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One HD46 hopeful calls on Rep. Dukes to resign now

From the inbox:

Rep. Dawnna Dukes

This morning, Chito Vela called on current State Representative Dawnna Dukes to immediately resign her position as State Representative for Texas House District 46 instead of waiting until January 10, as she previously announced. If Rep. Dukes waits until January 10 to resign, the seat will likely not be filled until March or even later if there is a runoff election.

“If Rep. Dukes waits until January 10 to resign, families in East Austin, Manor and Pflugerville would go without any representation in the Texas House for most of the legislative session,” Vela said. “I know what it takes to run a Capitol office,” he continued. “It takes time to hire staff, set up shop, and propose legislation. By waiting so long to resign, Rep. Dukes is hurting her successor, her constituents, and all Texas Democrats.”

If Rep. Dukes resigns immediately, the seat can be filled quickly, ensuring working families in District 46 have a voice and providing an important Democratic vote against bad legislation. Vela challenged all other candidates for the seat to join him in calling for Dukes’ immediate resignation.

“Rep. Dukes needs to put the needs of her constituents first and immediately resign her seat,” he added. “The values and interests of our community will be under attack in the coming legislative session. Texas Democrats need every vote they can get.”

Once Rep. Dukes resigns, Governor Abbott has 20 days to call a special election for the seat. Because the vacancy will occur within 60 days of the start of the 85th Legislative Session, the election must be held no earlier than 21 days and no later than 45 days after Gov. Abbott calls the election. If Rep. Dukes resigns immediately, the election would be held well before the bill filing deadline of March 10, 2017. If she resigns on January 10 as she previously announced, it is unlikely the seat would be filled before the bill filing deadline, leaving her successor with little opportunity to propose new legislation.

See here for some background. Vela is echoing the same points I noted about the special election timeline, which will almost certainly include a runoff. There’s no particular reason I can think of why Dukes needs to delay her departure till January 10 – she’s long since been invested in the Lege’s pension, and it’s not like there’s any bills she has to file, since she wouldn’t be there to get them passed. One could argue that her constituents would have been best served if she had stepped down immediately after the election; if she had, the special to replace her would already be on the calendar. I find myself in agreement with Chito Vela on this one. Step down now, Rep. Dukes, and let your successor take office in time to have an effect on the 2017 session. The Austin Chronicle has more.

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