DAVIS COUNTY — Dawn Nunn was listening to floor debates during the last day of the 2018 legislative session when she got a text from her mom.
“She texted me, ‘I’m going to run. Do you think I should run?’” Nunn said. ‘And I was like, ‘Yes! Run!’”
As Nunn continued to watch the voting and listen to bill presentations, she was concerned with some of the things she heard. All day she had been thinking she needed to run, and her decision was final by the end of the night. Both she and her mother would be running for seats in Utah’s House of Representatives.
“I didn’t really think I was going to do this until much later in life,” Nunn said. “But because of what I’ve been seeing happening, I knew I had to step in and do something at this point.”
Nunn said she had previously pushed her mom — Cheryl Nunn — to run for office because she thought she would be perfect for the job, but she always said no.
Over the years, Cheryl Nunn became more politically active. When a friend told her there wasn’t a Democratic candidate running for House District 16 this election and suggested she run, she decided it was time.
“As women, we just felt that we couldn’t not do something,” Cheryl Nunn said.
The election process will be a family event for the Nunns, involving Cheryl Nunn’s four granddaughters, ages 6 to 9. Two are Dawn Nunn’s daughters.
Cheryl Nunn’s younger daughter is the mother of the other two girls, but Cheryl Nunn has adopted both of them. She refers to her adopted grandchildren as her committee chairman and campaign manager.
Dawn Nunn and her mother have taken the girls to conventions and will continue to include them throughout the process with things like making posters and meeting the community.
“We make it fun for them,” Cheryl Nunn said. “We bring treats, and we give them little jobs they find fun. They like meeting the public. They like shaking hands.”
Dawn Nunn said she wants the involvement to help teach the girls things her mom taught her as a child.
“She showed me that, really, you can do anything. That anything is possible,” Dawn Nunn said. “And I really hope that the girls see that too. That yeah, their grandmother and their aunt can really do anything. And that they can feel like they can do anything, too.”
Both women are excited to share this experience and build their relationship with each other. Cheryl Nunn is especially looking forward to the time she will spend with her daughter because the past 10 years were so focused on helping and finally adopting her granddaughters.
“This political opportunity has been an opportunity for me to focus on Dawn,” Cheryl Nunn said. “Now I feel like I have more in common with Dawn and we’re more unified to do something together.”
No matter what election results bring, the two want to continue political involvement as a family.
“We’re not just looking at it to the end of the campaign,” Cheryl Nunn said. “This is a lifelong commitment. We both expect to be involved in the future. We will still be part of the process and we’ll still support each other in whatever aspects of it.”
Matilyn Mortensen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MatilynKay.