ARCHIVE!
** BJORN & WILSON SQUARED OFF ** ENOUGH’S ENOUGH AT RIVER BLUFF **
The debate begins at the 8-minute mark. If you really want to watch some fireworks, watch Arik Bjorn’s firework finale remarks at the 1:22:00 mark.
Also: “Post-Debate Interview” (The State / 11-04-16)
Also: “Wilson, Bjorn Square Off in Policy-Heavy 2nd District Debate” (The State / 11-04-16)
“Conversation with the Candidates: SC District 2” (South Carolina ETV, “Palmetto Scene” / 10-27-16)
Click the link above to watch the full “Palmetto Scene” candidate interview, hosted by Charles Bierbauer. (Joe Wilson lies about his “NO” vote on the Violence Against Women Act at the 23:00 mark.)
“2nd District Debate Going Live on YouTube” (The State / 10-30-16)
Voters in South Carolina’s 2nd District can watch their congressional candidates debate live on the Internet Friday.
“Wilson Ignoring State’s Infrastructure” (The State / 10-23-16)
I believe it’s clear that Congressman Wilson just doesn’t give a dam. Or a bridge or a road.
When it comes to infrastructure investment, Status Quo Joe can’t pin pothole tails on Donkeys. He has only the Elephants in the room to blame.
“Elections 2016 Cover Story” (Free Times / 11-2-16)
Arik Bjorn, Wilson’s Democratic opponent, works the crowd while Wilson speaks. “Joe lied about voting for the Violence Against Women Act,” Bjorn tells a pair of people bent over their udon and spicy pork. “The other day on ETV.”
This is Bjorn’s issue of the week: knocking the incumbent over his 2013 vote against a bipartisan bill that renewed and expanded resources for fighting domestic violence…A Wilson spokesperson says the congressman voted against the final version.
“District 2 Congressional Candidates Square Off in SCETV Appearance” (ColaDaily / 10-29-16)
Bjorn: “Standing for limited government has worked so well that last night 300,000 people reclined without healthcare in our state. The poorest of the poor. We’re not going to expand Medicaid expansion (in South Carolina). Just in our district alone, you can fill Williams-Brice Stadium over and again with 90,000 who don’t have healthcare. One in seven don’t have jobs. You have a Republican-controlled governor, General Assembly, most of the delegation to the federal government, and we’re in tatters. Our infrastructure is rated an “F” by the American Society of Civil Engineers…. We have such limited government we have no structure around us. The fact of the matter is, government has a job to do. It’s to link and protect individuals and communities and industry. And when it does its job, it’s a powerful, effective force. And when it doesn’t do its job, that’s what we see in South Carolina.”
“There’s a Better Way: Infrastructure Investment Paves the Way for Prosperity” (Forward Progressives / 10-22-16)
As I reflect on the one-year anniversary of the 1,000-Year Flood, it appears clear that Joe Wilson just doesn’t give a dam. Or a bridge or a road.
South Carolina has more than 1,800 deficient bridges—and 7 of the Top 10 most-traveled, deficient bridges are in South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District. One-third of South Carolina’s interstate pavement is classified as “fair or poor.” One-third of the dam breaches in our state during the Historic Flood occurred in Congressman Wilson’s SC District 2 backyard—on his watch. An unchecked watch that has lasted 7 terms and 15 years.
Joe Wilson hasn’t done his job. But I will vote to invest in Infrastructure in South Carolina, and by doing so, we can eliminate unemployment and keep our state safe.
“S.C. Dems Talk Trump, Election System and Platforms at 2nd Congressional District Town Hall” (The Star / 10-20-16)
On infrastructure, Bjorn called the deficient roads and bridges nationally and in South Carolina a “crisis.” “We have an infrastructure that needs to be fixed today, not tomorrow,” he said.
“Trade Plays Outsized Role in 2016 Election, Even in S.C.” (Free Times / 10-19-16)
Arik Bjorn, Wilson’s Democratic opponent, also opposes TPP, noting that Congress will only get an up or down vote on the deal. He calls the international tribunal a deal breaker: ‘I don’t know who that doesn’t concern other than the corporate attorneys who get to sit on that tribunal,’ he says.
However, Bjorn credits Obama for his work on the agreement, saying we need to manage China’s power through our own agreements with other Asian-Pacific countries: ‘China has a plan and it’s a very long term plan, and the U.S., rarely do we craft a plan more than two, four, eight years out, based on election cycles. What I believe President Obama was attempting to do was craft a plan that recognizes China on the global economic chessboard.’
“Unorthodox Debate Set for 2nd District Congressional Candidates” (Cola Daily / 9-26-16)
“And having students asking the questions is fantastic,” Bjorn said. “I think it’s the perfect environment to address the future voices, the future voters of the district,” Bjorn added. “I’m very, very excited to address our future workforce. On them hinges so much responsibility for our prosperity. They deserve to know, as much as anybody else, our platforms.”
“Democrats Take on Republican Incumbents for Congress Against Odds and Expectations” (The Post & Courier / 9-24-16)
For their part, Cherny and Dixon have teamed up with Bjorn and Hyman to form the “Blue Brothers,” providing a support system on the campaign trail when money, manpower and resources can’t come through. … Arik Bjorn, a librarian who managed the StateSmart Program, is going up against U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, a firmly-implanted establishment figure with a 15-year tenure.
“Wilson, Bjorn to Debate at River Bluff High School” (The State / 9-22-16)
Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, Democratic Columbia librarian Arik Bjorn and American Party candidate Eddie McCain will square off on Nov. 4 in front of a crowd of roughly 800 students at River Bluff High School.
“‘Sick of Waiting,’ SC Democratic Candidates Face Tough Odds” (The State / 9-18-16)
Arik Bjorn of Columbia says a look at the 2012 ballot inspired him to run for the 2nd District seat in the U.S. House this year. “I walked into my poll and it was (Republican incumbent) Joe Wilson versus nobody. That moment had a lasting impact for me,” said the Richland librarian, who won the Democrats’ June primary for the 2nd District seat.
Bjorn said Democrats have to “wake up” and start running for offices, even if it means losing. “Who cares how impossible the district seems? Will nobody stand for democratic principles?”
“At Annual Aiken Fish Fry, Democratic Candidates Urge Party Members to Make S.C. a Blue State” (Aiken Standard / 9-16-16)
Speakers during the Aiken County Democratic Party’s 12th annual Fish Fry on Thursday night urged the audience to work hard and try to turn South Carolina from a red state to a blue state. “In South Carolina, the barbarians aren’t at the gate,” said Arik Bjorn. “They own the gate, and they will continue to own the gate until we get over our political depression and know that we can win.”
“Women Know There’s a Better Way, so Does Arik Bjorn” (Bonded / 9-13-16)
South Carolina, home to the Bonded headquarters, is also home to one of these change-makers who knows “there’s a better way.” Arik Bjorn, candidate for South Carolina’s Second Congressional District, is a single father, public servant, writer, and progressive candidate running on a platform that includes, among other things: infrastructure, healthcare, worker’s rights, and of particular interest to us, women’s rights.
“‘Blue’ Democrats Make Early Morning Stand in Georgetown” (South Strand News / 9-13-16)
Four newcomers to South Carolina politics fished for votes Saturday at a dawn press conference in the middle of the Pee Dee River as fishermen and crabbers tried their own luck nearby.
“SCETV Won’t Televise SC’s Fall Election Debates” (The State / 8-31-16)
We urge you to contact SCETV’s Director of News & Public Affairs if you think our state public television network is not serving your needs in this matter.
“U.S. Congressional Candidates Joe Wilson, Arik Bjorn Agree to Debate” (ColaDaily.com / 8-30-16)
A political newcomer is hoping to shake up the Republican grip on South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District.
Long-time incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) has accepted a debate challenge from his Democratic opponent Arik Bjorn, a 43-year-old public librarian from Columbia making his first-ever bid for elected office.
“Congressman Wilson wants to discuss the issues important to South Carolinians, and our campaigns are working out the details” of the debate, Wilson campaign manager Brielle Appelbaum confirmed by email.
“2nd District Showdown” (The State / 8-20-16)
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson and his Democratic opponent in this fall’s general election have agreed to a debate, Columbia librarian Arik Bjorn told The Buzz.
Radio Interview (Frank Knapp’s “U Need to Know” / 8-9-16)
We’re always happy to swing by Frank Knapp’s show, and any program that has SC Equality as a sponsor! The interview begins at the 5-minute mark.
Radio Interview (Frank Knapp’s “U Need to Know” / 8-9-16)
We’re always happy to swing by Frank Knapp’s show, and any program that has SC Equality as a sponsor! The interview begins at the 5-minute mark.
“Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)” (Hosted by The Political Revolution / 7-28-16)
VOTER: If you had to pick your SINGLE most important policy stance or issue, what would it be and why?
BJORN: If I had to pick one, I would say…
“SC Democrats Kick Off 2016 Election Campaign” (The State / 7-22-16)
Among the more high-profile S.C. congressional races: Librarian Arik Bjorn is running against U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, in the 2nd District…
“I Don’t Want to Buy an Orange Shirt—But I Know I Must” (Forward Progressives / 7-14-16)
In late May, I reached out to my good friend, Pastor Thomas Dixon, the Democratic Party-Green Party fusion candidate for U.S. Senate in South Carolina….
“Republicans Blamed for Narrow Democratic Primary Victory'” (Free Times / 6-22-16)
Bjorn isn’t upset about the narrow margin, either. “At this point, it will serve as a template election, a poster boy to all South Carolinians that every vote matters,” Bjorn says.
“Bjorn Narrowly Wins 2nd District Primary Over ‘Fake Democrat'” (The State / 6-18-16)
Librarian Arik Bjorn on Saturday officially clinched the right to face veteran U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, a Lexington County Republican, in the Nov. 8 general election. … “We’re really excited that for the first time in a long time, the nominee for the 2nd Congressional District is going to be a real Democrat,” S.C. Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison said.
“Bjorn Certified as Democrat 2nd District Winner by 45 Votes” (WLTX 19 / 6-18-16)
Arik Bjorn has been declared the winner of the Democratic primary in South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional race by 45 votes out of more than 19,000 cast. The South Carolina Election Commission certified the results Saturday afternoon after a recount mandated by law.
“Technical Glitches Delay Recount in 2nd District Democratic Primary” (The State / 6-17-16)
Librarian Arik Bjorn and semi-retired hardware store owner Phil Black must wait until Saturday to learn which of them will face veteran U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, in the Nov. 8 general election. Arik Bjorn has been declared the winner of the Democratic primary in South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional race by 45 votes out of more than 19,000 cast. The South Carolina Election Commission certified the results Saturday afternoon after a recount mandated by law.
“Bernie-Inspired Congressional Candidate Wins Endorsement by SC Democratic Party” (Huffington Post / 6-13-16)
The South Carolina Democratic Party has endorsed Arik Bjorn for South Carolina’s Second Congressional District over his Democratic Primary opponent, a former Republican, Phil Black. The South Carolina Democratic Party called Bjorn an “excellent Democratic candidate” who “strongly supports Democratic party positions on issues.”
“Fake Democrat? Black Faces BJORN, Party in 2nd District Primary” (The State / 6-9-16)
Arik Bjorn: “Phil Black is a down-the-line Tea Party republican who is trying to hoodwink the voters of South Carolina’s District 2.” … “The [Democratic] Party has endorsed Bjorn in the primary – something it has only done once before….”
“Chair Chats with Arik Bjorn and Dimitri Cherny” (Chair Chats / 6-1-16)
South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison sits down with SC 2nd Congressional District candidate Arik Bjorn and SC 1st Congressional District candidate Dimitri Cherny.
SC Democratic Party Takes Unusual Step of Endorsing Candidate in its Own Primary” (South Carolina Radio Network / 5-31-16)
“South Carolina’s Democratic Party has taken the unusual step of endorsing only one of its two candidates running for Congress in the district that includes Columbia and Aiken.”
SC Democratic Party Backs Bjorn in Primary: Party Calls Phil Black a “Fake Democrat” (Free Times / 5-27-16)
“Party chair Jaime Harrison confirmed Friday morning that the party’s executive committee voted Thursday to endorse Arik Bjorn over Phil Black. A resolution passed by the committee calls Black ‘a “Fake Democrat” who ran as a Republican in 2008, 2010 and 2012 and exhibits none of our Democratic values.’ It also cites a May 11 Free Times article in which Black called himself ‘a Democrat on paper.’”
SC Dems Endorse Bjorn (Orangeburg Times & Democrat / 5-27-16)
“The SCDP typically does not endorse candidates during the primary, but this is a unique situation and requires unique and bold action and leadership,” SCDP Chairman Jaime Harrison said.
Arik Bjorn Brings Fighting Spirit to 2nd District Congressional Race (Lexington County Chronicle / 5-26-16)
Lexington County Democratic Party Chair Randy Herald: “Arik understands that the purpose of government is to do for us what we cannot do individually. This begins with taking care of our national security and especially the men and women who provide that security. He also supports the infrastructure which provides South Carolinians the means to compete on a world stage, whether it be highways, healthcare, or education. The future of our state and country is in building up, not tearing down. Mr. Bjorn embodies the Democratic ideals of citizen-oriented service.”
U.S. House Candidate Arik Bjorn Speaks at Aiken Democratic Meeting (Aiken Standard / 5-21-16)
Bjorn is a public librarian and former manager of the South Carolina SmartState Program, an economic development program that produced jobs and industrial-academic partnerships throughout the state. … “We used to use the term ‘civil servants’ to describe government officials. I’m a servant of the people every day, and that’s how I envision going to Washington,” Bjorn said. “We’ve lost the sense of public service. I will be your public servant and your foot washer.”
Radio Interview with “Let Your Voice Be Heard!” (WHCR, 90.3 FM, New York City / 5-22-16)
“Let Your Voice Be Heard!” at WHCR 90.3 FM in New York City talks with South Carolina 2nd Congressional District Candidate Arik Bjorn about his campaign to unseat incumbent Republican “Status Quo” Joe Wilson.
Fight Trump and Joe “You Lie!” Wilson While You Still Can (Forward Progressives / 5-16-16)
When South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison spoke at this year’s historic 140th Galivants Ferry Stump—the oldest and most famous Democratic Party stump event in the United States—he went to the political woodshed for a quote that could not be a clearer sign of the times to all Democrats from sea to shining sea…
Bjorn’s Opponent: “I’m a Democrat on Paper” / 2nd District Primary a Headache for State Dems (Free Times / 5-11-16)
Bjorn says [his opponent] is “misrepresenting his own political philosophy on the ballot.” … “I think he’s a dishonorable human being,” Bjorn says. “He’s a sheep in wolf’s clothing. At least we know where somebody like Ted Cruz stands, or even Joe Wilson — and it’s hard to be more dishonorable than Joe Wilson.”
Meet the Progressive, Bernie Sanders Supporter Running for Congress in South Carolina (Huffington Post / 5-3-16)
“I remember sitting in the booth, and looking at the ballot and seeing ‘Joe Wilson unopposed’,” said Arik Bjorn, Joe Wilson’s progressive challenger. “Nobody has the right to waltz off to Washington on my watch.”
Remarks to the 2016 South Carolina Democratic Party Convention (4-30-16)
I have been told multiple times that my campaign truly is David versus Goliath. People often forget that, with his slingshot, David was not a disadvantaged warrior. He was in fact an expert positioned to win. As such, the stones in my pouch are the true principles of the Democratic Party—the building blocks of Civilization. With these stones, I am positioned to win. For these stones have always felled giants and barbarians when thrown with precision and force. In the coming weeks, I will not hesitate to sling these stones. Philistines, take heed. …
2016 AFL-CIO Congressional Candidate Questionnaire (4-9-16)
Years ago, when I lived near the White House, I used to take long evening walks. Always I would stop and contemplate artist Lumen M. Winter’s amazing mosaic mural at AFL-CIO headquarters. …
*** PRESS RELEASE ***: Arik Bjorn Announces Candidacy for Second Congressional District of South Carolina (3-31-16)
Press Release at Midlandsbiz (3-31-16)
COLUMBIA, S.C., – At the Lexington County Democratic Party Executive Committee meeting, Arik Bjorn publicly announced his candidacy for South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional seat.
Reps. Sanford, Mulvaney draw primary challengers in South Carolina (The News & Observer, NC / 3-30-16)
Two Democrats filed to compete for the right to challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Joe Wilson … Columbia writer Arik Bjorn, who has run the S.C. SmartState program.
Two Democrats File for Congress (The Times and Democrat / 3-25-16)
Arik Bjorn and Phil Black have both filed for the District 2 seat.
A Link for Our Future: An Independence Day Address to the People of South Carolina (Forward Progressives / 7-4-15)
Let us make this moment a proud moment in our history, so that someday our children can tell their children, “I remember when South Carolina chose a better way.”
Inspired by Bernie: Let Those Who Can, Run in November ’16 (Forward Progressives / 2-28-16)
Whoever wins, be it Bernie or Hillary, the Democratic Nominee will need my voice in my community, in my district, in my state. And the Democratic Nominee will need your voice too. They’ll need our voices.
What is Reverence for Life? (personal blog)
I asked my daughter for her own definition of Reverence for Life. She thought about it and replied, “Just taking one life or saving one life matters to all the life around it.”
There’s a better way.
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