DUKES, DAWNNA(1963~) Dawnna Dukes is a fifth term member of the Texas House of Representatives and a third generation native of District 46, which comprises inner-city East Austin and Northeast Travis County. Dukes currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Business and Industry and four terms on the highly controversial Committee on Environmental Regulation.
Dawnna Dukes is a graduate of Texas A & M University. In addition to her political and civic duties, she is the owner of DM Dukes and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in business resource planning, safety loss/control, and feasibility and impact studies.
As an active member of the Texas House of Representatives, Representative 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, increasing funding for early childhood education and dropout prevention programs. She has also fought to make college more accessible to low income students by co-sponsoring the 100 million dollar TEXAS Grant Program and promoting an across the board pay raise for every full-time teacher, counselor and school nurse.
In her commitment to increase school safety and build safer neighborhoods, Representative Dukes created tougher penalties against gang recruitment and activity, expanded the ?gun free school zones? provision, protected a child?s right to due process under the law by requiring that proper counsel be provided to youth drawing law enforcement interrogations. She also strengthened protective orders to ensure that victims of child, spousal, adult and elder abuse receive greater protection. 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.
Representative Dukes has systematically challenged leadership on environmental racism by preventing the development of undesirable industry in neighborhoods, working to reduce air pollution from Texas industries, and strengthening State oversight of municipal landfills. Due to her innovative guidance and strong efforts to protect the environment, the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club presented Representative Dukes with the ?New Leadership for the Environment Award.?
She 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 a part of the 1995 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. Also in 1995, DM Dukes and Associates represented an array of Austin businesses during a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa to build economic opportunities through international partnerships. During her second term, Dukes was one of 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.
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 and the awarding of state contracts. She received national recognition in 1999 for her legislative efforts to promote the increased participation of women and minority owned business in Texas by being named State Legislator of the Year by the National Association of Small Disadvantaged Business. In 2002, Representative Dukes was presented with the YWCA Woman of the Year for her dedication and work in public policy and governmental services.