Hundreds gather for Downtown Fresno prayer breakfast

FRESNO, Calif.

Organizers chose popular conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt as the keynote speaker.

The local event is part of a national effort that highlights political and business leaders and how faith plays a major role in the decisions they make.

"Well you know I think it's important to state what you believe with great clarity. With great charity as well. But so that people don't get confused about it. It's our constitutional right do that and I think people need to stand up and if they're Christian say I'm Christian and if they're not say they're not. Then have a conversation about it," Hewitt said.

Several local leaders listened to Hewitt share stories which include his time in the white house under two different administrations.

Political leaders often times walk a fine line publicly, trying not to upset constituents within their community or district, but Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian says you can't let that interfere with what you believe in.

"Matter of fact this year we started our Board of Supervisors meeting with a prayer. We've never done that before. And we started it this year and it really has been great for us," Poochigian said.

For those who are critical of the supervisors or other local leaders, Hewitt countered by saying: "it's a tough business. It's a brutal business Fresno. And I would never run for anything. I don't like it. Radio is tough enough. But I think that the public underestimates just how weary it can be to serve in office and get hammered every single day."

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin constantly juggles compliments and criticism on a daily basis, but she says the ability to give full disclosure is the key to successful dialogue, whether it's about faith or politics.

"You can't just criticize someone all the time. You have to acknowledge them to do things right so that you have credibility when you do need to bring criticism to the work that they're doing in public office for example. And be forthright about your views about god. I think those are truths that serve us well throughout the year," Mayor Swearengin said.

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