Convicted felon running for public office in Austin, a first for the Lone Star State

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AUSTIN, Texas - Anybody running for political office today should expect a thorough background check -- it just comes with the territory.  But in Austin, Lewis Conway, Jr. is running for a city council seat, and he's got skeletons in his closet, alright. Big ones!

He's pulled 'em all out to put on display.  Conway is a convicted felon.  The charge?  Voluntary manslaughter!

"I think I felt like my life was over when I got arrested," he said.

In he early 90's, Conway pleaded guilty to stabbing a man to death and spent eight years in prison and another 12 on parole.

"I think it's absolutely necessary for folks of my background to begin to have the opportunity to own their stories," he said.

The crime went down in an east Austin neighborhood; the very same area he's running to represent.

According to the Texas Secretary of State's Office, there's no precedent.  The only written rule says a convicted felon can only run for office if he or she has been pardoned or "released from resulting disabilities."

That last phrase is causing confusion.  Is it a physical disability? Is it a mental disability? Or in this case, it seems to be a social disability.

Conway is trying something that's never been tried in the Lone Star State.  Officials say another candidate for the same office would have to challenge his eligibility.

No matter what you think about it, if he's allowed to run and gets elected, he'd be going from prison to politics.  That's a heck of a lot better than going the other way around!

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