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McDonald announces county commissioner candidacy

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News from McDonald for Commissioner 

LAKE COUNTY – Polson School Board Chair Caroline McDonald filed to run for Lake County commissioner on Feb. 22. 

McDonald is hoping to use her proven track record of collaboration and results oriented problem solving to bring a fresh voice to county leadership and improve the lives of Lake County residents.

“Ours is a community divided. In this moment of distrust, we face some real challenges ranging from crumbling roads to an overflowing jail to a public health system in need of greater support. We used to work together to fix our problems, and we can do it again. We owe it to our children to build a future they can be proud of,” McDonald said.

McDonald joined the Polson School Board in 2013 after watching years of conflict distract from the mission of providing students with essential skills to succeed in life. The district was mired in petty squabbling and distrust when the focus should have been on student achievement, teacher support, and morale.

After serving nearly four years as board chair, McDonald still believes any problem can be solved through listening, collaboration, and mutual respect. McDonald worked closely with current board members and staff, and now the Polson School District boasts a high school graduation rate nearing 98 percent, while student and teacher morale is much improved.

Working with various organizations in the county, McDonald has brought more than $1 million to our community through grant proposals. She has persuaded historically antagonistic institutions into working together to address the difficult issue of drug use plaguing our valley. She spearheaded the “Wrapped in Hope Project” tackling the issue of women struggling with substance abuse while pregnant, bringing together county, tribal and private systems to develop a comprehensive program to treat women and babies while reducing overall drug use. 

McDonald has worked as a community and economic consultant in the Mission Valley, assisting local organizations in the areas of education, affordable housing, healthcare, and social services. Before that she was an affordable housing developer and technical assistance provider for HUD. McDonald began her career working for rural, agricultural counties to develop infrastructure projects, recruit new businesses to the area, and support planning efforts.

McDonald’s parents spent their entire lives working in factories, instilling in her the values of family, hard work, and talking straight.

She’s been married to her husband, Robert McDonald, for 18 years and is the proud mother of two sons in the Polson school system. She’s an avid reader and gardener.

(Editor’s note: McDonald filed as a Democratic candidate for the district 3 seat currently held by Republican Commissioner Gale Decker, whose term is up this year. Decker has also filed for reelection.)


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