The (Continuing) Love Affair That Rocked City Hall

Sarah Dodd once covered Dallas as a TV reporter. Now she lobbies it.

The last time you appeared in D Magazine was a cover story from 2007, with the salacious headline “The Love Affair That Rocked City Hall.” You were dating Police Chief David Kunkle, whom you eventually married, becoming his fifth wife.


And eight years later, we’re still blissfully married.

Vegas had the over-under at six months. How’d you do it?


To be real honest, he’s my best friend. We do everything together. I respect him. He’s introduced me to a lot of things I didn’t even know I would enjoy, like exercise. I never went to the gym a single day in my life before I met him. 

That same year, 2007, you left CBS Channel 11, where you’d been a reporter and news anchor. Was that a hard decision?


Surprisingly, it wasn’t. If you’d asked me in my 20s what I’d be doing in my 40s, there’s no question I would have said, “I’ll be a journalist.” I loved my job. I covered City Hall, broke big stories. But I thought, “What more do I want from this career?” I didn’t want to leave my hometown for network opportunities. So what was the next step? 

At one point, you were studying for the LSAT and planned to enroll at SMU.


Yes. I thought, “What would I do if I weren’t a journalist?” Well, I’d always been interested in the law. So I thought I should start a business and make all the money I would need to pay for law school. That’s really how my business started. And I loved it so much, that I thought, “Why on earth would I want to go back to school? I’ve got this business that I love as much as my journalism career.”

It’s called Dodd Communications. I have to tell you that when I hear about TV people leaving their jobs to start communications companies, I think of ill-considered sock-puppet campaigns and unqualified people.


I don’t disagree with that. I think that about a lot of them, too. 

What makes you different?


I understand local politics. I spent every day for seven years down at City Hall, covering it. I’ve established relationships on every level of that building, from staff folks to elected officials. And I understand the zoning process. I took that skill set and combined it with my relationships in the media, understanding the news cycle. They are a nice complement to each other.

And you claim to be the most active independent lobbyist at City Hall?


Look at the lobby registration reports for the city of Dallas. It’s pretty easy to see who’s doing the most business and what sorts of projects they’re working on.

Who is your favorite City Council member?


That’s a good question. I’m not going to say all of them. [laughs]

What’s the biggest bribe you’ve had to pay, to date?


Never.

What is the chief up to these days? Do you call him the chief?


[laughs] You can call him the chief. I don’t. He has four urban chickens in East Dallas—Beyoncé and the Single Ladies. [snort laugh] I named the chickens. 

I picture him in his uniform, with his gun and his badge, out there tending to the chickens.


Let me tell you my only disappointment about him retiring: you have to give the uniform back.

Why is that a disappointment?


Because he looked pretty hot in that uniform.

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