Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Julie Lynn Chooses Against the Convenient Path
Julie Lynn spends a lot of time at work at this expansive desk, her cuddly cats close by.
Monday, October 29, 2018


Julie Lynn has long worked behind the scenes of the Republican Party in Blaine County, taking pictures of candidates and sending out notices to be published in local newspapers.

But this year she stepped into the spotlight challenging State Sen. Michelle Stennett, the state’s minority leader, for her seat in the legislature.

“We wanted somebody to be on the ballot. Sometimes you have to make choices in life that aren’t exactly convenient,” said Lynn.

Julie Lynn was honored by the State Republicans Committee as Outstanding Precinct Committee Person at a Blaine County Republic Women’s brunch earlier this year.

One of the things motivating Lynn is a conversation she had with a family of four that was paying $2,500 a month for health insurance with a $10,000 deductible.

“I’m running along the lines of being fiscally responsible,” she said. “I think Medicaid Expansion should happen. I think it will relieve taxpayers who currently spend a third of their premiums supporting those without insurance and it will relieve hospitals and the state, as well.

“I don’t think it should be free, though,” she added. “We should have small co-pays for office visits and higher co-pays for non-emergency hospital visits.”

Lynn is a fourth-generation Idahoan. Her great-great grandparents--the Moritzes--homesteaded in the McCall/Cambridge area, raising wheat and dairy cattle and running sheep.

A grandmother came to Idaho when she was three, settling in Lake Fork near McCall with Finns escaping the potato famine in their native land.

“The story is two brothers began working in one of the logging camps and they were amazed how much food was provided every day. They asked, ‘How come everyone is still celebrating our arrival?’ ” Lynn recounted.

Lynn was born in Boise, but her family followed her father to Libby, Mont., where he helped build a dam on the Kootenai River, and then to Roseburg, Ore., where he worked with a logging company.

Lynn joined the Army as a public information specialist, writing for the Ft. Benning, Ga., Bayonet, then headed to Heidelberg, Germany.

She learned to shoot an M16 and cruised through basic training, having spent so much time running up and down mountains, swimming and competing as a miler in high school.

“Basic training is more about learning how to be a soldier, how to work with a team and follow orders than it is fitness,” she said. “I was exposed to people of all backgrounds in the Army, and we were required to be respectful of authority and our fellow soldiers.”

After four years with the Army, Lynn got a degree in journalism at the University of Oregon-Eugene. She moved to Hailey in 1984 to work for the Wood River Journal and ski Bald Mountain. And seven years later she married Bob Lynn, a former psychiatric social worker in California who had been her landlord, in addition to co-owning the Tamarack Lodge and the Lift Tower Lodge.

Julie and Bob, who turns 92 this week, have been married 27 years.

Lynn parlayed what she learned in the Army when she enrolled their daughter Erica, now an architectural major at Boise State University, in Girl Scouts 14 years ago.

“Being a Girl Scout is a lot like being a soldier in the sense that you learn how to treat each other with respect,” she said.

She pulled a couple Post-It notes off the desk in her log home in Ketchum, each containing part of the Girl Scout Law:

“I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place...”

“Girl Scouts is not an activity,” she said. “It’s a commitment to the way you live life.”

Girls Scouts has changed over the years, she noted, with today’s girls doing more STEM activities involving science, technology and engineering. They recently, for instance, lit a lamp using potatoes as generators.

But they still do time-honored activities, as well. This week, for instance, they will explore patriotism, learning about the flag, making poppies and read the poem “In Flanders Fields.”

Lynn became involved with the Blaine County Republicans while helping with Rep. Steve Miller’s campaign after former Rep. Wendy Jaquet retired. She became more and more involved and was persuaded to throw her hat in the ring after no one else stepped forward.

In pursuit of that seat she has knocked on 150 doors and taken part in parades and fairs in all four counties in the district.

“I’m having fun,” she said. “And I’m always amazed when someone will stand on their doorstep for 15 minutes or more and talk to me. A lot were very upset about the Kavanaugh hearings. They think that both Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford were poorly treated.”

Given her Army and Girl Scouts experience, it’s not surprising that Lynn has a deep respect for Stennett, who lives just a stone’s throw from her in Ketchum west end. One of the few places Lynn disagrees with Stennett is the former’s belief that income tax breaks for Idahoans will spur the economy.

Otherwise, she said they share the belief that public lands should be open to everyone.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to reduce the fuel load to reduce the wildfire risk,” she added. “Congressman Simpson has proposed $12 billion to reduce he backlog, and I think there should be collaboration between Idaho and the federal government on this.”

Lynn also touts more local control for schools and more technical training for youth who would like to pursue careers as plumbers, welders or technical jobs in the medical field.

 “I’ve enjoyed talking to people and learning their stories and their concerns,” she said. “If elected, I think the most important thing for me is to be a careful listener.”


Look for a profile on Sen. Michelle Stennett


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