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Trent Kelly

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Trent Kelly
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
Personal details
John Trent Kelly

(1966-03-01) March 1, 1966 (age 58)
Union, Mississippi, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseSheila Kelly
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch United States Army
Years of service1985–present (reserve)
Rank Major General
UnitArmy National Guard
WarsPersian Gulf War
Iraq War

John Trent Kelly (born March 1, 1966) is an American lawyer, politician, and U.S. Army general officer 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.

Early life and career[edit]

John Trent 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]

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

Kelly graduated from University of Mississippi School of Law and received a master's degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College 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 service[edit]

Major General Trent Kelly is the assistant adjutant general – Army, for the Mississippi National Guard.

In 1990, Kelly mobilized for 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 Star medals, the Combat Action Badge, the Bronze, Silver, and Gold de Fleury medals, 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] and to major general in November 2020.[8] He currently serves as assistant adjutant general - Army, for the Mississippi National Guard.[9]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


Mississippi's 1st congressional district: Results 2015–2022
Year Republican Votes Pct Democratic Votes Pct Third party Party Votes Pct Third party Party Votes Pct
2015 (special) Trent Kelly 69,516 70.0% Walter Zinn 29,831 30.0%
2016 206,455 68.7% Jacob Owens 83,947 27.9% Chase Wilson Libertarian 6,181 2.1% Cathy Toole Reform 3,840 1.3%
2018 158,245 66.9% Randy Wadkins 76,601 32.4% Tracella L.O. Hil Reform 1,675 0.7%
2020 228,787 68.7% Antonia Eliason 104,008 31.3%
2022 122,151 72.9% Dianne Black 45,238 27.0%

2015 special election[edit]

After the death of Republican Congressman Alan Nunnelee in 2015, Kelly entered the race to succeed him. Nunnelee's widow, Tori Nunnelee, contributed to Kelly's campaign.[10]

In the first round, Kelly finished second in a 13-candidate field, behind Democrat Walter Zinn.[11] As no candidate received a majority of votes, Kelly and Zinn advanced to a runoff on June 2.[11] Several of the other candidates in the race endorsed Kelly after they were eliminated.[12]

In the heavily Republican district, Kelly took 70% of the vote to Zinn's 30%.[13][14][15]

2016 election[edit]

Kelly won the Republican primary in March 2016, defeating Paul Clever of Olive Branch both districtwide and in DeSoto County. Kelly had 18,152 votes in DeSoto County, or 80%, to Clever's 4,497 (20%).

Kelly then won reelection with 67.57% of the vote to Democratic nominee Jacob Owens's 27.97%, followed by Libertarian Chase Wilson's 2.92% and Reform Party candidate Cathy L. Toole's 1.45%.


Kelly was sworn in by House Speaker John Boehner on June 9, 2015.[16] In his first term, he served on the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Small Business.

Kelly serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the House Agriculture Committee. He has previously served on the House Committee on Small Business and the House Committee on the Budget.

In December 2020, Kelly was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated[17] incumbent Donald Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[18][19][20]

In 2024, Kelly voted against the $60 billion military aid package for Ukraine, although much of the money would go to his constituency.[21]

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[22][23]—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 roughly ten yards 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.[24] Scalise and Mika were taken to nearby hospitals, where they underwent surgery.[25] Scalise is the first sitting member of Congress to have been shot since Representative Gabby Giffords was shot in 2011.[26]


The PACT ACT which expanded VA benefits to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals during their military service, received a "nay" from Kelly.[27] Regarding cannabis, despite lobbying from VSOs such as the DAV[28] Kelly also voted against 2022 MORE Act.[29][30]

Committee assignments[edit]

For the 118th Congress:[31]

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • National Guard and Reserve Components (co-chair)
  • Steel Caucus
  • Iraq Caucus (co-chair)
  • Caucus on Uzbekistan (co-chair)
  • Fertilizer Caucus
  • Rural Broadband Caucus
  • Crop Insurance Caucus
  • Working Forests Caucus



  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". trentkelly.house.gov. March 9, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2017. Public Domain 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. ^ "Congressman Trent Kelly: Representing the First District of Mississippi". House.gov. March 9, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  9. ^ "Assistant Adjutant General, Army". ms.ng.mil. Archived from the original on May 21, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  10. ^ Harrison, Bobby (April 21, 2015). "Nunnelee funds directed to Kelly's campaign". Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
  11. ^ a b Easley, Jonathan (May 12, 2015). "Democrat advances to runoff in Mississippi special election". The Hill.
  12. ^ Pender, Geoff (May 13, 2015). "Democrats celebrate Tuesday win; battle moves to runoff". Clarion Ledger.
  13. ^ Cahn, Emily (May 12, 2015). "Mississippi Special Election Heads to Runoff". Roll Call.
  14. ^ Pettus, Emily Wagster (May 13, 2015). "1 Dem, 1 Republican headed to US House runoff in Mississippi". Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 27, 2015.
  15. ^ Cahn, Emily (June 2, 2015). "Kelly Wins Runoff for Mississippi House Seat". Roll Call.
  16. ^ "Rep. Trent Kelly of Mississippi Sworn in as New House Member". ABC News. Associated Press. June 9, 2015.
  17. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  18. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  19. ^ "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  20. ^ Diaz, Daniella. "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  21. ^ Thiessen, Marc (April 25, 2024). "These politicians voted against their states' best interests on Ukraine aid". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 26, 2024.
  22. ^ Laughland, Oliver; Swaine, Jon (June 15, 2017). "Virginia shooting: gunman was leftwing activist with record of domestic violence". The Guardian. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  23. ^ Pierce, Matt; Tanfani, Joseph (June 14, 2017). "Virginia gunman hated Republicans, and 'was always in his own little world'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  24. ^ de Vries, Karl; Scott, Eugene (June 14, 2017). "Rep. Scalise shot in Virginia". CNN. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  25. ^ Staff. "Hospital: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition after surgery". AOL. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  26. ^ Yadidi, Noa (June 14, 2017). "Giffords tweets support following baseball practice shooting". CNN. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  27. ^ https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/202257
  28. ^ "DAV Magazine July/August 2023 Page 5". www.qgdigitalpublishing.com.
  29. ^ https://www.c-span.org/video/?519065-1/house-session&start=11123
  30. ^ https://justfacts.votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/156389/trent-kelly/101/marijuana
  31. ^ "Trent Kelly". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved August 17, 2023.
  32. ^ "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 Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 1st congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by