The Indiana Citizen

The Crossroads of Civic Engagement

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For five election cycles, voters in this sprawling southern Indiana district that includes the cities of Seymour, North Vernon and Crothersville have endorsed a conservative firebrand known for his push to strongly expand gun rights and legalize medical marijuana, as well as his penchant for social media posts that stir controversy.

During his tenure, Jim Lucas has introduced unsuccessful legislation that would significantly reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and expand gun rights to the point of allowing Hoosiers to carry firearms without a permit. But it’s been his social media posts that have gained the most attention, with critics decrying them as misogynistic and racist.

One post in May 2020 resulted in House Speaker Todd Huston punishing Lucas by removing him from two interim study committees and stripping him of his vice chairmanship for the standing committee on government reduction. Lucas’s offending Facebook post was criticized as overtly racist. Lucas told IndyStar he deactivated his Facebook page and accepted Huston’s decision. “I will say it until I am blue in the face,” Lucas told The Indianapolis Star. “I am not a racist.”

The voters didn’t seem to mind. Lucas won the general election with 67 percent of the vote – about the same as in 2018 – and the only contest was between the second- and third-place finishing Democratic and Libertarian candidates. – Greg Weaver