I first encountered Kat through the Facebook campaign page of her father, Arik Bjorn, the Democratic nominee currently running against Congressman Joe Wilson in the 2nd District of South Carolina race. I was very impressed with Bjorn’s extraordinary daughter, and her father kindly allowed me to interview her. Here’s what happened when we sat down at a local burger joint.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Kat Bjorn. I am eight years old, and I’m in third grade. I totally love reading, and you can almost always find me with a book. I really like sports. Currently, some of my favorite sports events are soccer, horse-riding lessons, and swimming. My dad’s starting to teach me a little bit about basketball.
What’s it like to volunteer on the Bjorn campaign?
Well, I really like to volunteer on his campaign because I, at age eight, get so many great awesome opportunities to meet people and go places, and I’m so grateful to have those opportunities.
I’ve met Congressman Manning, Jim Clyburn, Joe Wilson, so many different people. Once we were going to a fish fry, and we stopped at a bus stop bench. My dad will approach anyone with a business card or a sticker. Dad stopped to say hello, but I was hiding behind him. This man was kind of lonely and just sitting there staring. I realized there’s nothing to be afraid of. If they don’t look like me or you, or talk like you or me, they’re not weird. They’re just different, and that’s good.
Also I’ve been on breast cancer walks with my mom, [to] tons of banquets, and today I just came back from a d…[she looks to her dad, and he helps her spell it out] domestic violence against women day.
What are your responsibilities in the campaign?
I’m my Dad’s campaign manager. [Bjorn coughs suddenly.] I’m his fashion designer. I have the responsibility of getting him awake. One time I found him asleep with his head lying on the keyboard, and his spoon filled with ice cream had fallen on his desk. I picked up the spoon and ate some. Then I had to shake him, then turn off the lights and tuck him in.
Also, I have the responsibility of making these bracelets. [She holds out her wrist with two bracelets made of stretchy rubber bands.] I don’t use a loom, so I just make them on my fingers. Each color stands for a different thing. Purple for Alzheimer’s and orange for against gun violence. I’ve given bracelets to many people including papa, Elizabeth Gray [a marathon runner and well-known advocate against domestic violence], and Pastor Dixon [currently running for the office of U.S. Senator for South Carolina]. He gets an orange bracelet because he’s really against gun violence.
Did you create the slogan of the campaign, “There’s a better way”?
Every so often me and Dad sit on the Capitol steps with a snack and talk about things like government and the flag that used to be there. And when Dad told me something that I’d be disappointed by, I’d say “But Dad, me and you know there’s a better way.”
You’ve stated that you want to be “the fifth woman president of the United States.”
Yes, because by the time I run, there will have been so many of them. Men can’t say that women can’t do anything important. But I’m also going to be a baker, pop star, zookeeper, Olympic swimmer, a horse rider, and taste tester.”
What do you think of Hillary Clinton’s chances of being the first female president?
I think she has very good chances. First she’s running against…[she crinkles her nose and eyebrows]. Well, you can get it by the look on my face. Donald Trump is mean and hates everybody except himself. He says breastfeeding is disgusting, but it’s actually much healthier than formula and saves a lot of lives.
What political issues are you passionate about?
I feel really passionate about animals, and I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up.
Also, the Carolina Pride Parade [SC Pride]. A lot of people think that if you’re different from them then you’re weird, but there’s nothing wrong with being different at all. I have a friend whose mom is married to another woman, and I’m fine with that. They are probably the coolest moms I’ve ever seen in my whole entire life.
So we walked [at the parade], and my dad gave a speech. Most politicians don’t say what they feel, only what voters will like. My dad doesn’t care if he only gets two votes, as long as he says what he believes is right. [She turns to Bjorn.] But don’t worry Dad, you’ll get thousands of votes.
[Bjorn: “You’re saying that just because I got you a milkshake.”]
I’m not going to deny that. [Everyone laughs.]
I also care about homework. We go to school and work our butts off everyday, then go home and work our butts off, and we don’t always have a lot of free time. I’m upset because you can’t run for president of the school in third grade; you have to be in fifth grade. I would probably win if the running age for president were lowered down to eight. I’m trying to change that.
I heard you created a new word—‘congressing.’ What does it mean?
Actually, it’s ‘congrismany.’ I’ll tell Dad to lay off on the ‘congrismany’ thing. Or I’ll tell Dad that he hasn’t been doing much ‘congrismany’ stuff. He spends a ¼ of his time working, ¼ doing ‘congrismany’ stuff, and ½ spending time with me. It means that I know that my Dad tries to spend a lot of time with me. He loves me, but he also works hard. Like right now, he could be going to some political event, but he chooses to come here with me.
[Bjorn: “Are we congressing right now?”]
No. Well…I’m ‘congrismany.’
What are your other thoughts on ‘congrismany’ activities?
When I go to school, I see people saying they’re Democratic, they’re Republican, they’re Greens. They don’t look up the facts; they’re kids, so I don’t blame them. But their parents don’t usually look up the facts. I’m just saying that if your Mom’s a Republican, then look up the facts, and you might be a Democrat. If you’re Mom’s a Democrat, then look up the facts, and you might be a Green.
What are the benefits of having a family member run for political office?
Ummm, I get the opportunity to see so many things at the age of 8. A lot of people see Bjorn signs all around, and then we get in a conversation. It could turn out that we’re really great friends.
An hour long interview is a long time to hold an eight year old’s attention, and Kat is quite a trooper. In conclusion, Kat took a trip in August with her dad to Washington DC, and she shared their experiences on Bjorn’s Facebook page.
Kat’s DC Diary, Entry 4
Today we went to Montpelier, the home of James Madison and Dolley Madison! Finally some information on a Founding mother!
When James Madison was elected president his opponent said, “i ran against Mr. and Mrs. Madison I would have probably won if it was just Mr. Madison”
She was very well educated for a woman at that time. she could read and write very well that’s what it should be like nowAdays to!
Equal rights for women!!!!!
Oh and by the way James Madison wrote the Constitution.
Actually it’s pretty important. Guess what? it’s the base of our government!
See you later S.C.!