PRIMED AND READY: Successful real estate investor Damon Dunn poured $600,00 into his mayoral campaign and raised an additional $350,000 and is on the cusp of becoming the first Black mayor in the city of Long Beach. File Photo
Real Estate investor Damon Dunn knows how to raise money, so much that he has pumped more than a half million into his campaign to become the first African American mayor in the history of Long Beach.
Dunn, a native of Fort Worth, Texas wasn’t born rich. He was raised by a 16-year old single mother and grew up in dire poverty, living in a three-bedroom trailer with ten family members.
He wore hand-me-downs and Salvation Army clothes.
However it is from these humble beginnings that he learned the value – and the rewards - of hard work, something he has demonstrated throughout his life.
Dunn was a star athlete in high school and realized early on the significance of education and thus set the bar high.
The former Texas All-State Football player maintained a stellar grade point average and earned a scholarship to Stanford University.
While at Stanford, he had a record-setting college football career, ran track and earned many academic and athletic awards. Dunn earned All-PAC 10 Honors and Academic All-Pac 10 Honors, and the National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame Award.
While at Stanford, he played for coaches the late and legendary Bill Walsh and African American Ty Willingham, eventually went on to the NFL where he played for four teams in as many years, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys.
He has settled in Long Beach for the past three years after a highly successful career as a real estate investor and co-founder of Tricor Southwest Corporation, a real estate investment firm.
He says that his desire to make his foray into public policy was inspired by his desire to give back.
“To whom much is given, much is required,” he explained to the Sentinel. “I reached a point in 2008 where I became financially well off and I felt the responsibility to help others.”
Dunn says that 31 projects that his company worked on with cities increased the city sales and business tax, a trend that he would like to continue as mayor.
He is a declared independent and will face off with Long Beach City Council member Robert Garcia in the June 3 election. Garcia garnered 25 percent of the vote to Dunn’s 23 percent in the primary.
“Robert had a chance to run a business and had six tax liens. If he can’s manage his own business, how can he manage a general fund with a $1.2 billion budget?”
“I have a strategic plan to increase the city finances that will create more jobs and boost our economy,” Dunn added. “I’m confident because I have already proven that I can raise money.” In addition to the $600,000 he invested into his mayoral campaign, he raised another $350,000.
He says that he loves Long Beach because of its diversity.
“It’s diverse and it has a small town feel to it,” he said of the city. “There is a unique sense of community here.”
He would become the first African American mayor in the history of Long Beach, and has garnered key endorsement support including former Mayor Beverly O’Neill.
“Several years ago, I was at a luncheon where I met Damon Dunn. This is when he first came to live in Long Beach. I was impressed and pleased that this smart young man had chosen Long Beach as his home. He has a broad background and the acquired skills to lead and to meet the challenges facing our beloved Long Beach,” stated O’Neill.
Another former Mayor Ernie Kell, Jackie Kell, Former Fifth District Councilmember,
Rae Gabelich, Former 8th District Councilmember, Felton Williams Ph.D., LBUSD Board of Education Member, Jeff Kellogg, LBCC Board of Trustees and Former Vice Mayor, Long Beach Fire Fighters Endorse Damon Dunn for Mayor, Long Beach Chamber of Commerce Endorses Damon Dunn for Mayor and Former United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice all endorses his candidacy.
“Damon Dunn is the right choice for the next Mayor of Long Beach. He is dedicated to helping rebuild the foundation of American strength – our economy – by stimulating private sector growth and small business entrepreneurship in Long Beach. As a successful businessman, he knows how to create jobs and build long-term sustainable growth. And he is prepared to take on the burden of leadership during these times of turmoil to get things done – for you and for our country,” Rice wrote.
There are many others who equally share the same level of commitment to Dunn.
In September 2011, he joined the Board of Directors of the Long Beach Education Foundation and immediately took the leadership to raise $190,000 for the 2012-13 school year.
“I believe that I am competent enough to demonstrate my words with my action,” he said.
Dunn is another in a new stream of novice public servants making an impact for public office and he feels that it’s sending a message.
“There are two messages being sent. One they are tired of career politicians and the other is they are fed up with people who are being influenced by lobbyist and are not independent leaders.”
Concluding he finalized; Votes care about your enthusiasm and intellect. I think it says something about our society today.”