Ken Leonczyk Jr. believes in small government, religious and financial liberty, and protecting the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution. Ken is a Christian pastor and evangelist, and also has an extensive background in finance and public policy.
Ken attended Charlotte Latin School, where he played football and lacrosse and was Vice-President of the student body. Latin’s commitment to character and service instilled in Ken a love of learning and a desire to be actively engaged in his community. Ken received his BA in English Literature with a Minor in Religion from the University of the South: Sewanee in 2000, where he was President of the Inter-Fraternity Counsel, and elected to the Student Assembly. While at Sewanee, the chance to participate in an outreach trip to Jamaica had a profound impact on Ken, setting him on a path to a lifetime of service.
Upon graduation, Ken enrolled in Yale Divinity School to prepare for ordained ministry. As part of his clinical education, Ken spent several months in Louisiana, where he served as Chaplain to the New Orleans Police Department and as a member of the Crisis Unit that handles suicide and hostage negotiations. In 2002, Ken received his Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School.
More importantly, Ken’s life changed in divinity school in two pivotal ways: First, Ken realized that Christian ministry was so much more than a call to social work, and he began a truly life-changing journey into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A year later, on September 11, 2001, Ken watched on television as the first tower of the World Trade Center went down. He answered the call for all law enforcement and crisis personnel in the area to head to the scene, and he worked in the wreckage at Ground Zero for days, as the task changed from search and rescue, to bucket brigade, to counseling and trying to make sense of such unthinkable evil inflicted on our country. This experience shaped his understanding of humanity, tragedy, and grace in a fallen world. It also informed his commitment to a strong national defense and robust counterterrorism policies to protect America from those who would harm us.
Ken has served in a variety of pastoral and evangelistic positions, including: Canon Pastor at Saint Matthews Cathedral in Dallas, TX; Episcopal Chaplain at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX; Chaplain and Department Chair at the Trinity-Pawling School in Pawling, NY; and assisting evangelist at Christ the King Anglican Church in Alexandria, VA. He continues to preach and teach on evangelism and the logical basis of Christian belief. He has authored numerous scholarly articles and essays on religion and religious liberty in a variety of publications, including the Texas Review of Law and Politics.
In 2004, Ken became one of the first American ministers to travel to Sudan’s war-torn, rebel-controlled Nuba Mountains. There, he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to thousands. He worked with local church officials and the United Nations to transport aid into Sudan through Kenya, thereby avoiding Khartoum’s hostile Islamicist regime. Ken also facilitated the creation of the first post-war school system in the region, with the generous support of many American Christians and the local bishop, Bishop Andudu. Ken continues to serve on the board of several nonprofit organizations promoting religious liberty, justice, and democracy in Sudan.
In addition to his evangelistic and pastoral work, Ken has an extensive legal and public policy background. He received his JD from Yale Law School in 2009. Ken spent the first year of his legal education at Tulane Law School, while concurrently serving as the minister at St. Luke’s—a church in the inner-city Treme neighborhood that had been hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. Having completed his ministry at St. Luke’s, Ken continued his education at Yale Law School, where he was a Senior Editor of the Yale Law and Policy Review; a leader in the Federalist Society; a member of Yale Law Students for Life and the Yale Law Christian Fellowship; and President of Yale Law Republicans.
From September 2009-June 2011, Ken was an Associate at Covington & Burling LLP, one of the nation’s premier law firms. He practiced corporate and banking law and defended companies under investigation by House and Senate committees and other government entities. In this position, Ken gained in-depth knowledge of the workings of financial services companies, institutional manufacturers, healthcare institutions, pharmaceutical/bio-tech companies, and small technology start-ups. He also became acutely aware of the potential for improper use of congressional oversight power, as he watched certain congressional leaders attack private businesses for the sake of publicity, seemingly without regard to actual culpability. After Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives in 2010, Ken was asked to serve as Counsel to the House Financial Services Committee.
Ken is an expert on Dodd-Frank, the complex 2010 regulatory reform act that is expanding federal bureaucracy, strangling businesses, and costing our country billions of dollars. As Counsel to the Committee, Ken served on a team responsible for congressional oversight of Dodd-Frank rulemaking; the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission); SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission); FIO (Federal Insurance Office); Federal Reserve Board; Treasury Department; CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau); FSOC (Financial Stability Oversight Council); and OFR (Office of Financial Research). Ken led committee investigations on a range of topics impacting the financial services industry, including the collapse of MF Global, and provided policy and regulatory advice to Chairman Spencer Bachus, Vice-Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer, and other Committee members.
Ken is married to Ashley Leonczyk. Ashley received her BA and MA from Yale University in 2005 and her JD from Yale Law School in 2010.