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Robin Lynne Kelly (born April 30, 1956) is an American politician from Illinois who has served as the U.S. Representative from Illinois's 2nd congressional district since 2013. A Democrat, Kelly served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2003 to 2007. She then served as chief of staff for Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias until 2010. She was the 2010 Democratic nominee for State Treasurer, but was defeated in the general election. Prior to running for Congress, Kelly served as the Cook County Chief Administrative Officer.

Robin Kelly
Robin Kelly, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 2nd district
Assumed office
April 11, 2013
Preceded byJesse Jackson Jr.
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 38th district
In office
January 8, 2003 – January 12, 2007
Preceded byRenée Kosel
Succeeded byAl Riley
Personal details
Robin Lynne Kelly

(1956-04-30) April 30, 1956 (age 63)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Nathaniel Horn (m. 2003)
EducationBradley University (BA, MA)
Northern Illinois University (PhD)

After winning the Democratic primary,[1] Kelly won the 2013 special election to succeed Jesse Jackson Jr. in the U.S. House of Representatives.[2]

Early life, education, and early political careerEdit

The daughter of a grocer, Robin Lynne Kelly was born in Harlem[3] on April 30, 1956.[4] Hoping to become a child psychologist, she attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois,[3] and is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority through the Zeta Phi Chapter. At Bradley, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in psychology (1977/1978) and her Master of Arts in counseling (1982).[4] While in Peoria she directed a "crisis nursery" and worked in a hospital.[3]

From 1992 through 2006 she served as a Director of Community Affairs in Matteson.[4] She earned her Ph.D. in political science from Northern Illinois University (2004).[4]

Illinois House of Representatives (2003–2007)Edit


In 2002, Kelly decided to challenge a ten-year incumbent Illinois state representative in the Democratic primary. In November, she defeated Republican Kitty Watson 81%–19%[5]

In 2004, she won re-election to a second term, defeating Republican Jack McInerney, 86%–14%.[6] In 2006, she won re-election to a third term unopposed.[7]

Committee assignmentsEdit

  • Appropriations-Human Services
  • Housing & Urban Development
  • International Trade & Commerce
  • Local Government
  • Mass Transit (Vice-Chairman)
  • Para-transit
  • Whole[8]

Inter-legislative years (2007–2013)Edit

In January 2007, she resigned her house seat to become Chief of Staff to Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. She was the first African-American woman to serve as chief of staff to an elected constitutional statewide officeholder. Robin was appointed to become Chief Administrative Officer for Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle in 2011.

In 2010, Kelly ran for Illinois Treasurer. In the Democratic primary, she defeated founding member and senior executive of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Justin Oberman, 58%–42%. She won most of the counties in the state, including Cook County with 59% of the vote.[9][10]

In the November general election, Republican State Senator Dan Rutherford defeated her 50%–45%. She won just six of the state's 102 counties: Cook (62%), Alexander (52%), Gallatin (51%), St. Clair (50%), Calhoun (49%), and Rock Island (48%) counties.[11]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

Kelly's first Congressional portrait (113th congress)

2013 congressional electionEdit

Kelly entered the field for Illinois's 2nd congressional district after Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned just three weeks after being elected to a tenth term. On February 11, two Chicago-based Democratic congressmen, Bobby Rush and Danny K. Davis, endorsed her.[12]

On February 13, U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky endorsed Kelly.[13] A few days later, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed her and committed $2 million in TV ads supporting her by highlighting Kelly's opposition to the National Rifle Association. She was also endorsed by the Chicago Tribune.[14] On February 17, State Senator Toi Hutchinson decided to drop out to endorse Kelly.

On February 26, 2013, she won the Democratic primary in the heavily Democratic, black-majority district with 52% of the vote.[15][16] In the April 9th general election, she defeated Republican community activist Paul McKinley and a variety of independent candidates with around 71% of the vote.[2]


Kelly took office on April 9, 2013,[4] and was sworn in on April 11, 2013.[17]

Committee assignmentsEdit

U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce, members Steve Chabot and Robin Kelly in 2017 celebrate legislation to help educate more girls

Caucus membershipsEdit

Voting recordEdit

In 2015, Kelly voted against HR 2262, a bi-partisan bill encouraging private space exploration and providing regulatory framework for such exploration.[19][20]

Personal lifeEdit

Kelly lives in Matteson with her husband, Nathaniel Horn.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (February 26, 2013). "Kelly wins amid Bloomberg ad blitz". Politico. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Illinois Special Election Results". Politico.
  3. ^ a b c Skiba, Katherine (April 14, 2013). "Robin Kelly hopes to change legacy of 2nd District seat". Chicago Tribune.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Kelly, Robin L." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  5. ^ "IL State House 038 Race". Our Campaigns. November 5, 2002. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  6. ^ "IL State House 038 Race". Our Campaigns. November 2, 2004. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  7. ^ "IL State House 038 Race". Our Campaigns. November 7, 2006. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  8. ^ "Illinois General Assembly – Senator Biography". Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  9. ^ "IL Treasurer – D Primary Race". Our Campaigns. February 2, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  10. ^ "2012 General Election Results: U.S. President". Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  11. ^ "IL Treasurer Race". Our Campaigns. November 2, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  12. ^ Paicely, Christopher (February 11, 2013). "Congressmen Davis and Rush Endorse Robin Kelly: 2nd District Race – Government – Chicago Heights, IL Patch". Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  13. ^ McClelland, Edward (February 13, 2013). "Jan Schakowsky Endorses Robin Kelly". NBC Chicago. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  14. ^ "Bloomberg PAC endorses Robin Kelly in new Illinois special election ad". Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  15. ^ "Robin Kelly wins rival Toi Hutchinson's support in Illinois race". February 19, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  16. ^ "Illinois Special Election Results 2013 – District Results, Live Updates". April 11, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  17. ^ [1] Archived April 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  19. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 262" (XML). Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  20. ^ Kevin McCarthy. "U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (H.R. 2262)". Retrieved November 11, 2016.

External linksEdit