AUSTIN, Texas — A longtime Texas lawmaker who was under investigation following reports that questioned her use of state funds said Monday she is resigning because of health complications, but not until after the November election.
Democratic state Rep. Dawnna Dukes said injuries suffered in a 2013 car accident, which she has said caused her to miss the majority of the 2015 legislative session, made it no longer possible to provide “active, effective leadership” for her Austin-area district. She was first elected in 1994 and is among the longest-serving Democrats in the Texas Capitol.
Her statement did not mention a criminal investigation that was opened earlier this year after former aides alleged she required them to work on personal projects and errands. The Texas Rangers delivered prosecutors their findings last week, said Gregg Cox, who runs the special prosecution division in the Travis County district attorney’s office. Cox said Monday that “the matter is still under review.”
The Austin American-Statesman has also found that Dukes filed for $30,000 in gas reimbursements since 2001, eight times more than her fellow Austin legislators combined, and made other expenses that raise questions. She has previously defended how she ran her office.
“I must take the time to focus all of my energy to heal and continue to provide for my young daughter and extended family,” Dukes said of her decision to resign.
Dukes said she intends to remain on the November ballot and then have Republican Gov. Greg Abbott call a special election for her seat in her heavily Democratic district. Her Republican challenger, Gabriel Nila, said in a statement “there is no good reason for her to resign 100 days from now” and called on her to leave office immediately.