Incumbent District 33 Sen. David Lent faces Bryan Scholz in the Republican primary - East Idaho News
East Idaho Elects

Incumbent District 33 Sen. David Lent faces Bryan Scholz in the Republican primary

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IDAHO FALLS – Sen. Dave Lent, who will complete his second term at the end of this year, has a challenger in the upcoming Republican primary for District 33.

Bryan Scholz is also vying for the position. District 33 covers the “doughnut hole” of Idaho Falls between Anderson, Skyline and portions of Sunnyside Road.

Lent was first elected in 2020. Additional details about his campaign are available here.

Scholz ran against Lent in the 2022 election. Details about his campaign are available here. sent the same eight questions to each candidate. Their responses were required to be 250 words or less. One response was edited for exceeding the word limit.

The primary is May 21.

Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.

Lent: I was born in Idaho Falls and grew up in Shelley. My wife, Terri Lent, has owned a children’s singing group for many years. I served 12 years on the District 91 School Board and helped facilitate the building of four new elementary schools and converting Clair E. Gale Jr. High into Compass Academy. In 2018, I ran for the Idaho Senate, and I currently serve as the chairman of the Education Committee.

I have a national credential in Radiation Protection and a B.S. degree from Idaho State University. During my career, I spent several years consulting at Nuclear Power plants where we lived and worked in seven states. I retired from the Idaho National Laboratory as Director of Training for one of the contractors. Terri and I have five children and fourteen grandchildren.


  • I am happily married with four children here in Idaho Falls.
  • A left-coast political refugee, I moved here with my family because Idaho Falls struck us as a great place to live and raise a family. And it is!
  • Our two youngest were born here, the the two eldest in Germany. We do a combination of homeschool and charter.
  • I’ve got a technical, legal and entrepreneurial background.
  • Grew up in northern California.
  • I spent much of my adulthood working in Europe and around the U.S. Living and working in so many places, I’ve seen not only the very Republican State (think Reagan) of my childhood go nuts, but I’ve had the chance to see a lot of different systems and ways of business to see what does and doesn’t work. (Socialism and crony capitalism produce pretty mediocre results.)
  • I have worked on many political campaigns. There has been a common theme throughout these campaigns of promoting peace and liberty, border security, and the beauty of the Constitution and the free market.
  • And of course I ran last time and can only say that I was grateful for so much support.

Why are you seeking political office? Briefly explain your political platform.


  • Our current Senator has a terrible voting record.
  • Every conservative rating system gives him failing ratings whether in Freedom, Spending or Education. Straight F’s.
  • The Institute for Legislative Analysis states flatly that our Senator is philosophically a Democrat, and votes like a Democrat. You might say he votes like a California liberal.
  • We can do better.

Look, everyone is sick of the inflation, government overreach, open borders and endless wars. Most people want limited government that protects our rights and our sovereignty. We don’t want East Idaho to become like West Oregon. Think it couldn’t happen here? Boise has already flipped and it happened fast.

I will fight to stop the overreach of the administrative state and against creeping government growth and unfunded mandates. I will fight to protect your liberty and property rights. While I will consider bills individually, I will always vote with a view to upholding the Idaho and American Constitutions, your rights and your freedoms.

Get out and vote in the primary. You can’t just go with the flow, because the flow is left.

Lent: I am very proud of our state and the quality of life in our communities. There are many reasons why so many people want to move here. My political platform is based on a solid economy, fiscal responsibility in government, an effective education system, and the value of agriculture and water resources. We should look first to our locally elected boards, councils, and commissioners for policy whenever possible. My primary objective remains the same: to ensure Idaho remains Idaho.

What are the greatest challenges facing people and communities in your district? What is your plan to meet those challenges?

Lent: I would say unprecedented growth and ensuring our young people have access to the proper education to stay in Idaho and build successful lives. My nuclear background led Governor Little to appoint me to the Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission (LINE). Additionally, I am very involved with the Idaho Advance Energy Consortium in promoting regional growth in Small and Mirco reactor research and deployment. Due to additional research and investment, I expect a doubling of the employment at the Idaho National Laboratory in the next several years. As one of the fastest-growing states in the country, we will need to manage resources and growth carefully.


  • Inflation: People in Idaho Falls are suffering under the massive weight of price inflation. We’ve watched our grocery bills skyrocket.
  • Crime: rates are going up amidst a nationwide culture of lawlessness.
  • Medical costs: a huge issue for people of all ages.
  • Open Borders: millions of illegal aliens are transforming the country. East Idaho is not immune to these changes; in fact, we are likely to be targeted because we are seen as consistently red.
  • Federal bureaucracy: we have, like the rest of Americans, a deeply dysfunctional federal government hanging over heads, an octopus of regulations that strangles free enterprise.
  • Government debt: each time you wake up in the morning, your federal government has amassed 40 billion dollars more in new debt.
  • War: we face the risk of World War III breaking out in two regions of the globe.

We need to rein in state government growth and spending, as well as our reliance on Federal funds. One thing great about East Idaho is that people intuitively get the importance of self-reliance and planning for the hard times. Competition works. We need to codify health freedom so that informed consumers have a level playing field when seeking treatments, and transparency in pricing when seeking medical treatment. We need to make it easier for home producers to sell foods and products. We need protections from equity agendas and assaults on our right to free speech and property rights. I will fight for these things.

How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views? How will you communicate directly with constituents?

Scholz: If you’ve got questions, concerns, or ideas, reach out to me. I’m always eager to hear what you have to say. But also know that I see the role of a Senator in Idaho as to protect the rights and liberties of Idahoans, and that the role of government is limited.

Grand plans to shift large amounts of taxpayer money to fund well-meant projects that really shouldn’t be financed by government are going to be pretty hard for me to consider. Special deals for the large corporations of the world are going to fall on deaf ears.

That being said, I love to solve problems. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m intellectually curious. I appreciate different viewpoints. I understand the scientific method is not about consensus, but in fact thrives on debate, just like democracy. I tend to move in more conservative circles, but I have friends and family members who don’t. We just don’t always talk politics!

Lent: I make it a practice to “seek first to understand.” I have always felt comfortable in the collaborative process and understand that I represent all residents in my legislative district. The best solutions come from collective thought. Not being locked into a predetermined ideology lets a person examine all sides of an issue. I receive many emails and personal visits from constituents every year. Additionally, there are many people in our area with subject matter expertise that I call on for input.

What parts of the state budget could use more funding? Where are places in the budget where cuts could be made?

Lent: Serving on the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee (JFAC) has been eye-opening. JFAC is responsible for running all state finances and meeting our constitutional requirement to balance the budget yearly. In the last few years, we have focused on increasing education funding. Over the last few years, we have seen an influx of one-time federal funding. As those funds end, we need to ensure critical infrastructure and other state needs are still met. In JFAC, we have been very careful in navigating the end of federal funds. For example, our general fund year-over-year increase from 2024 to 2025 was only 1.7% this year.

I analyze where significant increases in the budget are occurring. During the last few years, we have significantly increased spending in the correctional system. Most citizens who are incarcerated are there because of drug-related offenses. It is time to start looking at changing how we spend money on traditional prisons and increasing our funding on the front end to address drug addiction and rehabilitation. It is typical for a third of those released from prison to end up back in the system in just a few years.


  • I would love to see less reliance on Medicaid and government programs.
  • Property taxes eliminated or greatly curtailed. Maybe even have a limit on property tax increases written into the Constitution. People should never have to worry about losing their home because they can’t afford the property taxes.
  • Get rid of the grocery tax.

As for what parts of the state budget could use more funding, it is important to understand that the nature of government is to grow larger. It is incredibly rare to see a government department shrink or go out of existence. Every government agency or department will find a way to spend the money they are allocated and be able to think of why they need more. It is easy to spend other people’s money.

The budget process in Idaho has been very effective at one thing: growing government spending — and growing it enormously. During the last four years alone original appropriations have increased more than 50%, far more than inflation plus population growth. Simply put, there are no parts of the state budget that need additional funding.

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.

Scholz: I support bills that protect people’s property rights:

  • Short-term rentals: People have the right to invest in short-term rentals and not have the rug pulled out from under them by an arbitrary municipality.
  • Low-Income Housing: People have the right to build housing without having to fill requirements for low income housing, which is usually code for government-mandated social engineering.
  • Small Businesses: I will support the right of property owners to run small businesses out of their home.
  • Property taxes: Do not raise property taxes to fund government growth. I would support a limit on property tax increases written into the Constitution.

Other issues:

  • War: Let’s secure ourselves from the war machine. Get the Defend the Guard act passed so we’re not required to send our National Guard abroad without a declaration of war.
  • Food freedom: Consumers have the right to buy and consume raw milk or foods prepared in home kitchens.
  • Health freedom. Consumers have the right to take to seek treatment from chiropractors and alternative health care professionals without them getting buried in burdensome regulations. There has to be a level playing field. And we need transparency in the pricing of medical treatments.
  • Vaccines: I will insist on people’s right to make their own decisions about vaccines and health care for themselves and their families.
  • School choice: parents have the right to send their kids to the school of their choice or homeschool. Funding should follow the parents.
  • Gun rights: the Second Amendment requires constant defense.

Lent: For the last couple of years, my primary focus has been providing new opportunities for Idaho students and ensuring we have adequate school facilities. Looking forward, Idaho charter schools saw a significant reduction in regulation this year. I intend to continue this trend with our traditional public schools. We need to incentivize innovation and focus on student outcomes. Providing more flexibility will allow our traditional public schools to compete with a changing educational landscape. It will also assist in better preparing students for the evolving knowledge and skills required in today’s workforce.

Have you seen any mistakes made by the Idaho Legislature in recent years? How would you work to correct these errors?

Lent: I find that being preoccupied with ideology limits not only the conversation but also the individual’s influence. The Idaho Legislature should not follow the dysfunction occurring at the national level. It must focus on Idaho issues and not chase cut-and-paste “hot topic” legislation. Superfluous legislation should be weeded out as it comes through the process. Having fewer laws and regulations is a good thing.


  • The Idaho Legislature has spent too much money, and been too slow to beat back the administrative state.
  • They haven’t done anything to insulate us from open borders in the south or US proxy wars abroad.
  • Republicans get voted in and too often lose their way, if they were ever liberty-minded or conservative to start

I will work with my colleagues and local leaders to put forth legislation that protects and codifies your rights, and gives you recourse when your rights have been trampled.

What is the most important issue facing Idahoans? What is a legislator’s role in meeting or addressing that issue?


  • Immigration
  • War
  • Inflation
  • Debt
  • Jobs
  • Crime
  • Housing
  • Liberal progressive ideology (“Wokeism”)

Each person may have a different order for these concerns. They are huge and vital issues. In most cases, the government does not solve these problems, but causes them. Remember: the government is there to protect your rights. That is virtually the only function of government. The best way to secure and increase our prosperity is to get the government out of way, and embrace the limited framework established by the Idaho and American Constitutions.

Lent: Managing our fiscal growth in the good years to ensure we have sufficient for our needs in the lean years. This is done in JFAC and through the budgeting process. Maintaining our rainy-day funds and the wise use of one-time money is critical.