Mike Kelly (Alaska politician)

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Mike Kelly
Mike Kelly of Alaska.jpg
Mike Kelly in November 2010
Member of the Alaska House of Representatives
from the 7th district
In office
January 10, 2005 – January 17, 2011
Preceded by Hugh Fate
Succeeded by Bob Miller
President of the University of Alaska Board of Regents
In office
Preceded by Sharon D. Gagnon
Succeeded by Michael J. Burns
Member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents
In office
Preceded by Ruth E. Burnett
Succeeded by Brian D. Rogers
Personal details
Born Michael Patrick Kelly
(1942-05-06)May 6, 1942
Tacoma, Washington
Died December 7, 2016(2016-12-07) (aged 74)
Near Fairbanks, Alaska
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cherie
Children 5
Alma mater University of Alaska
Religion Roman Catholic

Michael Patrick "Mike" Kelly (May 6, 1942 – December 7, 2016) was a Republican member of the Alaska House of Representatives, representing the 7th District from 2005 until 2011.[1] In the 26th Alaska State Legislature, he served on the Finance Committee, chairing the Corrections and the Natural Resources Finance Subcommittee. He also served on the Fish & Game Finance Subcommittee.[2]

Prior to politics[edit]

Mike Kelly was born on May 6, 1942 in Tacoma, Washington, the oldest of seven children of Halford "Hal" and Helen Kelly. Hal Kelly moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in late 1947; his family moved to Fairbanks the following year. Mike Kelly graduated from Monroe High School in 1960.

Kelly retired as the President and CEO of GVEA in 2000, and was working as a commuter airline pilot for Tanana Air Service at the time of his election to the State House.[3] He served a single term on the University of Alaska Board of Regents, from 1991 to 1999, serving as president of the board from 1996 to 1998.

Political career[edit]

Kelly is the oldest brother of Pete Kelly, who represented Fairbanks in the Alaska House from 1995 to 1999, and the Alaska Senate from 1999 to 2003. Mike Kelly ran for an open House seat in 2004, defeating a primary opponent and 3 opponents on the general election ballot. Most of his time in office was spent dealing with solutions to problems brought on by the public employee retirement system in Alaska and the potential for future budget problems due to unfunded liabilities. This angered the old-timer and conservative constituencies who originally voted for him, as he mainly talked about building large-scale development projects. The solution he achieved, which would have resulted in lesser benefits for newer public employees than the ones who came before, also angered the public employee sector. They began to target Kelly for defeat.

2008 campaign[edit]

In 2008, Kelly faced two primary challengers. He defeated Schaeffer Cox, a 24-year-old carpenter who would later become better known for his involvement in the militia movement, by an approximately 51 to 36 percent margin. In the general election, he was re-elected by only 4 votes against Karl Kassel, who had recently retired as head of parks and recreation for the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

2010 campaign[edit]

In 2010, he was defeated for reelection by Bob Miller, a former television anchor. Political action committees were formed specifically to oppose Kelly. Advertisements pointing out his actions on the public employee retirement issue, presented in contrast with his own retirement package from Golden Valley Electric Association, were a constant presence during the 2010 campaign season.

Personal life and death[edit]

Kelly and his wife Cherie had five children, Roxanne, Shannon, Erin, Cecilia and James, as well as 12 grandchildren. He graduated from Monroe High School in 1960, attended Seattle University from 1960–1961, and received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Alaska in 1966.[4]

Kelly was killed in the crash of an American Champion Citabria, which was being piloted by Kelly, on Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks, Alaska on December 7, 2016.[5][6]


  1. ^ "Mike Kelly". Ballotpedia.org. 2014-04-13. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  2. ^ "Rep. Mike Kelly's 26th Legislature Information - 26th AK Legislature House Majority". Housemajority.org. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  3. ^ "Rep. Kelly's Biography - 26th AK Legislature House Majority". Housemajority.org. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  4. ^ "Alaska State Legislature". House.legis.state.ak.us. 2016-02-14. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  5. ^ "Wife: Ex-state Rep. Mike Kelly dies in Alaska plane crash". Dailyprogress.com. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  6. ^ Ballard, Shannon. "Former state representative Mike Kelly killed in plane crash near Fairbanks | KTVA 11". Ktva.com. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 

External links[edit]