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A Woman First: The Impact of Jennifer Dunn

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Misjudged, underestimated and sometimes ignored, Jennifer Dunn broke the gender barrier repeatedly as a single mother of two boys. Once labeled a Glamour Girl in Congress, Dunn rose through the ranks to become one of the most powerful women on Capitol Hill, a protege of the speaker of the House and a friend of presidents. Dunn fought vigorously for families and women throughout her career. She was instrumental in the passage of the AMBER Alert system. She championed Megan's Law that established community notification of sex predators. Internationally, Dunn helped secure a women's center in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein and championed the causes of orphans in Africa. A suburban mom from Bellevue, Washington, Dunn leveraged an interest in politics to the role as State Chair of the Republican Party and ultimately election to the U.S.House of Representatives all the while raising two boys on her own. None of it came easily. Jen had to prove herself at every step of her life, said brother John Blackburn. She felt she had to prove herself to Mother growing up. She had to prove herself to her teachers and professors at college. She had to prove herself to IBM. She proved she could raise money for the Republican Party to the heads of Boeing and several Seattle banks. She proved that she electable both for the Washington State Republican Party and to the U.S. House of Representatives. She proved she was more than a pretty face.  By Trova Heffernan.