Leawood mayor takes unusual path to City Hall - KCTV5

Leawood mayor takes unusual path to City Hall

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As dedicated as she is to her job, Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn has always put family first. As dedicated as she is to her job, Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn has always put family first.
LEAWOOD, KS (KCTV) -

There are more than 1,300 mayors in U.S. cities with populations more than 30,000. Of those, only 18 percent are women.

One of them lives in Johnson County. Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn's path to City Hall was an unusual one.

After getting a degree in social work, she became a probation officer. After getting married, she taught piano for a decade.

In 1993, a friend suggested she run for city council.

"No, I was never really interested in politics, but I did serve on the student council in high school, and I helped people run for office when I was in college. But I never really thought about it for myself," Dunn said.

As an active resident, Dunn knew the city well and found the idea intriguing. But then, she learned there was competition.

"A man filed to run against me, and I had to learn how to run a campaign, which I knew nothing about. So I had a real grass roots, door-to-door campaign, my first time running," she said.

She won the election, and in 1997, when the mayor at the time chose not to run, Dunn decided to go for it.

At first Dunn presided over a mostly male city council.

But if they had any doubts about her ability to lead, they vanished quickly.

"The individuals serving on the council expect me to completely have done my homework, and know the issues, and be able to give wise counsel, especially if it can be controversial, I take that very seriously and come prepared," Dunn said.

As dedicated as she is to her job, Dunn has always put family first. She and her husband met on a blind date set up by both their mothers.

Together, they have four children and 10 grandchildren, all of them under the age of 6.

"You get to spoil them, then give them back to their parents for discipline. You get to give them sugar and candy, cookies, then they go home and tear up the house," she said. "My highest goal for my children would be that they love each other, and their friends, and of course love their parents."

The way Dunn loves her parents - never going a day without talking to her mom.

"I call her, and sometimes it's only five minutes, but we connect via phone every morning. It's a real gift. She's a real blessing in my life," she said.

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