A county official in Idaho left a virtual meeting in tears after being notified that anti-mask protesters were surrounding her house, where her two sons were located.
On Tuesday night, during a Central District Health board meeting, Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo was seen in the top right of the video conference receiving a phone call. Nearly five minutes into the meeting, Lachiondo took herself off mute to interrupt the proceedings.
"Can I interrupt you for just a moment?" she said while getting emotional. "My 12-year-old son is home by himself right now, and there are protesters banging outside the door. I’m going to go home and make sure he’s okay, and then I'll reconnect with you once I'm there."
"Okay, Diana. Go ahead, and bless you," said one of the other officials in the meeting.
Pediatrician David Peterman added, "I'm a father, and that's just unbelievable."
Lachiondo addressed the situation in a Facebook post on Wednesday, saying that the "armed protesters" were outside her home "yelling, banging, firing air horns, amplifying sound clips from Scarface, accusing me of tyranny and cowering inside."
"I wasn’t actually inside the house: I was taking the call from my office at the Ada County Courthouse. But my two sons, ages 12 and 8, and my mother (who was out taking our dog on a short walk) were," she explained. "And as many of you saw last night, my son called me in tears at the beginning of last night’s meeting."
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"I am sad. I am tired. I fear that, in my choosing to hold public office, my family has too-often paid the price," continued Lachiondo. "Though I was born and raised in Idaho and have chosen to raise my own family here, I increasingly don’t recognize this place. There is an ugliness and cruelty in our national rhetoric that is reaching a fevered pitch here at home, and that should worry us all."
She added that wearing mask and social distancing "aren’t tools of oppression," rather "effective (though imperfect)" safety measures that are "all we have."
Those present in the meeting were set to vote on a mask mandate in the area, however, the discussion ended early after protesters began to gather at the CDH headquarters.
Russ Duke, district director for CDH, said in a statement that they "appreciate the public's interest and investment in this process" but they "simply ask that those who may disagree with these difficult discussion points and decisions do so in a way that is respectful and does not endanger our staff, board of health members, and our law enforcement, all who are critical in this response."
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