Dallas mayoral candidate David Kunkle




Posted on May 9, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 9 at 6:06 PM

DALLAS — Early voting ends Tuesday for Saturday's election. Four candidates are vying to be the new mayor of Dallas.

We begin our closer look at them starting with David Kunkle, who served as Dallas police chief for six years.

Kunkle, 60, opposes raising property taxes to balance the budget. He says Dallas needs to embrace development of all sizes to spur economic growth.

And Kunkle believes small businesses — along with community involvement — are keys to growth in the city's southern sector.

After spending nearly 40 years in law enforcement and city management in which he ultimately worked for politicians, Kunkle decided less than a year into retirement to become one.

"It's been different than I expected in some ways," he said. "Asking somebody for their vote and money is something that I've never done before."

It's the first time Kunkle has run for office, but not the first time he's run.

Kunkle started running marathons at age 28 and is still going at 60. "I'm one of these crazy people that find a way to run almost every day, and I will run 40, 50, 60 miles a week."

Kunkle said the self-discipline overlaid well to running a big city police department — and for being mayor if he's elected.

"I don't know if it's risk-taking or just something that I think that I can do better than a lot of people and that I am obligated to serve," he said.

Kunkle started serving as a rookie Dallas officer in 1972. At 28, he was the youngest captain in department history.

He went on to become chief in Grand Prairie and Arlington and later served as Arlington deputy city manager.

In retirement from the Dallas chief's job, he lives with Sarah Dodd, a former TV reporter and his fifth wife, in their "M streets" home splashed with Dallas-themed art.

Heading a police department with a command structure is different than being mayor. But Kunkle says he is prepared to listen and lead. "The first goal that I have is to work with the individual Council members," he said.

Kunkle's big issue is to maintain core city services in a tight budget to make neighborhoods as livable as possible.

Regardless whether he wins, he’ll keep on running. David Kunkle is already qualified for the New York City Marathon in November.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com