breaking news

Austin police arrest person of interest in deadly Sixth Street assault

Dawnna Dukes arrives late to House chambers, is sworn in to 12th term


Following through on her surprising last-minute decision to renege on her promise to leave office, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes on Tuesday arrived a few minutes late to the Texas House chambers for the first day of the 2017 legislative session and took the oath of office.

Facing a criminal investigation and saying she was too ill to serve, the Austin Democrat announced in September she would step down at the end of her 11th term. That would have created a vacancy to be filled by a special election during the 2017 session, and candidates had already lined up to replace her.

Instead, she changed her mind days before the session began, sending shockwaves through the political community, upending the plans of those who had planned to run for her seat and adding a new twist to the pending criminal investigation against her.

Speaking to reporters after being sworn in, Dukes said she decided to come back because constituents had urged her to continue serving and because her health had improved following complications from a 2013 car crash.

“Doctors gave me the green light, constituents, former members, present members were really encouraging me to change my mind and they were using every argument possible,” she said.

She declined to discuss the pending criminal probe, saying, “Anything concerning legal is in the process, or not, and I don’t plan on discussing it.”

Also on Tuesday, new Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore is being briefed by the Texas Rangers on the case against Dukes, who is accused of misusing legislative personnel and campaign money.

Moore has said she will decide whether to seek an indictment against Dukes following the briefing.

Former Austin City Council Member Sheryl Cole, who planned to run in the special election to replace Dukes, will hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Correction: Sheryl Cole was misidentified as a former mayor of Austin. She was mayor pro-tem.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Austin police arrest person of interest in deadly Sixth Street assault
Austin police arrest person of interest in deadly Sixth Street assault

Austin police have arrested a person of interest in an assault on Sixth Street that left a San Antonio man dead, according to law enforcement officials. The man was identified and taken into custody overnight after officials received numerous tips from the public who had seen photographs and surveillance video released by police. Police declined...
FORECAST: Heat and humidity hang on; small chance for afternoon storms
FORECAST: Heat and humidity hang on; small chance for afternoon storms

Thursday forecast for Austin: Swelter is once again the weather word on the last day of summer (astronomically speaking) as the unforgiving combination of heat and tropical humidity will combine to make it feel like hotter than 100 degrees outside.  The National Weather Service says high temperatures will reach 93 degrees in Central Austin, but...
OVERNIGHT: Fire displaces 11 from North Campus home
OVERNIGHT: Fire displaces 11 from North Campus home

A fire at a North Campus home displaced 11 people early Thursday, though other details remained sparse as authorities continued their investigation.   The blaze erupted shortly before 1:30 a.m. at a house on the 3300 block of Kim Lane, in the heavily student-populated neighborhood, and burned for more than half an hour before Austin firefighters...
Former Longhorn Ricky Williams arrested on warrants
Former Longhorn Ricky Williams arrested on warrants

Former Longhorn and Heisman Trophy award winner Ricky Williams was arrested in South Austin on Tuesday on traffic warrants, records show. Williams was pulled over for a traffic offense on Manchaca Road at Ben White Boulevard, then arrested on warrants, Austin police said. He is no longer in the Travis County Jail, records show.  Williams...
Here’s how to help Mexico after deadly earthquakes
Here’s how to help Mexico after deadly earthquakes

Mexico still needs help after it was hit by two major earthquakes in as many weeks.  A 7.1-magnitude quake has left more than 200 people dead in Mexico City and the central states of Mexico State, Guerrero, Morelos and Puebla. And on Sept. 7, about 96 people died during an 8.2-magnitude earthquake – the strongest to hit the country in more...
More Stories