Roiling

How The Pandemic And An Anti-Vax Health Official Are Roiling A Montana Community

Even as Montana begins a gradual easing of stay-at-home restrictions intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the political schism it highlighted is creating reverberations in one community in the northwestern corner of the state.

A Flathead County health board member who led a movement to disparage the protective safety orders and downplay the virus is now the subject of two competing petitions — one to expel her from office and another to keep her.

When the commissioners in this county of about 104,000 people appointed Dr. Annie Bukacek to the health board in January, they might have known they were getting into a political hornet’s nest. “Dr. Annie,” as she’s known in the Flathead Valley, is a well-known and outspoken opponent of vaccinations.

Then, as the coronavirus spread into Montana and the crisis deepened here and across the country, she became a leading voice locally and in this

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