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Incumbent Julie VanOrden faces Jerry Bingham in primary race for District 30 senator

Julie VanOrden. | Courtesy photo
BLACKFOOT – Incumbent Julie VanOrden is being challenged by Jerry Bingham in the race for District 30 senator.
District 30 includes all of Butte and Bingham Counties.
Click here to view VanOrden’s campaign website. sent the same eight questions to each county candidate. Their responses, listed below, were required to be 250 words or less. is publishing the answers in their entirety and without grammatical or style editing.
Bingham did not respond to the questionnaire.
The primary election is May 21.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
VanOrden: I grew up on a farm in Bingham County, went to schools in Blackfoot, graduated from Blackfoot High School. Attended College of Southern Idaho, completed a data entry certificate program at ISU Vocational Technical School. I married Garth VanOrden, and we started our own farming operation. My family consists of 3 sons and 1 daughter, 2 daughters-in law, 3 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter. I started volunteer work in PTA and on the Snake River School Board when my children were growing up. In 2012 I ran for the Idaho Legislature, winning a seat in the House of Representatives, I served there for 3 terms. I was assigned to the following committees: Education, Commerce & Human Resources, Agriculture, Natural Resources.
During the 2022 legislative session I substituted for Senator Steve Bair eventually running for and winning his Senate seat in the 2022 election. I have been serving as the chairman of the Health & Welfare Committee and as a member of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee.
Why are you seeking political office? Briefly explain your political platform.
VanOrden: I am running to be involved in policy decision making for Bingham and Butte County in the Idaho legislature. Representing Legislative District #30 in the Idaho Senate is a responsibility that I take serious. Researching the effects of each piece of legislation is a large part of what I see as the job of a legislator. Working and collaborating to share information that myself and others have received from constituents commands a developed skill set. Being able to listen, ask questions, and give input are what brings forth legislation that is pertinent to our state. I have never had an agenda in any office I’ve been in, my only political agenda is to support parental involvement, local control, free market enterprise, and limited government.
What are the greatest challenges facing people and communities in your district? What is your plan to meet those challenges?
VanOrden: One of the greatest challenges today is the rising costs of supplies and goods, I also see that our population is growing, and urban creep into agricultural lands is causing consternation.
We are lucky to have families within our communities that have taught their children how to grow a garden and prepare meals wisely are signs of self sufficiency and preservation.
Working together as a community I believe we can utilize and conserve our agricultural properties. Making sure proper planning is limited and creative will address the issue of need, while keeping personal property rights intact.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views? How will you communicate directly with constituents?
VanOrden: Finding common ground with constituents that have different political views is the best way I have found to address these critical conversations. I have found myself in conversations that have given me that chance to bring a different viewpoint to the discussion. I believe bringing all angles to the table are what makes better legislation. Communicating with constituents through phone calls is what I like best, but during the legislative session it is sometimes hard to find the time to make those calls.
What parts of the state budget could use more funding? Where are places in the budget that cuts could be made?
VanOrden: I’ll start with the last question here, budget cuts could be made more in layers of personnel bureaucracy. More funding could be used to help individuals with disabilities, children and elderly persons with personal care. Foster parenting in Idaho will need more resources to help with the number of hard ship children that have been placed in the system. Idaho will now have an ombudsman that will be the oversight arm of this program.
Are you currently working on any legislation or have ideas for bills that you feel are vital to the future of Idaho? Please provide details.
VanOrden: I will be working on a few more pieces of legislation concerning the current adoption laws. I feel the these are vital to Idaho because the reproduction laws in our state are very strong when addressing pregnancy. When a woman finds herself in a situation with a child she cannot support, she should have a path available to her that is easy to follow with good outcomes for both her and her child.
Have you seen any mistakes made by the Idaho Legislature in recent years? How would you work to correct these errors?
VanOrden: I don’t know if I would couch these as mistakes but I feel that the legislature has removed accountability from the equations when it comes to justifying differences of opinion. I do know that the Senate used to be a very deliberative body, when a bill was being presented almost every senator would share their opinion. It’s not like that anymore.
What is the most important issue facing Idahoans? What is a legislator!s role in meeting or addressing that issue?
VanOrden: The economy is the most important issue. There are numerous tentacles coming from that topic so to address it there needs to be a team effort. If a legislator has expertise in one of those tentacles he/she needs to bring that knowledge forward to help build a path forward. I believe it will take the following to address this issue: good education, workforce training, sustainable wages, healthy individuals who are independent, charity-the likes we’ve never seen before.
The post Incumbent Julie VanOrden faces Jerry Bingham in primary race for District 30 senator appeared first on East Idaho News.

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