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Former Idaho lawmaker appointed to Central District Board of Health

Central District Health

A former Republican lawmaker who has posted anti-vaccine rhetoric and misinformation on social media was appointed to the Central District Board of Health.

Ada County Board of County Commissioners unanimously chose Boise chiropractor Greg Ferch to fill the board seat recently vacated by Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador. Ferch was among five applicants for the role, according to documents provided by the county.

“I think Greg Ferch meets all the qualifications we’re looking for. I think he has the most substantial experience out of all the candidates,” Commissioner Ryan Davidson said while making the motion to appoint Ferch.

Commissioners said they prioritized three criteria in the appointment process: knowledge of central district health, knowledge of being on boards and budgeting experience.

Commissioner Tom Dayley noted the increased importance of budgeting expertise after a law change shifting the lion’s share of funding for the health district onto Ada County.

“The legislature set it up so that we contribute to the Central District Health budget based on our population,” Dayley said during the meeting.

Commissioners in each of the four Central District Health counties - Ada, Valley, Elmore and Boise - will ratify the appointment in the coming weeks. Dayley in an August conversation with Boise State Public Radio said commissioners generally expect their peers from other counties to respect nominees and vote to approve appointments.

Ferch, who served in the Statehouse in 2020 and 2021 as a District 21 representative, also served on the state Health and Welfare Committee. He served 11 years as a medic in the U.S. Army, according to his application for the appointment. Ferch has also held leadership positions in the Idaho Association of Chiropractic Physicians and served on the peer review committee as part of the Idaho State Board of Chiropractic Physicians. He has shared anti-vaccine messages for several years on his social media channels. At least one post was censored by Facebook and identified on the site as misinformation.

He lost his seat in the May 2022 Republican Primary to John Vander Woude after redistricting shifted the seat into District 22.

The Secretary of State’s campaign finance records portal showed Ferch’s campaign made a $100 donation in 2020 to then–candidate Ryan Davidson. Davidson would go on to unseat Diana Laciando, who also served on the CDH Board and was replaced by Labrador. Ferch did not return a call requesting comment.

Other applicants for the position included:

  • Kelley Curtis, Vice President of Pharmacy at St. Luke’s Medical System.
  • John Brown, a retired Garden City resident who worked in veterinary medicine and previously served as chairman for the Valley County Montana health board.
  • Lynn Laird, a Meridian Psychologist
  • Teri Ahrens, a nurse practitioner with an elder-care provider who wrote in her application of a long history in business banking before joining the medical field.

This story has been updated to correct a misspelling of the word 'medic.'

Troy Oppie is a reporter and local host of 'All Things Considered' for Boise State Public Radio News.

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