Political effectiveness doesn’t require immorality

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I think it’s safe to say that there are trends on the horizon that are beginning to disturb much of our society. For instance, in a TED X talk that has since gone viral because of its absurdity, a young female scholar lectured her audience on the need to accept pedophilia as a sexual preference and not a mental disorder or crime worth prosecuting. Well, just a few weeks ago I ran into another line of logic that I found just as disturbing.

One of the things I have enjoyed about running for political office is all the people you meet. It’s been an amazing journey to meet and receive the support of people all across Wilson County from every walk of life and all walks of the political spectrum. However, one day I met a man who expressed the sentiment to me that he believed in order for one to be effective in public office, he or she must be evil or immoral.

To say the least, I was shocked. After I asked some questions for elaboration, this gentleman indeed believed that the most effective politicians were evil. That conversation simply added more fuel to the fire for my run for office. I’m glad to say I completely disagree with such ignorant, erroneous and abhorrent claims.

I affirm that the best leaders are certain with their convictions, honest with their intentions and transparent with their actions. As a military officer, pastor and teacher, these values have guided me on a public track record of excellence. I also affirm that the best leaders have the integrity to carry out the duties of the office they are granted in a fair-handed and morally upright fashion. I have never been dishonest to be effective. Rather, I believe that hard work, teamwork and knowledge in one’s field opens the doors of opportunity and success.

I end by saying: Aren’t you glad that I do not hold such ridiculous beliefs? Imagine the day when our leaders would have the audacity to stand before their constituents with full intentions to lie, cheat and steal in order to be “effective,” whatever that means. That day must never come. As a man who served as a sentry to freedom in the United States Marine Corps and who promised to protect and defend the Constitution of our land, I promise again as your representative in our state government to do what I’ve always done— serve with honor, courage and commitment.

Ken Fontenot


The writer is pastor of Bethel Baptist Church and a candidate for N.C. House District 24.