DeWine, Wilkin issue statement on death of Rep. Kelly

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 5, 2024

Former state legislator passed from cancer at age 40

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a statement on the death of former Hamilton County Auditor and State Representative Brigid Kelly, who died from cancer at age 40 on Tuesday.

“Fran and I are saddened by the death of Hamilton County Auditor Brigid Kelly,” DeWine said. “Brigid dedicated much of her career to public service, first as a Norwood City Councilwoman, then as a state representative, and then as Hamilton County auditor. Like many who worked with her, I knew Brigid to be cordial, collaborative and willing to work with both parties to help advance the interests of Ohioans. Fran and I extend our sincerest condolences to Brigid’s husband, Steve, and her entire family.”

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Kelly, a Democrat, represented the 31st District, which covers an area around Cincinnati, from 2017-2022. 

In honor of the life and service of Kelly, DeWine ordered the flags of the United States and the State of Ohio to be flown at half-staff upon all public buildings and grounds throughout Hamilton County, the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center and Rhodes Tower from sunrise to sunset on the day of her funeral.

All other public buildings and grounds throughout the state may fly the flags of the United States and the state of Ohio at half-staff at their discretion for the same time period.

State Sen. Shane Wilkin, R-91, whose district covers Lawrence County, spoke of the passing of his colleague from his time in the House in a lengthy statement, sharing memories of their friendship.

“I think back on my relationship with Brigid, I cannot help but smile,” Wilkin wrote, adding they most definitely had different views and ideas on what was best for Ohio and our constituents, but they never had a cross word for each other. 

“We always shared a mutual respect for our differences, agreed to disagree and, always, above all, remained friends,” Wilkin wrote. “I very sarcastically told a group of people, with Brigid present mind you, that I did not like Representative Kelly (her title at the time) and here is why: 1. She is very smart.  2. She is always well prepared.  3. She is very well-spoken. 4. She is on the other side. I followed that up by saying if she could just change the last one she would be one of my favorites. Brigid looked at me and said, ‘Wilkin, I feel the same way about you.’ The entire group shared a laugh. Brigid was great like that.”
Wilkin said he stayed in contact with Kelly after she left the General Assembly.

“She would always ask about my girls and was reluctant to talk about her illness,” he said. “If she did, it was positive, and how she was focused and looking to the future. Brigid was great like that. Brigid, I am not sure what else to say. My deepest condolences to your husband, your family, and your loved ones. To lose you has to be devastating. My wish for your family is that they cherish all of the wonderful things you accomplished, the wonderful memories they have to look back on, and in the end, all of that makes them smile. For me, I will remember you for everything I have mentioned above, see you smiling, maybe even snickering, in ‘Kelly Green’ and working for your people. Because you were great like that.”