Trent Kelly

Trent Kelly
Trent Kelly 116th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 1st district
Assumed office
June 2, 2015
Preceded byAlan Nunnelee
District Attorney for Mississippi's 1st Judicial District
In office
January 1, 2012 – June 2, 2015[1]
Preceded byJohn Young
Succeeded byJohn Weddle
City Prosecutor of Tupelo, Mississippi
In office
November 1999 – December 2011
Personal details
John Trent Kelly

(1966-03-01) March 1, 1966 (age 54)
Union, Mississippi, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationEast Central Community College
University of Mississippi, Oxford (BA, JD)
United States Army War College (MA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1985–present
RankBrigadier General
UnitArmy National Guard
168th Engineer Brigade
155th Armored Brigade Combat Team
Battles/warsIraq War

John Trent Kelly (born March 1, 1966), known as Trent Kelly, is an American politician from Mississippi. A member of the Republican Party, Kelly is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Mississippi's 1st congressional district, following his victory in a special election on June 2, 2015.

Early life and career[edit]

Kelly was born on March 1, 1966, in Union, Mississippi to John and Barbara Kelly. He is a resident of Saltillo, Mississippi, where he served as the district attorney of Mississippi's 1st Circuit Judicial District (which includes Lee, Pontotoc, Alcorn, Monroe, Itawamba, Prentiss and Tishomingo counties).[2]

He graduated from Union High School in 1984 and joined the Mississippi Army National Guard in 1985. Kelly earned an associate degree from East Central Community College in Decatur before graduating from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Kelly is a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.[3]

Kelly graduated from University of Mississippi School of Law in 1994 and received a master's degree from the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 2010.[4]

After law school, Kelly worked in private practice until 1999, when he became a city prosecutor in Tupelo. He was elected district attorney in 2011, defeating a nine-term Democratic incumbent.[5]

Military career[edit]

Kelly is currently serving as a Brigadier General with the Joint Force Headquarters for the state of Mississippi as a member of the Army National Guard, serving in the Mississippi National Guard. In 1990, he mobilized for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm as a Second Lieutenant engineer officer. In 2005, Kelly deployed as a Major during the Iraq War with the 155th Brigade as the Operations Officer of the 150th Engineer Battalion. From 2009 to 2010, he deployed as a Lieutenant Colonel to Iraq as the Battalion Commander of Task Force Knight of the 155th Brigade Combat Team and commanded over 670 troops from Mississippi, Ohio, and Kentucky. Kelly has received two Bronze Stars, the Combat Action Badge, the DeFleury Medal, and numerous other federal and state awards for his service. From October 2014 to November 2016, he served as the Brigade Commander for the 168th Engineer Brigade, leading 1,400 soldiers from the 223rd Engineer Battalion, the 890th Engineer Battalion, and multiple Engineer Specialty Companies from Mississippi.[6] Kelly was promoted to Brigadier General in January 2018.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


2015 special election[edit]

After the death of Republican Congressman Alan Nunnelee in 2015, Kelly (also a Republican) entered the race to succeed him. Nunnelee's widow, Tori Nunnelee, contributed to Kelly's campaign.[8]

In the first round, Kelly finished second in a thirteen-candidate field, behind Democrat Walter Zinn.[9] As no candidate received a majority of votes, Kelly and Zinn advanced to a second round of voting on June 2.[9] Several of the other candidates in the race endorsed Kelly after they were eliminated.[10]

In the heavily Republican district, Kelly took 70% of the vote to his Democratic opponent's 30%.[11][12][13]

2016 election[edit]

Kelly won his primary in March 2016, defeating Paul Clever of Olive Branch both district-wide and in DeSoto County for the Republican nomination for the First District House seat. Kelly had 18,152 votes in DeSoto County, or 80 percent, while Clever got 4,497 votes, or 20 percent, in his home county.

Kelly then won reelection with 67.57% of the vote compared with Jacob Owens (D) at 27.97%, followed by Chase Wilson (Libertarian) at 2.92% and Cathy L. Toole (Reform) at 1.45%.


Kelly was sworn in by House Speaker John Boehner on June 9, 2015.[14] In his first term, he served on House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Small Business.

Kelly serves on House Armed Services Committee, the Agriculture Committee and Small Business Committee, where he serves as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations.

2017 congressional baseball shooting[edit]

On June 14, 2017, in Alexandria, Virginia, Republican member of Congress and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot while practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, scheduled for the following day. Also shot were David Bailey and Crystal Griner, a Capitol Police officer assigned to protect Scalise; Zack Barth, a congressional aide; and Matt Mika, a Tyson Foods lobbyist.

A ten-minute shootout ensued between the shooter—James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, a left-wing activist[15][16]—and officers from the Capitol and Alexandria Police. Media reports state Hodgkinson began firing from the fence adjacent to the third base dugout. At the time of the shooting, Kelly was playing third base and was roughly ten yards away from Hodgkinson. As Hodgkinson opened fire, Kelly is reported to be the first person to be shot at and the first to alert the rest of the team there was an active shooter by yelling "shooter, active shooter" as he evacuated himself from the field. Officers shot Hodgkinson, who died from his wounds later that day at George Washington University Hospital.[17] Scalise and Mika were taken to nearby hospitals, where they underwent surgery.[18] Scalise is the first sitting member of Congress to have been shot since Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in 2011.[19]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]



  1. ^ "Trent Kelly sworn in as newest member of Congress".
  2. ^ "About". Trent Kelly for Congress. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  3. ^ "Col Trent Kelly". Combat Veterans for Congress. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  4. ^ Guajardo, Rod (April 29, 2015). "Kelly sees Congress as 'ultimate' service job". Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
  5. ^ Brumfield, Patsy R. (December 29, 2011). "Kelly ready to take on DA's responsibilities". Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
  6. ^ "Biography : Congressman Trent Kelly". Retrieved September 14, 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ JOURNAL, CALEB BEDILLION DAILY. "Kelly promoted to rank of brigadier general". Daily Journal. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  8. ^ Harrison, Bobby (April 21, 2015). "Nunnelee funds directed to Kelly's campaign". Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
  9. ^ a b Easley, Jonathan (May 12, 2015). "Democrat advances to runoff in Mississippi special election". The Hill.
  10. ^ Pender, Geoff (May 13, 2015). "Democrats celebrate Tuesday win; battle moves to runoff". Clarion Ledger.
  11. ^ Cahn, Emily (May 12, 2015). "Mississippi Special Election Heads to Runoff". Roll Call.
  12. ^ Pettus, Emily Wagster (May 13, 2015). "1 Dem, 1 Republican headed to US House runoff in Mississippi". Washington Post.
  13. ^ Cahn, Emily (June 2, 2015). "Kelly Wins Runoff for Mississippi House Seat". Roll Call.
  14. ^ "Rep. Trent Kelly of Mississippi Sworn in as New House Member". Associated Press. June 9, 2015.
  15. ^ Oliver Laughland; Jon Swaine (June 15, 2017). "Virginia shooting: gunman was leftwing activist with record of domestic violence". The Guardian. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  16. ^ Matt Pierce; Joseph Tanfani (June 14, 2017). "Virginia gunman hated Republicans, and 'was always in his own little world'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  17. ^ de Vries, Karl; Scott, Eugene (June 14, 2017). "Rep. Scalise shot in Virginia". CNN. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  18. ^ Staff. "Hospital: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition after surgery". AOL. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  19. ^ Yadidi, Noa (June 14, 2017). "Giffords tweets support following baseball practice shooting". CNN. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  20. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  21. ^ "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  22. ^ "Trent Kellini "Doʻstlik" ordeni bilan mukofotlash toʻgʻrisida". UzA (in Uzbek). August 30, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2019.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Alan Nunnelee
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 1st congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Lee Zeldin
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Darin LaHood