You won't have Kwame Kilpatrick to kick around any more

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick told a Little Rock audience Saturday that his time in prison brought a new focus to his life, one that does not involve running for office or returning to the city of his highly publicized mistakes.

“I’ve vacationed in the valley of the shadow of death, and I’ve learned to get back up,” he said in his first public appearance since his Aug. 2 release from prison.

He spoke at the kick-off for Philander Smith College’s Black Male Initiative, a student leadership, volunteer and tutoring program for men.

Kilpatrick, 41, was sent to jail in May 2010 for violating probation and failing to disclose assets that could have been used to pay $1 million in restitution he owed Detroit. That restitution was part of a plea deal he made in 2008 that also included his resignation as mayor and pleading guilty to obstruction of justice.

Saying he was “beloved in Detroit,” Kilpatrick said he had no plans to live there again.

“If I go back right now, I’ll win again,” he said, noting that he had no plans to run for mayor.