Casey Gray is a native of Bangs, born and raised there until he left to join the U.S. Navy, where he eventually became a Naval Special Warfare Operator (SWCC). His early life wasn’t easy, according to his bio, “Early childhood for Mr. Gray was not an easy way of life. His parents were divorced and the family struggled to make it day to day with his single mother working two jobs to provide for the children. A family friend, Stacey Crawford, often times had to purchase groceries and care for the children as the mother worked to keep the children clothed and housed. Electricity, water and clothing were constant stressors for the family trying to make it in a dwindling oil town. On Thanksgiving of 1994 Casey’s sister Holly, only a few years older, got a job at a local store and purchased the family a turkey. Had it not been for his sister’s hard work and determination the family would have gone without a meal. It was this moment in life that Casey realized that life wasn't all white picket fences and that nothing in life would be handed to him or anyone else for that matter.”

Recently Gray and others seeking the Republican nomination for the seat in Congressional District 11, that will be vacated when current rep. Mike Conaway retires, appeared in Ballinger at Sylvia’s restaurant. The event was set up by the Runnels County Republican Party’s chairwoman, Becky Ferguson. Candidates from county sheriff to county commissioner to congress were on-hand to give a short speech about their views on subjects that they consider to be critical to the respective offices that they’re seeking.

Gray has experience, not only as a SWCC, but also with Army Special Operations, the CIA and the Department of State, “I’m pro-2nd-amendment, I’m pro-life just like the other Republican candidates, but I bring more to the table than the other candidates. I bring real-world experience and that’s what they’re not bringing. There are other candidates that are also veterans and I’m very, very thankful for them and respectful of their careers, but they simply haven’t done what I have done. I had a traumatic brain injury and I’m very direct. People think that I’m a jerk, but I’m just direct and to-the-point and truthful. My call sign in the Navy was Lincoln.”

Gray’s directness is readily apparent by the time you’ve spent a minute conversing with him. Just like his years as a SEAL, he’s focused, he’s direct and he doesn’t mince words, “We don’t want a congressman who is passive and trying to stay in office 20 years. I want to do 2 terms and leave. I want to be with my family. I don’t want to run for congress but I feel an obligation to serve this country again because we need a fighter in there.”

Gray spoke about President Trump recently giving the order for a drone strike to take out Iranian general Qasem Soleimani while he was in Iraq, “One of the other candidates talked about Soleimani, but that had nothing to do with the Air Force. They brag about the CIA approaching them about the Reaper (drone). It was Joint Operations Command who took Soleimani out. He was an evil man who needed to die and those men took him out. Those are the kind of men fighting for this country right now that we need. I’ve been within the special operations community, so I know what it takes to fight and I know what it takes to go to Washington D.C. and fight. In special operations you’re taught to focus your aggression and I’m focusing my aggression on Washington, to stop ripping off the taxpayer, to stop taking our money. We need this country to go back to being what it’s meant to be, limited government and give the power back to the states. But someone who wants to go up there and make a career out of it, they don’t want that. They want the government to grow so that they make more money. I don’t have lobby or special interest money. I’m grass roots and want the support of the people.”

Gray is about to launch a phone app so that you can see which bills he’d be voting on and to see how he voted, “In this revolutionary app, you log in with a Voter ID #. Every bill that that I propose, I’ll put in a PDF format on there so that you can read it in its entirety and scroll through it. When you get to the bottom, you can get to vote, ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I’ll get the number of people who vote and I’ll vote for what the majority of my district wants. You’ll see how I vote on every bill. Everyone will know. That’s a Constitutional Republic, that’s what holding your representative accountable is about.”

Gray also said that he’d spend more time in his district, speaking to his constituents, “Some of these candidates say that they’ll come back to the districts 2 times a year. That’s ridiculous. We have 180 days off a year. We should be living in this district. You should see me here at least once a month. If you call me and ask me to stop by, I’ll come stop by. I’ll work 18-hour days and work weekends. I want to come in and work hard. My goal is to serve a couple of terms and groom my replacement to come in when I’m done.”

Gray and the other candidates will continue traveling around the district, speaking at events and Republican Party gatherings. You can follow him on his website, www.CaseyGrayCongressTx11.com.