Community Organizer Who Served An Eight-Year Prison Term For Manslaughter Can Run For Austin Council

State law prohibits him running, but the Austin Office of the City Clerk approved his candidacy anyway.

By Jill AmentAugust 22, 2018 1:12 pm| , , ,

A convicted felon’s candidacy for Austin City Council has been given the green light by Austin’s Office of the City Clerk.

The candidate, Lewis Conway, Jr., served an eight-year prison term and 12 years of parole after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter nearly 30 years ago. In recent years, he’s worked as an organizer for the Criminal Justice Program at Grassroots Leadership in Austin, and has also been on a mission to become an elected official.

Audrey McGlinchy, a city hall reporter for our sister station KUT News in Austin, says some are opposed to Conway’s candidacy because of the severity of his crime. McGlinchy says Conway’s voting rights have been restored, and says Conway believes he’s served his time and wants to move forward; his campaign slogan is “I’ve served my time so let me serve my community.”

State law doesn’t allow convicted felons to run for office, and McGlinchy says Conway is, technically, only eligible to run if he’s pardoned or a judge rules him eligible despite his conviction. Nonetheless, the clerk’s office gave the go ahead after it initially denied his application for candidacy. McGlinchy says there likely won’t be further challenges from the city or state unless Conway wins the city council race.

Written by Caroline Covington.