|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Pennsylvania's 16th district
January 3, 2011
George Joseph Kelly Jr.
May 10, 1948
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Education||University of Notre Dame (BA)|
|Net worth||$10.4 million (2018)|
George Joseph Kelly Jr. (born May 10, 1948), better known as Mike Kelly, is an American politician in the Republican Party who has been a U.S. Representative since 2011 and is currently serving as representative for Pennsylvania's 16th congressional district. The district, numbered as the 3rd district from 2011 to 2019, is based in Erie and stretches from the northwest corner of the state to the outer northern suburbs of Pittsburgh, including Kelly's home in Butler.
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Kelly was born on May 10, 1948, in Pittsburgh, but has spent most of his life in Butler. He played varsity football as a fullback in high school, and his team reached two WPIAL championship games. He graduated from Butler High School in 1966. He received a scholarship to play football at University of Notre Dame, but his playing ended because of an injury. Before his election to Congress, Kelly was a member of the Butler City Council.
After college, he worked for his father's Chevrolet/Cadillac car dealership. In 1995, he purchased his father's business, and then added Hyundai and KIA to his dealership lineup. In March 2019, a local TV station discovered that there were 17 vehicles for sale on Kelly's Uniontown and Butler lots which were the subject of recall notices, but they had not been repaired. The station contacted both the businesses and the congressman's office without receiving responses. A month later, a reporter found three of those vehicles with active recalls still for sale. In November 2015, Kelly had spoken on the floor of Congress in support of a bill that would have given permission to dealers to loan or rent vehicles despite there being National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety recall notices on such vehicles. Kelly had said, "There is not a single person in our business that would ever put one of our owners in a defective car or a car with a recall. But that could happen. That could happen." The congressional bill failed to pass. With support from dealers' associations allowing such vehicles to be marketed without repairs, a similar measure passed in Pennsylvania and was signed into law, as did one in Tennessee. Such bills failed to pass in seven other states. The auto manufacturing industry opposed the bill, with General Motors saying, "provisions that allow for sale of a used vehicle with an unrepaired safety recall with a simple notice raise significant safety concerns." After the station's initial contacts, Kelly's son Brendan, who operates Mike Kelly Automotive responded by saying, "The dealerships will not sell any vehicle that is in violation of a federal or state Law."
Kelly defeated Democrat Missa Eaton 55%-41%. His district had been made slightly friendlier in redistricting. The district was pushed slightly to the south, absorbing some rural and Republican territory east of Pittsburgh. At the same time, eastern Erie County was drawn into the heavily Republican 5th district. The 3rd and 5th were drawn so that the boundary between the two districts ran along the eastern boundary of the city of Erie.
Kelly defeated Democrat Dan LaVallee of Cranberry Township 60.5%-39.5%.
Kelly ran unopposed and received 100% of the vote.
After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out Pennsylvania's original congressional map in February 2018, Kelly's district was renumbered as the 16th and made slightly more compact. It regained the eastern portion of Erie County that had been drawn into the 5th. To make up for the increase in population, its southern portion was pushed to the west, ending just outside of Kelly's hometown of Butler.
PoliticsPA wrote that Kelly's seat might not be one of the seats considered safe for re-election. Public Policy Polling found that Kelly had a 48% to 43% lead over Democratic opponent Ron DiNicola.
Kelly ultimately defeated DiNicola 51.6%-47.2%, his first close contest since his initial run for the seat.
Kelly has received the following ratings from advocacy organizations:
In addition, Kelly serves as the co-chair of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, a bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives from the 18 Northeastern and Midwestern States. He is an appointed member of the President's Export Council.
When speaking at a Mercer County Republican Party event in 2017, Kelly advanced the conspiracy theory that former president Barack Obama was running a "shadow government" to undermine President Trump. When asked about these remarks, Kelly said that they were meant to be private. After the remarks made national news, Kelly's spokesperson said that Kelly did not believe that Obama "is personally operating a shadow government".
Mike Kelly has argued against the release of President Donald Trump's tax returns by the House Ways and Means Committee.
Speaking at a Heritage Foundation event in July 2014, Kelly compared the Environmental Protection Agency to terrorists while attacking EPA regulations limiting power plant emissions, saying "You talk about terrorism - you can do it in a lot of different ways,... But you terrorize the people who supply everything this country needs to be great - and you keep them on the sidelines - my goodness, what have we become?"
In September 2018, Kelly was rated 0% by the Clean Water Action group.
On August 1, 2012, Kelly called the HHS mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) - which requires health insurers or employers that provide their employees with health insurance to cover some contraceptive costs in their health insurance plans - an attack on Americans' constitutionally protected religious rights and that August 1, 2012, would go down in infamy as "the day that religious freedom died".
When Kelly was elected, the district was located in the northwestern corner of the state, stretching from Erie to rural territory near Pittsburgh. In February 2018, after the Supreme Court ruled the Pennsylvania districts to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered, most of his district became a part of the 16th District.
Kelly lives in Butler, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Victoria. They have four children, George III, Brendan, Charlotte, and Colin, and ten grandchildren. He is the brother-in-law of Tennessee's 1st congressional district Congressman Phil Roe. He is Catholic. In 2019 he stated that as a person of Irish and Anglo Saxon descent and he considers himself a person of color, a term often used to describe people of non-white backgrounds.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 3rd congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 16th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority