COOK - Around eight people came to the Crescent Bar here Tuesday evening for a roundtable discussion with St. Louis County Commissioner Candidate Paul McDonald. The meeting was hosted by the Northern …
COOK - Around eight people came to the Crescent Bar here Tuesday evening for a roundtable discussion with St. Louis County Commissioner Candidate Paul McDonald. The meeting was hosted by the Northern Progressives.
McDonald largely stuck to the mainstays of his campaign, reiterating his support for expanding county services to the area and bringing mental health facilities to hospitals in Cook and Ely. He also addressed the concerns of some of those in attendance over his support of sulfide mining.
“What I guess I am hoping for, is someone who will have a critical mind,” said meeting organizer Melissa Roach. “It would ease our concerns and there wouldn’t be so much animosity if there wasn’t a rubber stamp. Range politicians tend to take a stance (on mining) because they are Range politicians.”
McDonald said he based his opinion on the science available, which he believed led to the conclusion that watersheds and mining could co-exist on the Range. McDonald also noted that the issuance of new mining permits was handled at the state level and the county board had relatively little to say on the matter.
The candidate also faced a question on his thoughts on racism in the region.
“We’re still dealing with the issues,” McDonald said. “We have some people in our area that are racist. It just isn’t here, it is everywhere.”
McDonald said it was important for people to be educated in equality, and that as an educator for the past 30 years, he had taught just that. He said he planned to bring that experience to the table if elected to the county board.
“People deserve to be treated equally regardless of skin color or religion,” he said. “It is what our country is built on. It will always be in my values, that we don’t let the evil values of racism come to the forefront of the public.”
McDonald also said his background in education is what gives him the edge over his opponent, former sheriff’s deputy Bernie Mettler.
“Issue-wise, he talks about law enforcement,” McDonald said. “I am more concerned with how we set up the next generation for success. My background isn’t in law enforcement, it is in people. I have always been an advocate for people I come across. We have to get the next generation to step up and help the people who have helped them.”