Born: August 11, 1957, Columbia, SC
Family: Son of Bobby and Shirley Lucas
Married to Tracy Ann Deglman on August 17, 1990
Children: Will Lucas
Education: Univ. of S.C., B.A., 1975, M.P.A., 1981 J.D., 1987
- Financial Director, City of Bennetsville, 1982-84
- County Administrator, Fairfield County, 1986-86
- County Attorney, Darlington County 1990-94
- City Judge, City of Hartsville, 1995-96
- Partner Lucas, Warr & White, Attorneys at Law, 1994
- South Carolina Citizens for Life President’s Award for Pro-Life Leadership, 2021
- The Citadel, honorary Doctor of Public Administration degree, 2020
- Marion P. Carnell Award, 2020
- Legislator of the Year Award, South Carolina Human Service Providers Association, 2018
- South Carolina Legislator of the Year Award, Moving Forward Together National Summit, 2017
- Legislative Champion of the Year Award, South Carolina Alliance To Fix Our Roads, 2017
- John W. Parris Agricultural Leadership Award, South Carolina Association of Agricultural Educators, 2017
- Public Servant of the Year Award, S.C. Chamber of Commerce, 2016
- Roger Milliken Defender of Manufacturing Award, S.C. Manufacturing Alliance, 2016
- Legislative Champion Award, S.C. Independent College and Universities, 2015
- Leadership in Law Award, S.C. Lawyers Weekly, 2015
- Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership, Riley Institute, 2014
- Jimmy Newsom Signature Award, Darlington Co. School District, 2014
- Professional of the Year, Mental Health Association for Darlington Co., 1999
- Earle E. Morris, Jr., Public Policy Award
- Legislator of the Year: Paul’s Foundation
- S.C. Recreation, Parks & Tourism
- S.C. State Firefighter’s Association
- Member, Hartsville Lions Club
- Member, Hartsville Lodge #173
- Member, Emmanuel Baptist Church
- Served in S.C. House of Representatives 1999-current
- Elected Speaker Pro Tempore November 17, 2010
- Elected Speaker December 2, 2014
- Former Board Member, Hartsville Chamber of Commerce
- Former Chairman, Hartsville National League
- Former Member, S.C. Solicitor’s Association
- Former Co-Chairman, S.C. House Rural Caucus
- Former Chairman, Darlington County Republican Party
- Former Chairman, Darlington County Coordinating Council
Growing up in the small rural town of Hartsville, House Speaker James “Jay” Lucas never dreamed that his life’s path would take him where he is today. Born to Bobby and Shirley Lucas, Jay’s parents instilled in him the importance of personal responsibility and the value of motivation – traits that have provided a firm foundation for his life in public service.
A proud Gamecock, Jay received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Carolina in 1975, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He also received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of South Carolina in 1981. Upon graduation, Jay immediately went to work as the Financial Director for the City of Bennettsville, and then as the County Administrator for Fairfield County. Having high hopes of eventually practicing law, Jay applied this valuable work experience and knowledge to his future education.
Jay received his law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1987. He graduated third in his class and was the managing editor of the South Carolina Law Review. After graduating, he served as the Darlington County attorney and as a City Judge for the City of Hartsville before becoming a partner with Lucas, Warr and White in 1994.
When former state Representative Michael Baxley retired in 1998, Jay took the opportunity to fulfill another life-long goal and run for public office. Given House District 65 had not been represented by a Republican since Reconstruction, Jay knew his election would be an uphill battle. Based on his performance in this election, Jay earned the nickname “Landslide Lucas” from former Speaker David Wilkins because he won by a mere handful of votes. Jay currently represents portions of Darlington, Kershaw, Lancaster, and Chesterfield counties.
After serving several terms in office, Jay was elected Chairman of the Darlington County Republican Party. In November 2010, his colleagues in the House elected him as Speaker Pro Tempore. While serving in this position, Jay was provided the opportunity to become Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2014. He was most recently elected Speaker for a fourth term on December 1, 2020.
Jay believes that he has a responsibility as Speaker to enact reforms that will better the lives of all South Carolinians. Throughout his years in public service, Jay has become the proud recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership from the Riley Institute, the Jimmy Newsom Signature Award for contributions to public education in Darlington County, the South Carolina Manufacturing Alliance’s Roger Milliken Defender of Manufacturing Award, the Legislative Champion of the Year Award from the SC Alliance to Fix Our Roads, and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s Public Servant on the Year Award.
Jay is married to Tracy Ann Deglman, a dental hygienist who continues to offer him strength and support in every endeavor. They celebrated 30 years of marriage in 2020. Their son, Will, a graduate from the Virginia Military Institute with a master’s degree from North Carolina State University, recently got married.
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