Lewis Conway: A unique candidate for Austin City Council

Lewis Conway Jr. grew up on Austin's East Side. “Right over there by St. John’s, I went to Andrews, I went to Pearce, I went to Reagan,” said Conway.

He admits he made some bad choices when he was young. He made the choice to sell drugs...which came with heavy consequences.

One day, someone tried to rob him.

“There was an altercation. He pulled a gun on me, I stabbed him,” said Conway.

Conway was convicted of manslaughter and spent eight years behind bars. During that time, he became an ordained minister. He got out and did 12 years on parole.

Then, he decided he wanted to run for the District One seat on Austin's City Council.

“As a constituent, there's been a nebulous in terms of the decisions made in regards to District One, particularly around transportation, around sidewalks, around the issues that are congruent to the folks who live there,” said Conway.

But there was one problem, Conway has a record. The Texas Election Code states to run for office, a person must: "have not been finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities.”

Disabilities could mean the loss of rights to own a gun, to vote, et cetera, but the code does not list specifics for this. “I understood a disability to meant me being able to vote, my sentence being completed,” said Conway.

Conway's right to vote has been restored so he feels he has a chance to challenge the system.

“Folks who have a background who have served their time and served their community...when are we allowed to publicly be elected to serve our communities?” said Conway.

“There is an opportunity in which the disabilities associated with his conviction can be disqualified or taken away and he can essentially have his rights restored,” said Ricco Garcia, Conway’s attorney.

Conway has not formally filed with the city clerk yet, but if he does go through with it, he will run against the sitting council member Ora Houston, who could not be reached for comment Friday. “Once we do what we need to do we are going to be allowed to run. If not, we put forward a petition,” said Conway.

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