Former U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite Jr. confirmed this week that he’s moving to Philadelphia, thus ending, or at least deferring, some political dreams.
Those dreams weren’t necessarily Polite’s; the Obama-appointed prosecutor never publicly said he wanted to seek elective office, although he was widely perceived as open to the idea. But he sure piqued the interest of other political players in New Orleans and around Louisiana, who were drawn to Polite’s sterling reputation and compelling life story as the son of a New Orleans cop and single mother who made it to De La Salle, Harvard, Georgetown and eventually to the legal world’s most prestigious corridors.
Kenneth Polite Jr., the former U.S. attorney in New Orleans who became a vocal advocate for criminal justice reform in Louisiana, is moving on…
When Mitch Landrieu’s term was winding down, Polite was quietly recruited to run for New Orleans mayor. He could have made a strong candidate for Orleans Parish District Attorney or state Attorney General. There was also talk that he would move to Washington and assume a high-level Justice Department appointment had Hillary Clinton been elected president.
Instead, Polite took at job at Entergy and remained active in the community and in criminal justice reform efforts. Now he’s leaving town to join a law firm in Philadelphia, after his physician wife took a big new job at the University of Pennsylvania.
And what about all those insiders who’ve been hoping he might get into politics back home? Well, Polite did make it clear that he wasn’t leaving New Orleans behind.
“This is home to me. My mom’s here. My dad’s here. Those family ties are very strong,” he said. “I expect I’ll have clients here as well, and I’m keeping my Saints tickets.”
Besides, Polite’s only 42. So maybe the dream lives on.