Kelly D. Johnston

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Kelly D. Johnston
28th Secretary of the United States Senate
In office
June 8, 1995 – September 30, 1996
Preceded by Sheila P. Burke
Succeeded by Gary Lee Sisco
Personal details
Born (1956-08-27) August 27, 1956 (age 61)
Edmond, Oklahoma
Alma mater University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

Kelly D. Johnston (born August 27, 1956)[1] is a former Secretary of the United States Senate. He served as the 28th Secretary of the Senate[2] and was nominated by Bob Dole, who was Senate Majority Leader at the time. He was the first Secretary of the Senate from Oklahoma and the second youngest ever chosen.[3]

Johnston currently works as the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Campbell Soup Company and is a member of the board of Congressional Management Foundation.[4]

Early life[edit]

Born in Edmond, Oklahoma in 1956, Johnston graduated from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in 1976 with a bachelor's in Communications and Drama,[3] where he also served as President of the Student Association and as Editor of the Trend, the student newspaper. Before beginning his career in Washington, DC, he was a newspaper reporter for the Bartlesville, Oklahoma Examiner-Enterprise, and served briefly as Managing Editor of the Henryetta, Oklahoma Free-Lance, where under his leadership, the newspaper won four awards for photography and journalism from the Oklahoma Press Association.

Before his nomination as Secretary, he served as Executive Director of the US Senate Republican Policy Committee, part of the US Senate Republican leadership, then chaired by US Senator Don Nickles. Prior to that, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the US Department of Transportation under Secretaries Samuel Skinner and Andrew Card during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.

During the 1990 elections, he was a regional political director at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), where he worked on the reelection campaigns of several incumbent Republican Senators. Before joining the NRSC, Johnston was chief of staff to then-US Representative Jon Kyl, Communications Director to US Representative John Hiler, and a staff assistant to US Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt. He also served as a Regional Political Director at the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 1984 and 1986 congressional elections. He has worked in some capacity in 35 US Senate or House campaigns in 25 states.

Secretary of the Senate[edit]

Johnston served as Secretary of the United States Senate from June 8, 1995, until December 10, 1996.[2] During his tenure, he advocated for the creation of the Capitol Visitor Center and implemented two reform laws, the Lobby Disclosure Act and Congressional Accountability Act.


Johnston left the Secretary's office in December, 1996 after his nomination by President Bill Clinton to serve as a member of the Federal Election Commission was not acted upon by the United States Senate. From 1996 to 2002, he was Executive Vice President for Government Affairs and Communications for the National Food Processors Association.[3] Today, he is Vice President of Government Affairs for the Campbell Soup Company at their world headquarters in Camden, New Jersey. In 2009, he was elected Chairman of the Canadian-American Business Council.