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He is late joining the 2nd Congressional District race, but Robert Fuehr, a retired telecommunications executive and state economic development director, says his experience will make him the favorite to win the Republican nomination.

"I think when people look at my record, they're not going to find anyone else in the field who has my breadth and depth of experience," said Fuehr, who will officially announce his candidacy for the race Friday.

Fuehr spent 30 years working for AT&T and US West, retiring from the phone giant as a vice president. He joined a small cable and Internet business in Salt Lake City that grew to 400 people, then left to be director of economic development for the state leading up to the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Fuehr said he has long been encouraged by his friends to run for office, but he felt like now was the time to jump into the race.

"I think the runaway budget deficits are just totally scary to me. We've got to stop that," he said. "The budget has a big impact on employment. It's just a snowball effect."

While at US West, Fuehr was responsible for budgeting for the company nationwide and has handled a multibillion-dollar business and acquisitions. It's not the $3.8 trillion federal budget, he said, but he is not intimidated by big figures.

"Lately, you look at what's going on in Washington and it's in crisis mode. Something needs to be fixed," he said. "We need to stop the discretionary spending that is making budget deficits worse. Then we need to try to start getting Americans back to work."

To do that, he said, the government needs to stop overregulating small business in a way that stifles job creation.

Fuehr joins a crowded field of Republican candidates vying for the nomination in the 2nd District race: Former House Speaker David Clark, conservative activist Cherilyn Eagar, former NFL star Jason Buck, author and former Air Force pilot Chris Stewart, retired trucking executive Howard Wallack, former Air Force pilot Chuck Williams, former Navy pilot John Willoughby and businessman Jeramy McElhaney.

The incumbent in the district, Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, has said he will run in the newly created 4th Congressional District. No Democrat has declared in the race.

Fuehr, who is 65, lives in Holladay with his wife.