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Two Republican candidates running for a seat in Legislative District 30

Julianne Young, left and Ben Fuhriman | Courtesy photos
BINGHAM COUNTY — An incumbent from Blackfoot and a local from Shelley are running against each other for a seat in Legislative District 30.
Incumbent Rep. Julianne Young is running against Ben Fuhriman for Idaho Representative Seat B for Legislative District 30. Both candidates are Republican.
District 30 encompasses Butte and Bingham Counties.
Click here to view Young’s campaign website.
Click here to view Fuhriman’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 any grammatical or style editing.
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.
Fuhriman: I was born and raised in Ammon, ID, where I was nurtured by its tight-knit community. I guess that’s why I love Shelley so much, because of its small-town feel. My life has been filled with enriching experiences, from achieving the honor of valedictorian at Hillcrest High School to serving a mission in Brazil, which broadened my perspective in profound ways. Following my passion for learning, I pursued my education at BYU-Idaho, setting the stage for a fulfilling career ahead.
After delving into entrepreneurship, I found my calling in the insurance industry, eventually transitioning into financial planning—a field that resonates deeply with me. Today, I lead my own independent financial planning firm, where I have the privilege of guiding individuals and families towards their financial goals.
Beyond my professional endeavors, I am deeply invested in giving back to my community. Whether it’s serving on the board of the Boy Scouts Grand Teton Council, volunteering within my church, or providing financial counseling, I find immense joy in making a positive difference in the lives of others.
At home, I am blessed with a loving family—my wife, Holli, and our four incredible children. Together, we cherish simple pleasures like travel, camping, game nights, watching movies and making music together.
In addition to my family and community commitments, I am honored to serve as a precinct committeeman in Bingham County and hold positions within the Bingham County Republican Central Committee, contributing to the betterment of our community through collaboration and service.
Young: I am a Mom from Groveland, Idaho with a deep appreciation for what it means to be an American. I care deeply about creating a future where families can thrive, raise happy, healthy kids, and pursue their dreams and plans. My parents, who were both farm kids, taught me to work hard, play hard, and never be afraid to stand up for the right. I always wanted to be a teacher and completed a bachelor’s degree in education from Idaho State University. My husband, Kevin, and I have raised our 8 sons and 2 daughters on a hobby farm complete with cows, chickens, bunnies, kitties, and doodle puppies. Our family loves to make beautiful music together, participate in dramatic productions, and hike and camp.
As we raised our family I served as a cub scout leader, a piano teacher, a children’s choir director, a private tutor, a guest editorial columnist and now the president of a new non-profit, Idaho Family Strong. I have taught classes on government and the United States Constitution and organized community events celebrating America’s heritage and foundational principles. I love growing things and, after earning my Master Gardener certification, designed and built a large geothermal greenhouse that can grow year-round.
I recently concluded my sixth year of service as a state representative and love serving the people of Bingham and Butte County and watching my family grow. In the last few years, we have added two beautiful daughters-in-law to our crew and a gregarious little grandson.
Why are you seeking political office? Briefly explain your political platform.
Young: I have thoroughly enjoyed serving. I love working with people, problem solving, and making a difference for good. I am a hard worker and have been very effective in writing and passing legislation that has made Idaho laws clearer and life better for everyday Idahoans. 
I came to the legislature with a solid foundation in basic principles of American government, including an understanding of the divine origin of equal fundamental rights, the rule of law as opposed to lawmakers, and an appreciation for our representative form of government which gives ordinary folks not just a voice, but THE controlling role in the governing process.
I also believe that, while government has important roles, it is not capable of ever successfully replacing the family, private enterprise, or personal initiative, but that it should always support and protect these things. I believe that the fundamental principles America was built on provide the best possible chance to create a future where families thrive, economies are strong, and people are happy.
Fuhriman: I believe in practical solutions over divisive rhetoric fueled by extreme political agendas. When Abraham Lincoln spoke of our government being ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people,’ I interpret it as embracing all, not just those with whom one agrees. It’s unfortunate that certain disruptors and current party leaders, rather than fostering constructive dialogue, often resort to harsh labeling and attacks, hindering our ability to address pressing issues and make meaningful progress. As a solutions-oriented individual, I’ve witnessed my district suffer from a disproportionate emphasis on cultural and social issues, overshadowing crucial economic, agricultural, and educational concerns. My focus lies on addressing pressing issues such as efficient water management, bolstering support for our first responders, particularly our police force, reducing taxes, and fostering innovation through smarter economic policies. Additionally, I aim to champion unique and effective educational initiatives to support our children and prepare the next generation for success.
What are the greatest challenges facing people and communities in your district? What is your plan to meet those challenges?
Fuhriman: Bidenomics is wreaking havoc on our nation’s wealth, leaving families to bear the burden of skyrocketing expenses. It’s disheartening to see households grappling with an additional $1000 per month of costs caused by inflation just to make ends meet. Wages are failing to keep pace with inflation, housing costs have spiraled out of control, and many feel overwhelmed by economic uncertainty.
Amidst these economic challenges, our legislature seems preoccupied with divisive cultural battles instead of addressing the urgent issues. It’s time to shift our focus to pressing concerns like bolstering our economy, ensuring affordable housing, revitalizing our education system, and enhancing public safety. Additionally, we must prioritize securing our elections, fortifying border security, and combating the influx of illegal drugs into our communities.
I firmly believe in the inherent value of every individual and the importance of fostering understanding and collaboration. My approach is centered on finding common ground and working collaboratively with fellow legislators to enact pragmatic policies that genuinely enhance our quality of life. Together, we can uphold Idaho’s spirit of freedom and self-reliance, ensuring that our state remains the beacon of opportunity and community that we cherish.
Young: Each generation faces its own unique challenges. I come from pioneer ancestors who carved their existence out of the wilderness, WWII veterans who laid it all on the line to protect freedom after growing up during the great depression, and 1st generation college graduates who earned their way through school and solidly into the comfortable middle class.
In contrast, I attended college on scholarships and made money just being a student. After marrying, my husband and I built our own home in the country (three times as large as the one my grandparents raised their family in) and have raised a generation of kids that have access to more convenience, more entertainment, and more opportunities for growth and learning than any previous generation. Yet, they are also bombarded by more negativity, materialism, victimhood narratives, discouragement, entitlement, and depression than ever before. Even in our relative prosperity, we face great uncertainty and ample challenges.
Whatever challenge we face, I have seen the value and power of community engagement, civil discourse, and the representative legislative process. Whether it is the conflicts brought to the surface during the COVID-19, the epidemic of mental illness, surging inflation that picks our pockets, concerns about water rights, or about the future of education, transportation, etc, I have faith in the ability of “the people” to come together and address these problems in thoughtful, effective ways.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views? How will you communicate directly with constituents?
Young: As a legislator, I understand that relationships are key. Since serving I have made myself readily available via my cell number. I also spend a lot of time out in the community and have a broad, grassroots network of ordinary folks that are a great support to me. While I recognize that it is impossible to share everyone’s views in a diverse community, I also strive to be thoughtful and straightforward about my opinions so that folks know where I stand. I respect those with differing views and find that, when you take a look at our core beliefs, there are few people I do not share some common values with, even when we may disagree on issues. In those circumstances, I work hard to build, both relationally and legislatively, on the things that we do agree on.
My willingness to build relationships have been a great strength to me in my service and most of the legislation that I have run passes with strong margins because I listen carefully to the concerns of others well in advance and work to address their concerns or incorporate their ideas. I look for opportunities to work together with others who may sometimes disagree with me and have given my Democrat colleagues the chance to co-sponsor legislation that I know is also important to them. They know that, although we disagree sometimes, I respect them and value their contributions.
Fuhriman: My cell phone number is readily available on my website and in all of my literature because I believe in being accessible and approachable. I’m a firm believer in the importance of adult conversations, where disagreements can be discussed respectfully. It’s perfectly acceptable to voice dissent without resorting to hostility, and I’m always open to listening to opposing viewpoints and finding common ground. I find great value in understanding the perspectives of others, even when they differ from my own.
While social media is a useful tool, it can sometimes bring out the worst in people. That’s why I prioritize direct communication through channels like my weekly newsletter, and regular ‘Breakfast with Ben’ gatherings. These opportunities allow me to engage sincerely with my constituents and hear their stories and concerns firsthand.
I have a genuine interest in learning about people’s journeys and experiences, which is why I enjoy reading biographies and historical accounts. Understanding the paths others have taken helps me connect with them on a deeper level.
In essence, my approach is rooted in the belief that genuine care and empathy are essential for building meaningful connections and serving others effectively.
What parts of the state budget could use more funding? Where are places in the budget that cuts could be made?
Fuhriman: While my current understanding of the state budget is limited, I am eager to leverage my financial planning expertise on budgetary matters. I look forward to delving into the intricacies of budgetary management, ready to contribute innovative and creative solutions.
It’s evident that our state’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and broadband, requires urgent attention. We must continue the momentum to maintain and grow our infrastructure. Our schools have received record breaking amounts of funding in recent years, but our support staff and those that work tirelessly behind the scenes, are being forgotten. Idaho has been a leader in innovative education and we need to ensure those innovations continue. It’s not about more funding in education, it’s about the right funding.
Investing in our state’s future through initiatives that attract high-paying jobs is paramount. By fostering economic opportunity, we can uplift communities statewide. I am confident that with bold and courageous leadership, we can identify inefficiencies within the state budget and streamline operations for greater effectiveness.
Governor Little’s efforts to reduce bureaucratic red tape are commendable, yet there is still room for improvement. We must explore avenues for innovation and promote local control to empower communities and foster self-reliance. I believe returning more dollars back to the local level will yield more efficient use of those funds. I don’t believe it’s about more funding or budget cuts, it’s about being smarter with the money we have.
Young: This session the legislature saw the introduction of landmark changes to ways that we handle the state budget. While I do not serve on the Joint Finance and Appropriation Committee and am not usually privy to the detailed discussions around budget details, I have been highly concerned about the trajectory of state spending which has increased from a total of 8 billion when I was elected six years ago to a total of 14 billion. 
When I first ran for office, I ran an advertisement with a quote from my grandfather that hangs on the wall in my home. It is, “If your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep becomes your downfall.” I believe this to be true and live it in my personal life. Idaho has a Constitutional and moral obligation to do the same.
I was very encouraged this year as I watched the new budgeting process play out and saw committee members asking better questions, taking more care with taxpayer dollars, and proposing budgets that resulted in the most conservative spending growth Idaho has seen since the Great Recession.
I believe that ensuring that this additional transparency and scrutiny continue in relation to the budget process is far more important than a crusade to eliminate any single category of spending.
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.
Young: Many of the projects I have been working on for multiple years passed into law this year including legislation that puts an end to Idaho’s status as one of the only states in the country to allow forced annexation by cities in the impact area around the city with notice, hearings, or property owner consent. Going forward, cities need to have at least 60% of owners representing 50% of the area. This is a big win for property rights and should better align state statute with what is commonly come to be acknowledged as best practice by most cities.
Other projects that were finally buttoned up include in-person visitation protections for Idaho patients and their families, conscience protection for Idaho counselors to ensure that they are able to practice free of fear of losing a license for declining to support things that violate their sincerely held principles, and further protections in law against those seeking to erase the legal identity of and protections for women.
Over the interim I will continue to work on unemployment reforms to better address the employee shortage employers face and reduce unemployment taxes over the long haul, among other things.
Fuhriman: Legislation should address genuine problems rather than addressing mere nuisances or things that offend a vocal minority. I wonder if we could streamline the legislative process with a focus on tackling substantive issues. Instead of a constant influx of bills, I believe in a more deliberate approach. What if lawmakers convened to pass the budget one year and then dedicated the following year to addressing the significant challenges? Giving time for the citizens to absorb the changes and forcing lawmakers to be more precise in their bills.
It’s concerning to see some legislators already planning for the next session before the current one has concluded. The original intent of our part-time legislature is being overshadowed by those seeking to prolong their stay in Boise indefinitely. I firmly believe that effective governance entails limiting the scope of government.
Having observed issues within my communities, I recognize the potential for resolving them through thoughtful adjustments to existing laws. I am cautious, however, of sweeping legislation that promises radical change without delivering meaningful solutions.
Have you seen any mistakes made by the Idaho Legislature in recent years? How would you work to correct these errors?
Fuhriman: I understand that nobody is perfect, and mistakes are inevitable. However, the most significant issues arising from the legislature often originate from cultural and social legislation that marginalizes certain groups, leading to costly legal disputes that burden taxpayers. I believe it’s prudent to avoid such divisive topics.
A more profound mistake in past years has been the empowerment of partisan political groups, allowing them to dictate legislation and pressure legislators into voting based on their agendas. What we truly need are independent-minded and principled lawmakers who prioritize traditional Idaho conservative values and hold themselves accountable to their constituents, not the fringe political groups.
Young: I’m sure there are mistakes made. However, the great blessing of our process is that it always provides an opportunity to address those mistakes with the next go-around. In fact, a good portion of legislation each session simply addresses errors or unintended consequences, everything from missing punctuation to the choice of a word that is being understood in a way that creates problems. 
I love the way our representative process gives everyone, from the lady at the grocery store to the Idaho Supreme Court the opportunity to weigh in on and contribute to the public policy conversation. I appreciate the opportunity to serve as a representative of District 30 in that process.
What is the most important issue facing Idahoans? What is a legislator’s role in meeting or addressing that issue?
Young: One of the benefits of our representative process is that a diverse group of citizen legislators with a whole variety of personal and professional backgrounds come together to craft policy on a variety of issues. Those differences in experience result in an impressive breadth of topics addressed during any one legislative session. I appreciate and respect that diversity and breadth.  
However, as a woman and a mother, I bring a unique perspective of my own and I work hard to contribute particularly to those areas that I believe uniquely impact women, children, and families. Today’s families face a host of challenges, including surging inflation and economic shortages, struggles with mental health, hostile cultural influences, etc. Hence, my work to keep schools and businesses open during COVID, efforts to help small business through unemployment reform, work on adoption, family visitation, parental rights, online pornography, etc. However, there are many other areas where I continue to develop expertise and work to contribute. 
Whatever the concern, from issues with family law, agency actions, the preservation of fundamental rights, or the allocation of resources like water, legislators who build strong, positive working relationships with one another are best suited to craft solutions that benefit Idahoans long-term. I will continue, as I have done previously, to work toward principled unity with others and solution-oriented action.
Fuhriman: I believe Idahoans want to be free to raise their families and live their lives in safety and prosperity. We want a secure border with an orderly and fair immigration system. We want to protect our freedoms—especially the 1st, 2nd, and 10th amendments. We want to leave a lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren while improving our lives every day.
One of the most pressing concerns facing Idahoans today is fear of losing our cherished freedoms. We saw it happen during Covid and deep down, we worry it could have been worse. As leaders, legislators should not stoke this fear but rather serve as beacons of hope, providing clarity and opportunity for all. Our actions should reassure Idahoans that we will safeguard their freedoms and prevent the encroachment of policies seen in other states.
Instead of passing unnecessary legislation that creates problems, we must focus on smart policies that build trust and confidence among our constituents. It is the duty of legislators to lead, foster trust, and support individuals and families in their pursuit of a brighter tomorrow.
The post Two Republican candidates running for a seat in Legislative District 30 appeared first on East Idaho News.

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