Dunn to resign from office, pursue community development career

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Rep. Randy Dunn, D-Kansas City, officially announced Thursday he will resign his office effective May 31.

“The decision to leave was certainly a bittersweet one and it was not an easy decision for me to make,” Dunn told The Missouri Times. “Despite serving in the superminority, I loved the work I did in the legislature.”

Dunn has accepted a position as the founding executive director of a new community development intermediary called Spark in Omaha, Nebraska. That job will entail getting funding and resources for both nonprofit and for-profit developers who may not usually have access to those kinds of resources.

In that capacity, the outgoing representative says he will be doing what he loves.

“One of my passions is in economic development and more specifically economic development in urban communities and impoverished communities, and serving in this new role will provide me the opportunity to continue to work to serve those communities in need,” Dunn said.

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty let the cat out of the bag at the end of session last week when she tearfully told the body that Dunn would not return for next year’s session. Dunn then officially ascended the dais, and alongside House Speaker Todd Richardson ended the 2017 Regular Session.

“I am saddened to lose Rep. Dunn,” Beatty said in a statement. “He has been a great asset to our caucus and the legislature as a whole. He will be missed, but I wish him the best in his new endeavors.”

Beatty may not have become House Minority Leader without Dunn. After former Rep. Roman LeBlanc decided not to run for re-election in 2010 following a scandal, Dunn filed to run in his district.

“Prior to Rep. Beatty filing to run, I was not seeing any names of individuals that had filed that I felt would adequately represent the district. But once she filed, I knew she would be a great champion for the folks in that district.”

Dunn eventually stepped aside and allowed Beatty to run for the seat with little serious opposition.

His own work in the legislature saw him serve on the influential House Budget and Economic Development Committees and he worked to lead development in his district, including the redevelopment of the Jazz District. He also secured funding for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the American Jazz Museum, and worked with former Rep. Kimberly Gardner to award grants for urban agriculture and farming.

Dunn says he will miss working with the legislators he has served alongside, but most of all, he will miss fighting for the people in his district.

“Undoubtedly what I will miss the most is being able to directly interact with my constituents,” he said.

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