Lobbyist at odds with Dukes' voting record - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lobbyist at odds with Dukes' voting record

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city lobbyist Rufus Montgomery city lobbyist Rufus Montgomery

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Did a State Representative's actions cost Albany taxpayers money?

A lobbyist hired by the city, recounts Rep. Winfred Dukes votes and says state leadership was upset with the way Dukes voted and that he spoke out against them.

Rep. Dukes says he voted what he believed, and stood up for the people he represents.

"You are in the wrong game. Completely in the wrong game," said State Representative Winfred Dukes to city lobbyist Rufus Montgomery, after Montgomery relayed voting results from the General Assembly to the commission Tuesday morning.

"How in the world can I ever trust you? How can I trust him? How can he come to me and ask me anything for you all? He comes down here at the commission meeting and trashes me," asked Dukes.

While Montgomery did not level any charges against Dukes, he essentially told the commission that the reason Albany State did not get funding that was originally placed in the state budget is because Dukes voted against legislation proposed by house leadership and that Dukes spoke out against those leaders. Dukes says that's not the reason. "Absolutely not," he said, "Because the people in the General Assembly are not as petty to address one or two particular votes."

Plus, Dukes says if the Republican leadership wanted to get back at Dukes, they would have stripped money set aside for Darton, not ASU. "To be quite candid with you, Albany State is not in my district, Darton is. Darton is. So if anybody was going to punish me, it seems like they would have taken the money from Darton rather than Albany State."

Dukes says he voted his convictions, and spoke out against what he thought was wrong, while standing up for issues he believed in.

"The elderly people in this state on the coldest, wettest day of the year was down in front of the capitol, in wheelchairs, on walkers begging so that the General Assembly would fund meals on wheels."

And that's why he voted against tax breaks for Delta and Gulfstream. And in what the lobbyist inferred was the deal breaker, Dukes refused to vote on Senate Bill 200, which would create a State Transportation Agency.

Senator Freddie Powell Sims also attended Tuesday's commission meeting. She says another big problem with the session this year was that the delegation started with one list of priorities and changed course during the session when consolidation was brought on board.

She asked the city commission to do as the people have asked, and allow them to vote on the issue.

County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard says he plans to do that and place consolidation back on the agenda late this summer or early in the fall.

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