Joe’s ancestors emigrated from Ireland to escape the consequences of an oppressive government. They came to America seeking freedom and opportunity, to develop their God given gifts and talents and to use these gifts for their families and to contribute to the common good of society. They settled in Hollywood township near Watertown, MN in the 1800’s and farmed the land.
Joe was born in 1966. He was the fifth of seven children to KJ and Barbara McDonald. Because he was from a large family he learned from an early age that if he wanted something for himself he was to work hard and earn it. At only nine years old Joe got his first real paying job of a paperboy. Learning early that hard work and discipline could turn a profit, Joe got a second job at the local grocery store at the age of 14. Because he had the gift of speaking, he soon became the favorite “bag boy”. All through his high school years he was a valued employee at the store. Sports and activities such as wrestling, baseball, theater and the yearbook photographer kept him quite busy during his school years.
Joe’s father, KJ, was a photographer and after serving in the Air Force as a photo intelligence specialist and combat aerial photographer during the Korean War, he went on to open McDonald’s Studio in Minneapolis and Watertown. He served as Mayor of Watertown and 14 years in the Minnesota House of Representative.
After earning his degree in photography at H.T.C., Joe opened his studio in Delano in 1988 at the young age of 22. Joe has won numerous state and national awards for his imagery and earned his Masters Degree in photography in 2003 and earned his Craftsman Degree in 2008. Less than 1% of photographers in the world accomplish this. He is considered one of the best photographers in the state.
Joe is very active in his community and is a member of the Delano Lion’s Club, Son of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Delano Fourth of July committee, Delano Chamber of Commerce and the Jaycees. He volunteers regularly at Delano Schools and is an active member of the Delano Catholic community where he is a lector and cantor.
Joe is married to Rachel and has three boys, Alex, Jacob, and Aiden. He is a loving husband and father. Joe is fully engaged and active in his family’s lives. God, family and country first is what Joe lives by!
In 2000 Joe ran for city council and won and was re-elected in 2004. In 2006 he was elected as Mayor of Delano. In 2010, Joe was elected to his first term to the Minnesota State Legislature.