ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Early voting in Texas officially kicked off today. In Abilene, voters will have the opportunity to decide the outcome of various races, propositions, and ordinances.

In the race for District 19 United States Representative Abilene will have to decide between Republican incumbent candidate Jodey Arrington and the Independent candidate Nathan Lewis.

As an Independent candidate that’s not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican party, Lewis had to secure 500 signatures from registered voters just to get on the November ballot.

“You only have a certain amount of time,” said Lewis. “I had to start after the primaries were over and I couldn’t get any signatures that voted in the primary.”

Lewis is a native of southwest Nebraska and moved to Lubbock about 15 years ago. Until a few years ago Lewis worked for the South Plains Food Bank. That’s when he began following politics more closely.

“I was getting upset about things like a lot of people do and decided I need to do something,” said Lewis.

As opposed to getting started on more of a local level such as running for school board, or a city council seat, Lewis elected to challenge a congressional seat in his first run for political office.

“Some people have brought that up. Why not start something lower? I guess it’s just that I follow national politics more,” said Lewis. “There are some economic issues that either party is talking about enough.”

Historically the political stance of Abilene and the Big Country has leaned to the conservative end of the political spectrum, but Lewis is out to provide an option that doesn’t side with the left or the right.

“I believe the us versus them dynamic that we have here and all of America really is unprecedented,” said Lewis. “I don’t think most people don’t fall into those two parties. Forty percent of people call themselves independent, thirty percent call themselves republican, and 30 percent democrat. There are a lot of people who don’t want to go into the voting booth and say I don’t want to choose between the worst of these two. I’m a big proponent of having more options on the ballot.”

Watch the interview as Lewis gives us his views on the production of fossil fuels, and modern monetary theory, along with his biggest message to democrats or republicans who are looking for an alternative candidate.