Inspired by his experiences with courts and the law, 25 year-old Nicholas Lucier said he will run for mayor of Austin this May.
Lucier however, has almost always been on the wrong side of the law in court, he said. After about seven arrests involving drug and alcohol possession since he was 18, Lucier now has too many probation fines and cannot afford to take the last two classes required to graduate from UT with a government degree. He said he is running for mayor to prevent past drug problems from ruining a person's life, including his own.
“We are ruining lives by putting people in jail that can't afford to pay for probation,” Lucier said. “They lose their homes trying to pay the fines, all because they put a substance in their body. My dad doesn't even tell me what I can and can't put in my body anymore, so the government shouldn't be able to either.”
Lucier started a satirical political party on Facebook called the Mushroom Tea Party, which supports legalization of all drugs. Lucier said because the party's numbers have been increasing steadily, he believes he has a chance of winning a run for office.
“I want to make this election interesting and bring attention to the mayoral election,” Lucier said. “The Mushroom Tea Party will definitely bring some young people into the polls.”
Lucier has not raised any money for his campaign because he said money is not necessary to be mayor.
“It's going to be so funny when I win mayor with no money after these other candidates have been wasting so much time trying to gain money for their campaign,” Lucier said.
Lucier said he only had to fill out a few forms to start his run for mayor, but he must still receive signatures and sponsors before his name can appear on a ballot.
“It's really out of my hands,” he said. “I'm just spreading a message and if people like it they should get out and support it.”
Mayor Lee Leffingwell plans to run for re-election this year and looks forward to campaigning against a wide variety of candidates, Leffingwell's campaign consultant, Mark Littlefield said.
“Anything anyone can do to improve voter turnout is a good thing no matter who wins or loses,” Littlefield said. “We want young people to get involved, so this is perfect.”
Student Government President Natalie Butler, said she does not know much about Lucier and the policies he supports, but she is always happy to see young people get involved with politics.
“The more young people involved in political conversations, the better,” Butler said. “Everyone benefits from having young people engaged.”