Republican Scott Jensen told supporters this week he would reshape a state board that has repeatedly investigated his medical license if he is elected governor in November.
In a video posted to social media Thursday evening, Jensen said the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice is investigating him for the fifth time. Jensen, a family physician from Chaska, has said the state board's current investigation relates to his comments encouraging civil disobedience against vaccine mandates, opposing children wearing masks in schools, and suggestions — which he did not deny — that he promotes the unproven drug ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment, among other things.
"For the last two years, I have been forced to live under the cloud of a constant investigation," Jensen said in the video. "As governor of Minnesota, I will make appointments to the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, within the statutes of Minnesota, and these people will do their job and they will not allow themselves to be weaponized and to constrain and literally be a juggernaut against the practice of medicine between patients and doctors."
Jensen made similar remarks to supporters Monday at a meet-and-greet event in Spicer, Minn.
"If I get elected in November, do you think their jobs are secure? I get to appoint them. We'll have picks," Jensen said of the board, according to an audio recording provided by the Minnesota DFL, which is backing Gov. Tim Walz's re-election effort.
The governor appoints the Board of Medical Practice's 16 members, 11 of whom must be licensed to practice medicine. Every Minnesota governor has had the authority to appoint people to state regulatory boards, Jensen noted in a statement to the Star Tribune.
"This is a regular, common practice that Mark Dayton and Tim Walz used, and it will continue until the Legislature changes the law," Jensen said.
Three current medical practice board members have terms ending next year. The governor may remove board members for cause after giving them notice and a hearing, if they fail to complete required reports or if they miss three consecutive meetings, according to state statute.
Ruth Martinez, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, said the board would not respond to Jensen's remarks.
Martinez said the board cannot acknowledge the existence of complaints against Jensen because the information is private, but she confirmed that "the Board has not imposed disciplinary action against the license of Scott Jensen, MD."
Democrats accused Jensen of threatening to use the state's highest public office to retaliate against his political enemies.
"Anyone who repeatedly promises to use the governor's office to jail or fire their personal enemies is unfit for public service," Minnesota DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said. "The doctors who serve on the board investigating Scott Jensen are not anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists, which is what makes them different from him."