NORFOLK, Va. - Many people think they know all there is to know about Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander. He was a state senator and delegate and Norfolk native who became the city’s first African American to hold the position of Mayor. Many people know that Alexander runs the family business, Metropolitan Funeral Services.
But let’s consider something you may not know.
Alexander, 50, is a licensed and ordained Minister who has been preaching longer than he has been in the world of politics. Although he does not pastor on a regular schedule, when he is asked to preach or teach at any church, temple or mosque, he will happily accept the invitation.
News 3 was present recently at a prayer breakfast at Bank Street Baptist Church where the mayor delivered an uplifting verse from Samuel to convince the assembly, “we are all capable of slaying giants.”
Between the choruses of “Amen,” those assembled revealed that the preaching side of Kenny Alexander is not a new revelation.
Alexander says he has been licensed and ordained since the 1980’s. “It’s a commitment, it’s a dedication, it’s a love, it’s a passion. It’s been a part of my fabric, my DNA all of my life” says Alexander.
He credits his grandparents, especially his grandmother Ruby Rose Cooper, with keeping the word of God ever-present during his upbringing. And while he is a practicing Christian, he says he enjoys and accepts invitations to speak to every faith assembly.
“Their temple, their Church, their Mosque, their Synagogue, it’s very important. They invite me as a citizen, as a neighbor, as a resident of Norfolk or as a friend and I’m happy to do it, elated to do it,” he said.
While the Mayor is pleased to preach, he says his secular job as the leader of the city of Norfolk does not blur the line between Church and state. Alexander said, “You have to be careful that you understand that line, and never cross that line because then you are no better than the Taliban, you are not better than Al Qaida”.
That said, the Mayor says he is uplifted by his lifelong faith and proud of his friends who practice many different religions with hopes that worshiping together will bring the communities together.
“As Solomon asks, ‘Lord give me wisdom,' Give me understanding that I may govern well. Having that belief system, it allows me to govern, to lead as Solomon says but gives me the tools that I may lead the people well."