Dawnna Dukes explains why she didn't resign, as possible indictment looms

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes not stepping down

Late Tuesday afternoon the Travis County District Attorney announced a Grand Jury will decide if one State lawmaker will face criminal charges.

State Representative Dawnna Dukes returned to the legislature Tuesday morning despite that potential legal battle.

After 22 years she had planned to step down, due to health concerns.

But her name was still on last November's ballot, and she won.

Late last week, she revealed she was not going to resign, and sat down with KVUE to explain why not.

Tuesday morning, Dawnna Dukes was once again sworn in as the State Representative for District 46 in Central Texas.

"Everyone kept saying, Dawnna you need to be back and you know in your heart you want to," she said.

An August 2013, a car accident left Dukes with major health issues.  She says last week, doctors gave her the green light to return full-time to the legislature.

"One of the things I have learned to live with now is seizures, epilepsy," she said.  "I may look a little different, I may walk a little different and I may talk a little different, I'm still Dawnna Dukes."

Dukes says input from constituents, other lawmakers and her young daughter helped her decide to put the resignation on hold.

"She said mommy, yeah, I'm proud of you, do it," Dukes said with a smile.

Last year some of Duke's former staffers claimed she used them to run her errands, and work on personal projects, including a non-profit event.

Tuesday afternoon, The Travis County D.A. and the Texas Rangers decided to ask a grand jury to indict the state representative on charges of abuse of official capacity and tampering with public records.

"Because there is an ongoing investigation, I will not comment on that," she said.  "That's all a distraction that people want to bring up. That has nothing to do with what happen on on the floor of the house of representatives."

And Dukes says a possible indictment won't affect how she handles her business in the legislature.

"One would be naive to believe that Dawnna Dukes is the only member up here who experienced that at this time or any time in the past," she said.

In the meantime, Dukes says her extensive knowledge of the Appropriations subcommittee and Health and Human Services will let her help Texans, especially children, while taking a closer look at the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Dukes also says if she had resigned, this session would have started with an empty District 46 seat, and whoever eventually filled it would have to overcome a steep learning curve, and wouldn't be able to contribute much.

Texas Rangers will present Dukes’ case to a Travis County grand jury on Tuesday, Jan. 17. 

(© 2017 KVUE)


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