American Elephants

My former Representative, Jennifer Dunn, died today by American Elephant
September 5, 2007, 4:02 pm
Filed under: News, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Former Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn

What a sad and shocking day.

I had just learned of the passing of Ohio Congressman, Paul Gillmor, and was reading the news reports when I was shocked to find at the end of one the articles that my own former congresswoman, Jennifer Dunn, also died today.

Representative Dunn was a statesman, a stalwart conservative and an elegant lady, and we are grateful for her service to our district, Washington State, the Republican party and the nation. Among her many, many accomplishments, Representative Dunn led the charge on welfare reform, the Amber Alert system, and the repeal of the estate tax. We will miss her and our prayers go to her family and loved ones.

Former Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn, one of the state’s most prominent Republican figures for more than two decades, died unexpectedly Tuesday night. She was 66.

Ms. Dunn suffered a pulmonary embolism and collapsed in her Alexandria, Va., apartment and never regained consciousness, her family said in a statement. She died later at the hospital, where she was surrounded by family members.

“We’re just trying to pull ourselves together,” said her son, Reagan Dunn, a King County councilman. “It was a total shock.

“She gave her whole life giving to other people. She touched a lot of lives and did a lot for her country.”

Ms. Dunn served six terms in the U.S. House, from 1993 to 2005, representing Washington’s Eighth District, which includes Bellevue, much of east King County and part of Pierce County. She became the first woman to serve on the House Republican leadership team.

She retired from politics in 2005 and went to work for a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.

Before serving in Congress, Ms. Dunn became the first woman elected as chair of a state Republican Party — a position she held from 1981 to 1992.

News of Ms. Dunn’s death shocked Republicans and Democrats alike.

“I’m just stunned,” said Brett Bader, a Republican consultant from Bellevue. “It’s like a whole generation of Republicans have lost their mom. She was that giant of a figure.”

“I feel terrible for her family,” said U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, who has known Ms. Dunn since they were teenagers. “They should be very proud of all she accomplished and the way she did it.”

Dicks, D-Bremerton, described Ms. Dunn as a fiercely loyal Republican but said she was always willing to work together when the state’s interests were at stake. He cited their efforts at reducing international trade barriers and support for Boeing.

“Her passing is a loss for all Washingtonians,” Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire said in a written statement. “She was a devoted wife and mother and always kept her family as her top priority. My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time.”

In Congress, Ms. Dunn served as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, vice chairwoman of the Homeland Security Committee and a member of the Republican caucus campaign team.

She was a frequent spokeswoman for the House, once giving the Republican response to a State of the Union address by then-President Bill Clinton. She helped run three Republican national conventions. She was elected to the U.S. House in 1992, the year Clinton was elected president, and easily beat back a series of Democratic challengers for her seat. [read more]

Leaders react to the passing of Representative Dunn.

Seattle Times photo gallery of Representative Dunn.

Seattle P.I. coverage.

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I am so sorry to hear this news. Mrs Jennifer Dunn was a most gracious and elegant lady. She personified ‘class’. The Republican party will greatly miss her. My condolences to her family.


Comment by madmouser

She was a very classy lady. May she rest in peace.


Comment by Jason

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