Service to one’s country and one’s community were at the heart of Brendan Kelly’s upbringing, and formed his values as a husband, father, prosecutor and veteran.
Brendan’s grandfather on his father’s side of the family served as a police officer, and his great uncle as a firefighter. His grandfather on his mother’s side was an electrician who worked on airplanes for the United States Air Force.
Brendan’s parents were lifelong public servants, serving in the Department of Defense supporting our military and veterans. Brendan’s sister and brother-in-law are officers in the Navy. The Kellys were transferred to Scott Air Force Base, and Brendan has proudly called Southern Illinois home for more than three decades.
With the help of a Navy ROTC scholarship, Brendan attended the University of Notre Dame, earning a degree in Government and International Relations and earning a commission as an officer in the United States Navy.
Brendan served our country around the world including in Israel, witnessing firsthand the roots of the Middle Eastern conflict where terrorism remains a constant threat.
After receiving a law degree from St. Louis University, Brendan served as an Assistant State’s Attorney, prosecuting crime and standing up for victims. In 2010, Brendan became the State’s Attorney for St. Clair County. As State’s Attorney, Brendan made significant reforms that saved taxpayer money and made the office more efficient.
As the youngest member of the board, he served as the representative for the National District Attorneys Association as an observer of the prosecution of terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.
In St. Clair County, Brendan strengthened the law enforcement functions of the State’s Attorney’s office, creating a new violent crime unit and revolutionizing the prosecution of domestic assault cases, more than doubling the rate of charges in those cases.
He created a children’s justice division to prosecute crimes against children and fought to eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual assault. He served as an executive committee member of Fight Crime, Invest in Kids and as Chairman of the St. Clair County Child Advocacy Center.
Brendan isn’t afraid to take on the toughest fights. Representing St. Clair County, he successfully sued several of the nation’s biggest banks for fraudulent, secretive mortgage recording, forcing the banks to be transparent and accountable.
He also was the first State’s Attorney in Illinois to file suit against big pharmaceutical manufacturers for maximizing profits by deceiving patients about the dangers of certain prescribed opioids that have led to addiction, overdose, death and fueled the heroin epidemic. The lawsuit is now a model for similar suits around the state.
And Brendan has taken a tough stance against public corruption, compiling a long list of prosecutions of members of both parties.
The Southern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission named Brendan “Southern Illinois Prosecutor of the Year” for his tough, effective work to prosecute crime and his passion for justice.
Brendan is married to Joanne, a nurse and Blood and Marrow Transplant Coordinator at St. Louis University Hospital, who grew up in Southern Illinois as an “Air Force brat”. They are the proud parents of Zac and Owen.
Brendan is running for Congress because the optimism that once defined America is giving way to division and cynicism. Politicians have stopped listening to people and are missing the very real problems that are facing families today. They talk down to people instead of with them.
The wealthiest are doing great. The poor stay poor. And the middle class is getting crushed by a system that is continually rigged to favor those with power and influence.
He believes our standing in the world has been diminished because for the last 20 years leaders of both parties have lost focus on our national security mission at home and abroad.
And as a law enforcement official Brendan has seen the destruction caused by the flood of heroin, fentanyl and meth into Southern Illinois. He believes it’s time to make it easier for addicts to get treatment and ramp up our efforts to stop opioids from entering the United States.
We need to recognize these dangerous drugs are the greatest border problem we face, and we need to give our local, state and federal law enforcement officials the resources necessary to investigate and prosecute those who are profiting from the heroin epidemic.
Brendan believes the people in Southern Illinois and throughout the country are right to be fed up about a system that stopped working for them a generation ago. As a veteran and a longtime law enforcement official, Brendan is dedicated to service and focused on results, not party politics.