This week Clutch reported a shocking confession from Vicksburg, Miss. mayoral candidate Linda Fondren. She disclosed her past as a sex worker at a Las Vegas brothel.
“I was a working girl in a legal brothel over 30 years ago,” Fondren said. “It’s true, my husband was my client. My husband and I have been married for 28 years.”
In a recent interview with MSNews Now, the mayoral candidate explained her past and how it helps her in her candidacy:
Previous reports linked Fondren and her husband Jim Fondren to the Nevada brothel Sagebrush Ranch. Fondren confirms they did own the ranch until it sold in 1992. She admits she never expected her past as a prostitute to stay a secret forever, but she left it out of previous discussions to keep from embarrassing her family.
“I knew it would surface because it was around. I just didn’t think it would surface and I would be sitting here doing an interview with you today,” Fondren said.
She said she isn’t proud of what she did, but she doesn’t have regrets.
“My story is exactly why I’m running for mayor because I want to give other people better choices than what I had,” Fondren said. “I want people to understand you can turn your life around. I turned my life around and so it definitely can happen for others as well.”
Fondren’s admission came the same day the famous owner of a Nevada brothel came forward to say he knew the Fondrens from the brothel business. Dennis Hof, the owner of the Bunny Ranch, which is located next to Sagebrush Ranch, said he’s endorsing Fondren for mayor and he’s proud of her accomplishments.
Fondren’s honest confession combined with Illinois’ Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s recent visit to my Public Policy Research and Reporting course prompted me to pen this piece. The question I’ve been circulating is how much are politicians obligated to share with the public?
We’ve witnessed the demise of political careers, including John Edwards, Andrew Weiner and Mark Sanford because of their extramarital affairs. The logical reasoning is there is a direct correlation between public character and personal strife. A politician that engages in prostitution or violates his marital vows will also defy his political oath in favor of personal gain.
This is justifiable reasoning. However, it doesn’t account for the hundreds of powerful men and women, including former presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, that engaged in extramarital affairs and were still solid politicians.
I imagine former president Bill Clinton assumed his political career was over when Monica Lewinsky revealed their affair to the American media. Despite impeachment hearings, President Clinton is still considered a devout patriot and his endorsement matters. His dedication to President Obama’s re-election campaign has been partially-credited for the incumbent’s landslide victory.
Though Clinton didn’t adhere to his vows to his wife, he still governed with integrity and scruples. Fondren may as well, but some voters won’t see past her history.
How much are politicians obligated to share?