First woman elected to county board is now the first woman to chair the board

    Polk County Board of Commissioners has its first female chair in history after District 4 Commissioner Joan Lee was elected Tuesday. Lee, who was also the first woman to be elected as commissioner and took her seat in January 2015, says she’s been “fortunate to have great people to work with on the board and within the county.”  

    “When I first filed, I didn’t know that it was a possibility to be the first woman on the board,” explained Lee in an interview with the Times. “It was new territory for me and also for the other commissioners, and county employees.”

    “I have never felt that I couldn’t do something because I was female,” she added. ”Being an only child and raised on a dairy farm, my parents never told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl.”

    Lee says that upbringing stayed with her and she very seldom questions whether she can or can’t do something.

    Commissioner Lee says, when elected to the board, and the fact that she grew up on a farm and married a farmer, she has agriculture knowledge as well as knowing buildings, equipment and finances, and the other commissioners and county staff “recognized that.”

    For 2018, Lee says there will be some personnel changes addressed as well as keeping the county on budget and “working to run it as efficiently as possible.” She adds that it’s also a “negotiation year” and Lee hopes to come out with a signed agreement between their unions and the county.

    “I am excited to represent the county in this position,” Lee continued.