Texas House Member

Rep. Dukes, Dawnna

District 46


Capitol Address:

Room 1W.2

P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

(512) 463-0506

(512) 463-7864 Fax

District Address:

P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78701

(512) 463-0506

Counties Represented:

Travis (part)



Dawnna Dukes, an eleven-term member of the Texas House of Representatives and a proud third-generation native of District 46, continues to be a respected member of the Appropriations Committee. She remains a strong advocate for art, music, parks, libraries, and the preservation of Texas' rich history as Vice-Chair of the Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee. In addition, she has served as Chair of the Select Committee on Child Protection; as Chair of the Special Issues Committee on Appropriations; as Vice Chair of the Committee on Ethics; as a member of the Stimulus Subcommittee on Appropriations; on the Joint Task Force on the Use of Sales Tax on Sporting Goods; on the Medicaid Reform Legislative Oversight Committee; on the Business and Industry Committee; and on the Environmental Regulation Committee.


As an active member of the Texas House of Representatives, Dukes has led the fight to improve public and higher education by requiring school districts to inform parents of uncertified instructors teaching in the classroom, by advocating for increases in funding for early childhood education and by promoting dropout prevention programs. Dukes worked tirelessly to ensure an across the board pay raise for every full-time teacher, counselor, and school nurse. Dukes has been instrumental in the fight to keep low-performing neighborhood schools open and ensuring they are provided with the necessary tools to succeed. She has also fought to make college more accessible to low income students by co-sponsoring the 100 million dollar TEXAS Grant Program and co-authoring legislation to establish the Texas Tomorrow Fund II. Dukes coauthored legislation that helps identify and analyze the critical issues affecting graduation rates in order to implement methods that will be effective in increasing the number of students who earn a postsecondary degree, a vital step in the effort to bring Texas to the forefront of academic success.


In her commitment to increase school safety and build safer communities, Representative Dukes created tougher penalties against gang recruitment and activity, expanded the "gun free school zones" provision, and protected a child's right to due process under the law by requiring that proper counsel be provided to youth during law enforcement interrogations. Dukes expanded unemployment compensation to allow victims of domestic abuse to have an independent source of income. She also strengthened protective orders to ensure that victims of child, spousal, adult and elder abuse receive greater protection. She sought to improve the rights of minors by providing them with access to emergency shelters in order to protect their physical health and safety. Representative Dukes passed landmark legislation to prevent teen dating violence, requiring all school districts in Texas to include a teen dating violence identification and education program into their campus safety programs. She coauthored legislation to address the devastating effects school bullying has on students, families, and communities across Texas. School districts are now required to adopt policies that teach staff how to identify and respond to school bullying, including cyber bullying.


Since 2003 Representative Dukes has been an active member of the powerful Appropriations Committee. She was instrumental in securing $182 million for the preservation of state parks as the Chair of Budget and Oversight of the Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee. As Chair of the subcommittee on Specials Issues, Representative Dukes engineered a $500 million across the board pay raise for all state employees and targeted pay raises for public safety employees. She also provided $200 million from the System Benefit Fund for a 10% electricity rate discount for low income Texans.


Dukes has become a chief architect in crafting agency budgets and influencing policy within health and human services due to her veteran position on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. She has been especially active in the reformation of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and in providing the resources needed to keep children safe while preserving the integrity of the family unit. Most recently she created the Protect Our Kids Commission comprised of experts in the community to develop recommendations and identify resources necessary to reduce fatalities from child abuse and neglect.


In her commitment to ensure access to affordable housing, Representative Dukes joint authored the creation of a homestead preservation district in Austin. It grants cities the tools to help increase home ownership, provide affordable housing, and prevent the involuntary loss of homesteads by existing low-income and moderate-income homeowners living in neighborhoods experiencing rising property values, such as in Central East Austin. In 1999, Representative Dukes engineered comprehensive legislation to improve the State's Historically Underutilized Business program that leveled the playing field for women and minority-owned businesses in the competition for and the awarding of state contracts. She received national recognition for her legislative efforts to promote the increased participation of women and minority-owned businesses in Texas by being named State Legislator of the Year by the National Association of Small Disadvantaged Businesses.

In her efforts to create jobs and stimulate the economy, Dukes created the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (TMIIIP) securing $60 million in incentives to bring Texas into the forefront of the competitive film industry. During the past seven years, the program has been responsible for the creation of more than 15,000 jobs and $958 million in salaries to Texas residents or in goods purchased in the state.

In 2011 Representative Dukes sponsored Senate Bill 501, creating the Interagency Council for Addressing Disproportionality to address systemic disparities among children who are members of racial or ethnic minority groups involved in the foster care, healthcare, special education, juvenile justice and criminal justice systems.

Dukes is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Psychology. She is the owner of DM Dukes and Associates, Inc., a consulting firm; a member of the Links, Inc.-Austin Chapter and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.-Beta Psi Omega Graduate Chapter.

Dukes has traveled extensively as an ambassador for the State of Texas and the United States. In 1995, Dukes was one of eight legislators chosen from the United States to be part of the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) delegation to Taiwan. She was also selected by ACYPL and an ancillary group, the Atlantic Association of Young Political Leaders (AAYPL), to represent the United States in a conference on the future of NATO in the 21st century with Canadian and European counterparts in Brussels, Belgium. During her second term, Dukes was among four individuals nationwide to be selected by the Japan Society to become a 1997 Local Public Policy Fellow. For two months, Dukes traveled through Japan to research and write about women-owned business and race and gender relations in Japan.

Due to her consistent crusade for the equality of all people, she was named the 1999 Outstanding Human Rights Advocate by the Human Rights Campaign. In 2002, Representative Dukes was presented with the YWCA Woman of the Year award for her dedication and work in public policy and government services. She received the 2010 Distinguished Public Service Award by the National Forum of Black Public Administrators for her work in public servitude. In recognition of her advocacy for youth of all ages, Representative Dukes was named the 2010 Texan of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Texas.

Dukes has been recognized by a variety of organizations for her work in the legislature. Due to her steadfast commitment in protecting children and strengthening families, Dukes received the TexProtects Children's Champion Award in 2009. In recognition of her advocacy for youth of all ages, Dukes was named the 2010 Texan of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Texas. She received the CommunityCare Champion for Children Award in 2011. In 2013 Dukes was awarded the Texas CASA Big Voices for Little Texans Award and the Lifesaver Award. Her vigilant work on film incentives earned the 2010 Distinguished Boyd Vance Award and an award at the 2010 Texas Black Film Festival Award in Dallas.

Press Conferences:

Member Press Conferences