Kunzeman to challenge McDonald in GOP primary

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Former Ponderay mayor Carol Kunzeman announced this week her candidacy for the Bonner County Board of Commissioners Seat 3, offering a GOP primary challenge to Commissioner Dan McDonald.

Kunzeman said she intends to run a campaign that listens voter concerns across the entire county. She hopes to impress upon the electorate her commitment to honesty and high ethical standards.

Carol Kunzeman.

“I think I am a very good listener and have a lot of common sense,” Kunzeman said. “I like to hear everyone’s point of view, not just those who agree with me.”

Starting her public service as a Ponderay City Council member, Kunzeman then served eight years as Ponderay mayor from 2008 to 2016. During her mayoral service, she is proudest of helping establish the SPOT bus service, expanding the city’s public works and planning departments, renovating Ponderay City Hall rather than spending the money on a new building and acquiring the 50-acre Field of Dreams property that she hopes will be developed into a Ponderay public park. Kunzeman is grateful for the excellent council members who worked with her on those accomplishments.

“I think if you don’t have people … to go along and help you, you can’t be a good mayor,” she said.

Prior to her life in public service, Kunzeman operated small businesses centered on quilting, child care and wedding and floral sales. In launching those businesses, she used the managerial skills acquired while rising the ranks in corporate America, first at Volvo of America, then at Hughes Aircraft.

“I’ve always been at the right place at the right time,” Kunzeman said of her career.

Kunzeman decided to re-enter the fray of elections after becoming restless during her short retirement. She hopes to impress upon voters that she is a trustworthy candidate who will talk straight with all her constituents, from Blanchard to Clark Fork.

“It’s not going to be an easy race, and I’m not foolish enough to believe that,” she said. “I’m going to have to work for it.”

The race between McDonald and Kunzeman adds to a packed GOP primary election in local and state races. Voters will also choose between Heather Scott and Mike Boeck for state representative and Danielle Ahrens and Jim Woodward for state senator, a seat being relinquished by longtime state senator Shawn Keough.

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