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Q&A: Jason Youn on state House race

Republican Jason Youn discusses his campaign for the 26th Legislative District.

Jason Youn
Jason Youn, Republican, is running for State House Seat of the Legislative District 26. (Photo by Yvonne Gonzalez)

Name: Jason Youn

Party: Republican

Running for: State House of Representatives, Legislative District 26

Previous Experience: Small business owner

State Press: Can you tell me about why you decided to run for house?

Jason Youn: I’ve always been interested in politics, like a lot of people are. I’ve always talked about it a little bit – politics, that is. I run a small business, I have a family, a two-year-old kid and I’ve been watching the direction our nation’s been heading in and I’m not too excited about it. Arizona’s been doing some things right; some things not so right, and I want to be a part of trying to promote an environment where people have the freedom that they deserve to have to run a business or maintain their own property rights within their house. I feel that without trying to do something to make a difference, I really don’t have a right to complain about it.

SP: What other political experience do you have?

JY: Well, I have a little bit of experience with politics; I’ve grown up around them and the most important thing, and I think more people need to realize this, is that we’re a government of the people, by the people and for the people. So my qualifications for running for office are simply that I’m a resident of this district. Beyond that, what I bring to the table is that as a small business owner, I know what it’s like to motivate myself to go to work, to interface with the government. I think that the legislature needs some more of that, small business experience. They have some, but they need more.

SP: What would you do if a guns on campus bill came up again in the next legislative session?

JY: I think talking with ASU is important, but it’s more important to remember that we have a right to bear arms. Businesses have the right to ban people from entering. ASU is a special situation because it’s a business but it’s also publicly run. If it was entirely public, it would be up to the legislature, but private donors have a say as well.

SP: What would you do to ensure that college remains affordable or becomes more affordable?

JY: That’s a good question. I don’t know if you’ve read the Arizona constitution, but it says that public universities have to remain as free as possible. There’s room to charge tuition, but it needs to be as free as possible. What I’ve seen is in the last 10 years tuition has gone up at least four times – I think in-state tuition is 8,000 dollars a year now…

SP: 9,000

JY: It’s like it goes up every day. And out-of-state tuition is about $12,000 now. So, making that as free as possible is very important, not only for the students who want an education but for the community and the businesses that need to hire educated people. One of the things I’ve noticed is that I can put an ad out for an employee, and most of the people who are interested aren’t qualified. Our budget for education makes up more than half of our general fund budget, and if there’s that many taxes going into it there needs to be more coming out.

SP: Do you think that more money should go to education, or should there be changes in how it’s distributed?

JY: That’s a very good question. Our schools that receive the least amount of money are doing the best, and there are a lot of arguments for why this is. Some say its because parents are more involved, and maybe that’s true and maybe it’s not. But what I’ve found in my research is that there’s not a correlation between quality of education in public schooling and money spent. Spending it correctly is more importantly than spending more. When it comes to academic institutions, they raise money by different methods, not just taxes. Figuring out how to make instate tuition lower needs to be a priority because I think right now we’re violating the Arizona constitution.

SP: What’s your opinion on the ruling the Supreme Court handed down on SB1070 Monday?

JY: I think it’s important to note that the core of the law maintained. A lot of the law was struck down, but the core of it stayed. I think SB1070 itself was a commentary on the failings of the federal government regulating immigration. I think what’s left is simply if a police officer has already engaged in lawful contact with a person who is committing a crime, they can ask if they are here illegally. Without that, they can’t even ask.

This costs us a lot of money and disturbs a lot of people, and if the feds would just do their jobs we wouldn’t need it.

SP: How would you vote on some of the reproductive issues we’ve seen brought up during this legislative session?

JY: It would really depend on the bill. The answer to all these questions relies on when you believe a human has rights. There was a point in this country when people believed that some humans have rights and some do not, and we’re still at that point. Born humans have rights, not-born humans don’t and I think that’s wrong. People who are not yet born still have rights, and that’s the foundation for the rest of those bills.

There haven’t been any bills on contraception, so it’s hard to form an opinion on a bill that does not exist. The only one we’ve seen is a bill allowing employers to decide not to pay for employees to use contraception, and I think that’s fair. If a person decides to work and knows what comes with the job, why should the government say, “no, that’s not okay. You have to pay what we say.”

SP: What do you imagine your biggest challenges will be this campaign season and then if you end up being elected?

JY: We have a very diverse district here in Tempe, probably more so than any other district in the state, and so a big challenge is representing everyone fairly and accurately. Even someone that I completely disagree with; I want to be able to represent them well to the Arizona State Legislature. A challenge is getting that message out to people that I’m ready to listen. Even if we completely disagree, I’m ready to listen because representing the people is important.

SP: Would you ever vote against your own personal beliefs if it appeared that the majority of your district disagreed with you?

JY: It depends on the belief.

Reach the reporter at or follow @JMShumway on Twitter.

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