PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is taking heat over a controversial political appointment of a woman considered to be part of an extremist organization.
The Arizona Mirror first reported this week that the board unanimously appointed Jennifer Harrison to the post of precinct committee member for the Republican Party.
The five-member board made the appointment in April, roughly three months after she was barred from the state House of Representatives by the Republican House Speaker.
Harrison is the leader of AZ Patriots, a right-wing organization that has harassed immigrants at local churches and minority lawmakers at the state Capitol.
In September, the group agreed to stop harassing churches that provide shelter and other services to newly arrived immigrants.
On Thursday, Harrison defended her tactics by saying she is expressing her First Amendment right.
"I support my president. I'm a loud voice in Arizona. Just because I hurt liberals' feelings ... doesn't make me an extremist," she said.
Committee members are considered to be the backbone of the political parties because they register voters, coordinate events and work neighborhoods on behalf of candidates.
Harrison said she wanted the position because her top priority is to get President Trump re-elected.
But local activist Jacob Martinez slammed the County Board for approving Harrison's nomination.
"I think it shows a strong lack of oversight. I think the board needs to be more diligent about what types of people they are appointing," he said.
Martinez was a member of March for Our Lives, a group of high school students demanding tougher gun laws.
During a protest at the state Capitol last year, Harrison's group confronted the kids, which Martinez found threatening.
After the protest, Martinez, who is now in college, said he and other gun control advocates considered getting a restraining order against Harrison and her organization.
"We felt threatened because of some of the actions they were taking, so yeah (a restraining order) was talked about at one point," he said.