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A Mohave County planning commissioner who has come under scrutiny for what critics denounced as a "xenophobic and racist" social media post earlier this year remains an appointed member of the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

LaJuana Gillette is one of two public members on the 11-member nursing board. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey appointed her to the post last year for a term that is set to expire in June 2023.

Gillette could not be reached for comment, but maintains on her Facebook page that she is not racist.

In her original Facebook post, which appears to have been deleted, she wrote that America "is a Christian Nation" and "I like it like that."

"We must stop the minorities from coming here and trying to change us. We have cities now that you would not know are in the United States," a screenshot of Gillette's post says. "... We actually have Muslim communities here in the U.S. And they are using Sharia law. We had better wake up before we lose America for our children and grand children (sic)."

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The screenshot appears on a protest Facebook event page hosted by the group Indivisible Kingman.

The Facebook post was widely shared by various Arizona media outlets in the summer when protesters in Kingman criticized Gillette's continuing role as a Mohave County planning and zoning commissioner.

A spokesman for Ducey, who appointed her to the nursing board, rejected Gillette's viewpoint.

"These comments are not aligned with our views — we denounce them," Ducey spokesman Patrick Ptak wrote in an email Wednesday, responding to a question about Gillette's Facebook post.

State law says the governor may remove any person from the nursing board "for neglect of any duty imposed by law or for incompetency or unprofessional or dishonorable conduct."

The statute does not say whether "incompetency, or unprofessional or dishonorable conduct" applies to conduct outside of an appointee's duties on the board.

Ptak would not comment outside of providing a written statement that said Ducey's office wants more leeway to remove appointed board members "whose actions and views are not reflective of our state."

"This instance is yet another example of the urgent need for this reform," the statement says.

The Arizona State Board of Nursing regulates the practice of nursing and the approval of nursing education programs in Arizona. Its mission is to protect and promote the welfare of the public by ensuring that each person holding a nursing license or certificate is competent to practice safely.

Protesters stood outside the Mohave County Board of Supervisors meeting in Kingman this summer calling for Gillette's removal from the county's planning and zoning commission, the Mohave Valley Daily News reported. 

The protesters called Gillette's Facebook post "xenophobic and racist." 

Gillette was not removed from Mohave County's planning and zoning commission, the Arizona Mirror reported Aug. 9.

Her profile on the nursing board's website says Gillette is a retired real estate broker and contractor from California and that her community service includes four terms as president of the Havasu Mohave Community College Foundation Board. She has served on the Arizona State Board of Homeopathic and Integrated Medicine Examiners.

Reach the reporter at Stephanie.Innes@gannett.com or at 602-444-8369. Follow her on Twitter @stephanieinnes.

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