Damon Dunn for CA Sec. of State!
freethinking mind to contemplate
solutions to California’s well-publicized troubles. The Golden State is
known for its ground-breaking innovation, its unparalleled creativity and its history of using
that brainpower to overcome tough times.
“That’s just a
narrative,” Damon Dunn counters. “I don’t speak in narratives. Narratives don’t
solve problems. Actions solve problems.”
You once knew him as No. 80, Stanford’s playmaking kick-off returner/wide
receiver who returned three kickoffs for touchdowns between 1994 and 1997. You might remember Dunn
as the player Tyrone Willingham referred to as “Rev,” as in Reverend, since Dunn became a
licensed Baptist minister at age 19.
Dunn is now out to add another title to his
name: Secretary of State for California. The 33-year-old is the Republican Party candidate
for California’s top elections officer, a man who would supervise the
state’s elections and ballot measures. He spent the recent holidays resting up
at home in Irvine, preparing for a challenging year of campaigning leading up to the
2010 election against Democratic incumbent Debra Bowen.
“We have to
ask ourselves tough questions,” said Dunn, who grew up in Mansfield, Texas, the
same hometown of current Cardinal freshman tailback Stepfan Taylor.
The man who speaks of
posing hard questions is no stranger to overcoming difficulty. Dunn’s mother Ramona
was only 15 when she became pregnant with Damon. The father was Mike Lockett,
the University of Texas’ starting fullback in the late ’70s. Lockett was
killed in a car accident while driving back to campus when Dunn was only
“My mom wore a scarlet letter on her chest for what she went
through at such a young age,” Dunn said. “She’s a success story. We talk all the
time. She’ll always inspire me.”
Since graduating in 1998, Dunn
has made a comfortable living in commercial real estate. His Stanford roots
remain a frequent topic, given that his Orange County home is so close to so many
“Football is the common denominator,” he said. “It helps in
the connection process you have with other people.” A recent Los Angeles
article about him noted a play that came at the expense of those
whose vote he’s courting. Conventional wisdom says that USC alumni and fans –
heads expanded with success over the past decade – have forgiven Dunn for his 93-yard
kickoff return for a touchdown during Stanford’s 24-20 victory in
On non-football topics, Dunn
speaks in excited and vibrant tones. Diverse political heroes include Martin
Luther King, Barack Obama and Governor Pete Wilson. He remains a political
novice, having never run for office previously. He first registered to vote as a
Democrat a decade ago but never actually went to the polls until May of 2009.
Like a lost soul finding religion, Dunn found the proper path to affecting
meaningful change, encouraged by a lasting relationship with former U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice, whom he met while a student at Stanford, when Rice served as the University's Provost. Now Dunn feels he "gets" it. No more
standing on the sidelines and failing to get involved in the process. As he told the Los Angeles Times, "Who better to reach a non-voter than a recovering non-voter?"
Critics point to a lack of political experience and the undeniable fact of Dunn's own poor history of voting should count against him. [Ed. - Yeah, well, a great deal of "political experience" and consistent majority-crushing voting by the Dems sure haven't helped California much in recent years.]
Dunn spoke of the opportunity presented by California’s troubling economic downturn.
“If I get elected,
I’ll take it upon myself to do exit interviews with the companies who leave our
state for economic reasons. I’ll give that information to other elected
officials. As of now, only the secretary of state gets to know that kind of
information. We need to grow our revenues. We need another version of the tech
boom of the ’90s.”
Microsoft TV ads of the ’90s asked viewers
“Where do you want to go today?” At the time, Dunn was busy gaining chunks of
He was part of the famed 1994 recruiting class, returning kickoffs and snaring
passes from Steve Stenstrom, Mark Butterfield and Chad Hutchinson while becoming
a four-year letterman. The recruiting Class of '94 group’s 14 members
started nearly 280 games between them, meaning that each member was a starter
for an average of two full seasons. It was an uneasy beginning: Dunn lost
a fumble on a punt against Northwestern on his first college play. He bounced
back to run a kick back 100 yards weeks later at Arizona State.
remains a close friendship with another Texas-bred member of that landmark recruiting
class: Anthony Bookman a regular caller on Dunn’s Blackberry. He’s also tight
with fellow receiver Troy Walters, also from Texas. The 1999 Biletnikoff Award
winner just finished his second season as offensive coordinator and wide receivers
coach for Indiana State, where former Cardinal receiver and All-American return
specialist Luke Powell coaches defensive backs.
“Being a Stanford
football player, it’s being the ultimate leader,” he said. “The combination of
the demands of the football field and the classroom, you have no choice but to
assert yourself and be a leader.”
Who will lead California? Why not Damon
Dunn? He can use some blockers! Republicans are a touchdown underdog these days
in the Golden State.
For those interested in Dunn's campaign, you can
find him on Facebook and at http://www.damondunn.com/
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