Gov. Brad Little has appointed state Rep. Muffy Davis to fill a seat on the Blaine County Board of County Commissioners being vacated at the end of this month.

The governor’s office was set to announce the appointment Thursday, after he and staff members interviewed three nominees chosen by the Blaine County Democratic Central Committee. Davis said she was informed of the appointment on Wednesday.

Davis, 49, of Hailey, will replace Commissioner Jacob Greenberg, who submitted a letter of resignation in October stating that he will step away from the elected position at the end of the year.

“I’m thrilled to still be able to be of service to my community and to represent our shared values and goals,” she said.

Davis, a Democrat, is in the middle of her second two-year term representing District 26 in the Idaho House of Representatives. Currently, District 26 includes Blaine, Camas, Gooding and Lincoln counties.

Greenberg, also a Democrat, resides in District 2 on the three-member commission. District 2 includes Hailey and the middle area of the Wood River Valley. He was elected to a two-year term in 2020 and will have one year remaining in that term when he leaves office.

Under Idaho code, the central committee of the same political party as the official leaving office nominates three candidates to the governor, who chooses which nominee takes the open seat. Davis will serve the remainder of Greenberg’s term, until January 2023. She will need to run in the Democratic primary in May to try to retain the seat, which will be up for election in November 2022.

The other two nominees were Wood River Fire & Rescue paramedic Ron Taylor and Hailey City Councilman Juan Martinez.

A similar process will apply for the appointment of someone to fill the House seat being vacated by Davis for the year remaining on her term. The Democratic Party committee of District 26 will take applications, interview applicants and nominate three candidates to the governor, who will choose a successor. The District 26 committee will be tasked with filling Davis’ seat before the Legislature convenes in early January.

On Thursday, Davis said she had decided earlier this year that she was not going to run for a third term in the Legislature, which convenes in Boise for about three months every year. She wants to be closer to home and her family, she said, and was looking for a new role in which she believes she can have a greater impact.

“I honestly felt I couldn’t be as effective as I want to be,” she said, noting that Democrats play a minority role in the Republican-dominated Legislature. “I want my work to make a difference.”

Davis also said she does not feel safe in the Capitol because she believes House leadership has not taken adequate actions to protect her and her colleagues from the health threat of COVID-19. Davis—who uses a wheelchair and is susceptible to respiratory illnesses—sued the Legislature and House Speaker Scott Bedke last winter because she believed she was being put at high risk of contracting the virus.

“I just don’t feel that they’re taking the issue seriously,” she said.

Davis said her decision to leave the Legislature is not based on Idaho’s 10-year redistricting plan for the Legislature, which in the next election will change District 26 to a three-county area made up of Blaine, Lincoln and Jerome counties.

As for her successor, Davis said she is supporting Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns, though Burns has not publicly announced his candidacy.

“I think he’d be wonderful,” she said.

Davis graduated from Wood River High School and Stanford University. She is a seven-time Paralympic Games medalist in two sports—alpine skiing and cycling—and has worked as a professional speaker.

She said that in joining the County Commission, she plans to make the development of affordable housing a priority. She also wants to investigate whether Blaine County can do more to limit the impacts of a new transmission line that Idaho Power plans to install along the state Highway 75 corridor.

Greenberg, 68, has served on the County Commission since 2012, when he was appointed to replace former Commissioner Tom Bowman after Bowman resigned before the end of his last term. Greenberg currently serves with Commissioner Angenie McCleary and Commission Chair Dick Fosbury. He is leaving the County Commission to enter retirement, he said. 

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