Douglas County Commission candidate Justin Spiehs says outgoing commissioner’s resignation is a ‘scalp to collect’

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Justin Spiehs speaks during the public comment portion of the Wednesday, April 13, 2022, Douglas County Commission meeting.

Douglas County Commission candidate Justin Spiehs said during Wednesday’s County Commission meeting that he viewed an outgoing commissioner’s resignation as a “scalp to collect.”

Spiehs, who is running as a Republican for the commission’s 1st District, used the meeting’s public comment period to make the comment about Commissioner Shannon Portillo and several other officials in local governments. Portillo will be leaving her seat on the commission later this year to begin a job at Arizona State University in October.

“I’m looking at your resignation as the third scalp to collect since the start of my child mask mandate protests last July,” Spiehs said. “… I got three of you in less than a year, and I’m coming for the rest of you. It’s like a bunch of rats jumping from a sinking ship.”

Along with Portillo, Spiehs also directed his comment at former county health officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino, who resigned from that role in February, and Lawrence school district Superintendent Anthony Lewis, who was a finalist for the Montgomery, Alabama, school district’s superintendent job earlier this year but ultimately was not selected. After giving his public comments, Spiehs left the meeting.

Spiehs, who is facing felony charges and has likened mask-wearing to child abuse, filed to run for a seat on the commission in April.


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