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McDonald, Kenneth James "K.J."

House 1977-82 (District 36A); House 1983-90 (District 35B)

Party when first elected:  Independent Republican

Counties Served:  Carver, Hennepin

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Date of Birth: 11/28/1930
Birth Place: Watertown, Minnesota
Birth County: Carver
Birth Country: United States
Date of Death: 10/4/2012
Gender: Male
Religion: Catholic
Reported Minority: None Reported
Other Names: K.J.
City of Residence (when first elected): Watertown
Occupation (when first elected): Insurance Sales/Professional Photographer

EDUCATION

Watertown Elementary School; Elementary School;
Watertown High School; Secondary;
Chicago School of Business and Photography; Vocational-Technical School; Graduate, 1949

OTHER GOVERNMENT SERVICE

Military: United States Air Force (Korean War, Photo Intelligence Specialist and Combat Aerial Photographer); 1950 to 1954
Municipal Mayor: Watertown, Minnesota; 1974 to 1977 [Elected]
Municipal Mayor: Watertown, Minnesota; 2005 to 2012 [Appointed]

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Spouse: Barbara (married in 1958)
Children: Seven children: Mary, Anne, Susan (daughters) Joe, Peter, Frank, and Ken (sons)
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:
Joe McDonald  - Son

GENERAL NOTES

He was born on a farm in Hollywood Township in Carver County.

He was a life-long resident of Carver County.

He was a member of the Watertown, Minnesota Hospital Board.

He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Independent Republican Party endorsement for the United States House of Representatives in 1990.

Religion provided by the Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1987-88.

He was appointed mayor of Watertown in 2005 to replace the mayor who had been deployed. He was reelected in 2006, 2008, and 2010. (Sun Patriot obituary, October 5, 2012)

Upon his death, the acting mayor of Watertown issued this statement on behalf of the city:

"Last night, the City of Watertown lost one of its great treasures, Mayor KJ McDonald. Born just outside of town in 1929, Mayor McDonald has been an irreplaceable lifelong advocate for our community. KJ McDonald has gone by many titles over the years — husband, veteran, photographer, state representative, Toastmasters President, Legion Commander, local actor, father, parishioner, council member, Lions member, grandfather, friend, Boy Scoutmaster, but perhaps none as fitting as Mayor.

Mayor McDonald held a deep rooted belief that good governance comes from good neighbors and he led Watertown with that vision as his guidepost for decision making. Consistently reminding Council and staff that, “the best decisions are made closest to the people,” Mayor McDonald lived out what it means to be a good public servant — putting community ahead of personal advancement.

Today, we see Mayor McDonald’s belief woven into the community tapestry that makes Watertown a great place to call home. Our downtown is thriving, our schools are successful, and our community groups are active. The next time you attend a successful community fundraiser, walk through a park in Watertown, or notice our community’s charm – you will see KJ’s living legacy.

The City of Watertown would like to thank the Mayor’s family for so graciously sharing him with us throughout the years — our condolences are with you."

Total Days Served: 5117

SESSIONS SERVED

76th Legislative Session (1989-1990)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 35B
Elected: 11/8/1988
Residence: Watertown
Term of Office: 1/3/1989 to 1/7/1991
Counties Represented: Carver
Occupation: Photographer/Farmer/Insurance
Party: Independent Republican
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture: Dairy and Livestock
  • Education
  • Education: Higher Education Division
  • General Legislation, Veterans Affairs and Gaming
  • General Legislation, Veterans Affairs and Gaming: Gaming Division
  • General Legislation, Veterans Affairs and Gaming: Veterans Affairs
  • Transportation
  • Transportation: Air Transportation

75th Legislative Session (1987-1988)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 35B
Elected: 11/4/1986
Residence: Watertown
Term of Office: 1/6/1987 to 1/2/1989
Counties Represented: Carver
Occupation: Professional Photographer/Insurance/Farmer
Party: Independent Republican
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture: Agriculture Finance Division
  • Agriculture: Farm Programs and Policies
  • Agriculture: Soil and Water Conservation
  • Commerce
  • Commerce: Tourism
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Transportation: Transportation Carriers

74th Legislative Session (1985-1986)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 35B
Elected: 11/6/1984
Residence: Watertown
Term of Office: 1/8/1985 to 1/5/1987
Counties Represented: Carver
Occupation: Photographer/Insurance
Party: Independent Republican
Committees:
  • Agriculture (Chair)
  • Agriculture: Rural Economy
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Environment
  • Governmental Operations
  • Governmental Operations: Property Tax Study Commission
  • Regulated Industries and Energy
  • Regulated Industries and Energy: Gaming

73rd Legislative Session (1983-1984)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 35B
Elected: 11/2/1982
Residence: Watertown
Term of Office: 1/4/1983 to 1/7/1985
Counties Represented: Carver
Occupation: Photographer/Insurance
Party: Independent Republican
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture: Agricultural Exports and Marketing
  • Governmental Operations
  • Governmental Operations: Pensions and Investments
  • Regulated Industries
  • Regulated Industries: Special Projects

72nd Legislative Session (1981-1982)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 36A
Elected: 11/4/1980
Residence: Watertown
Term of Office: 1/6/1981 to 1/3/1983
Counties Represented: Carver, Hennepin
Occupation: Photographer/Insurance
Party: Independent Republican
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture: Agriculture Products and Marketing
  • Energy
  • Governmental Operations
  • Governmental Operations: Administration
  • Health and Welfare
  • Health and Welfare: Departmental Affairs

71st Legislative Session (1979-1980)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 36A
Elected: 11/7/1978
Residence: Watertown
Term of Office: 1/3/1979 to 1/5/1981
Counties Represented: Carver, Hennepin
Occupation: Photographer/Insurance
Party: Independent Republican
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture: Agriculture Programs and Policies
  • General Legislation and Veterans Affairs
  • General Legislation and Veterans Affairs: General Law and Veterans Affairs
  • Governmental Operations
  • Governmental Operations: Administration and Structures

70th Legislative Session (1977-1978)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 36A
Elected: 11/2/1976
Residence: Watertown
Term of Office: 1/4/1977 to 1/2/1979
Counties Represented: Carver, Hennepin
Occupation: Insurance Sales/Professional Photographer
Party: Independent Republican
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • General Legislation and Veterans Affairs
  • Governmental Operations
Articles & Books About
Kimball, Joe. "Longtime Republican legislator K.J. McDonald has died in Watertown." MinnPost, October 5, 2012.







The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library has collected newspaper articles on legislators since 1973. They are available in the Library.