In hoping to replace Michael Conaway as the next congressman representing Texas’ 11th Congressional district, J. Ross Lacy wants you to know he is a conservative’s conservative.
A rancher and small businessman in the energy and capital sectors, Lacy is currently a city councilman in Midland, where he is born and raised. He is one of a growing number of people who have announced their plans to seek the open seat following Conaway’s announcement he is stepping down at the end of his term.
“We were the first to announce we were running for Congress,” Lacy said during a visit last week to Mineral Wells.
He said he knows and has spoken with Conaway, also of Midland. Conaway has said he won’t endorse a candidate in the March GOP primary.
“He is going to stay out of the race and let the voters decide, and I respect that,” said Lacy. “It is going to be a crowded primary, but that is anticipated with an open congressional seat.”
Lacy makes clear where he stands on the key issues of immigration, abortion, guns and the president.
“Number one is I stand with President Trump 100 percent,” Lacy said. “I think he needs more soldiers in his Army to fight against the liberal Democrats who are hellbent on destroying what he is trying to do. All it is, is investigation and investigation and now impeachment.”
He says he wants to help the president “drain the swamp” and pass strong, conservative legislation. Lacy has vowed to never vote for a tax increase, and wants to make the 2017 federal tax cuts permanent.
He has been on Midland City Council six years and was going to seek a third and final term when Conaway made his announcement and Lacy decided to run for the seat to represents all of 27 midwestern Texas counties, including Palo Pinto County, and parts of two others. The district runs from the Texas-New Mexico border east through Odessa, Midland, San Angelo, Brownwood, Granbury and Mineral Wells. It has nearly 800,000 residents, of which 56% are white and 38% are Hispanic. The district’s median income is $55,237.
The Midland native is a graduate of Lee High School. He received his BBA in Finance from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Lacy is the president of Lacy Oil Corp. and managing partner of Lacy Capital, LLC. He is a member of First Baptist Church of Midland and serves on numerous local and state boards.
In January 2016, Lacy was appointed by Governor Abbott to serve on the Texas Aerospace and Aviation Advisory Committee. He also was awarded the 2016 John Ben Shepperd Pathfinder award, which honors a Texas leader under the age of 40.
Lacy currently serves on the Midland Spaceport Development Corporation Board, University of Texas of the Permian Basin Development Board, John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute Advisory Council, and the UTPB College of Business and Engineering Advisory Board.
He said immigration – halting illegal crossings and reforming the current system – tops his agenda list.
“My Number One priority is build the wall,” Lacy said. “We have crimes and drugs that are just flooding our southern border. We are seeing it in West Texas. You are seeing it in this portion of the state. We are seeing it all over the state of Texas. The only way to get it stopped is to get the wall done.”
He said once the wall is built, he wants to ensure further border control measures and resources are in place.
“After we get the wall done we have to secure the border,” he said. “By securing the border we have to get the technology in place. Law enforcement – border patrol, ICE, local law enforcement – we have to get them the tools and resources necessary to do their job. They are overwhelmed.”
He said he wants to deport those who are here illegally.
“They are still flooding in here,” he said. “After we get the border secure, we have to do immigration reform. For individuals that legally want to come into this country, they shouldn’t take five or 10 years. We should be able to streamline the service, we should be able to use our guest worker visa program.”
He said he employs people at his South Texas ranch who use the guest worker program.
“They stay here two years, get it renewed,” Lacy said. “They pay taxes. I think it’s a great program. We need workers. We have more jobs than we have workers out there for the first time in 56 years. That’s a testament to President Trump and what he has done.”
Lacy said he is staunch defender of the Second Amendment and individual gun rights.
“I do not support the AR-15 ban,” Lacy said. “Whenever (Democratic presidential candidate Francis) Beto (O’Rourke) says we are going to come and take it, I say hell no you are not. We have a saying in Texas, ‘Come and take it.’”
He said he owns an AR-15, using it to help control the feral hog problem on his ranch.
“It’s my legal right as a lawful citizen to own one,” Lacy said. “I don’t support the red flag laws. I believe that is a violation of the Second and Fourth Amendments because it just gives the courts another tool to take constitutional rights away from law-abiding citizens, which is something I don’t support.”
Red flag laws, which are now in 17 states, allow courts to use a special order to remove a gun, or guns, temporarily from someone deemed a threat to harm themselves or others.
“I don’t support comprehensive background checks,” he added. “We already have a system in place that works. The issue at hand right now is mental health. There are individuals that we need to be finding ways to deal with adult mental health.”
Lacy said there is a lack of mental health facilities, workers and resources to deal with what he many others believe is the root cause of gun violence in America. He pointed to the Aug. 31 shootings in Odessa that left eight people dead and 25 others injured.
“We had a tragic, tragic incident in Odessa,” he said. “There were a lot of signs that this individual probably was not stable. The problem I have is the liberal left. Every time there is a mass shooting, all they want to talk about is gun control. They don’t want to talk about the 60 million-plus babies that have been killed to abortions since 1970. That’s a real tragedy in this country.”
That leads into Lacy’s strong pro-life and religious beliefs.
“I am really passionate and unapologetic in my pro-life stance,” he said. “I was born and raised in First Baptist Church in Midland, Texas. My family has been at that church since 1969. I don’t apologize for my religious beliefs either. I think Christians are being persecuted around this country and around the world. I am not going to apologize for (being a Christian.)”
Lacy said he believes life begins at conception and supports abortion only in cases where the life of the mother is at risk. He does not support abortion for cases of rape or incest.
“I believe every child is a gift from God,” he said. “That is just my stance on it.”
Living in the heart of the Permian Basin strengthens his support of the oil and gas energy sectors.
“The left wants to shut this industry down,” said Lacy. “All in the name of the New Green Deal, which is the biggest bunch of (expletive) I have seen in my life. That is the nicest way I can put it.”
As for his conservatism, Lacy said he was born and raised in the Republican Party, quipping he was a Republican in his mother’s womb.
“I have been a Republican longer than I have been alive,” he said.