Dori: Will KC health director appointee push for mask mandate return after St. Louis finger-flip fray?

Jun 30, 2022, 6:30 AM

Dr. Faisel Khan, King County's next Director of Public Health (KIRO  NewsRadio)...

Dr. Faisel Khan, King County's next Director of Public Health (KIRO NewsRadio)

(KIRO NewsRadio)

By the end of this summer, Dr. Faisal Khan expects to be approved by the King County Council as the region’s next director of Public Health — Seattle & King County. It is the ninth largest health department in the country.

Local eyes will be on Khan, 46, who comes from Missouri where he was acting director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health since February 2021. Leaders there opted not to confirm Khan as permanent director after an incident in which he acknowledged “using my middle finger” to flip off his opponents after a public meeting.

While in his acting health director role in St. Louis, the Dori Monson Show learned Khan got into a fray with audience members while he was testifying about his support for a mask mandate at a St. Louis County Council meeting.

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Khan claims audience members were heckling and mocking him during his pro-mask testimony. After the meeting, Khan wrote to council members he was “shoulder-bumped and pushed” by mask-mandate opponents.

Born in Pakistan and a U.S. citizen after moving here in 1999, Khan says mask-mandate opponents “yelled at me using obscene names.”

Khan’s response?

“I expressed my displeasure by using my middle finger toward an individual who had physically threatened me and also using racial slurs.”

Video reports from news media at the meeting don’t show any physical threats. Dori also found a statement from a state Democratic leader at the hearing. She contradicted Khan’s statement, saying, “I did not hear any racial remarks whatsoever.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, Dori told his Wednesday listeners, Khan told a reporter the name of the man he considers his hero.

“My idol in public health is Dr. Anthony Fauci – the great man himself,” Khan responded.

If Khan’s appointment by King County Executive Dow Constantine is approved by the King County Council, Khan will fill the role left by interim director Dennis Worsham. Worsham was appointed in the acting role following the retirement of longtime public health leader Patty Hayes.

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Will KC health director appointee push for mask mandate return after St. Louis finger-flip fray?