LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Attorney General communications director Kelly Rossman-McKinney has died, according to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
Rossman-McKinney started working in Lansing as a legislative secretary in 1979. She later served as an aide in the Michigan House and Senate before being chose to help run the Michigan Youth Corps. She also co-founded Truscott Rossman, a communications firm in Michigan.
“I am heartbroken by the loss of one of my most trusted advisors and I am honored to count myself amongst those who had the good fortune to work alongside Kelly and to witness her artistry,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement.
Rossman-McKinney died after a battle with cancer.
Attorney General Dana Nessel released the following statement:
“There will never be another Kelly Rossman-McKinney. I am heartbroken by the loss of one of my most trusted advisors and I am honored to count myself amongst those who had the good fortune to work alongside Kelly and to witness her artistry. Kelly forged deep relationships with so many of her colleagues at the Department of Attorney General, and her loss weighs heavy on all our hearts tonight.
Kelly started her career in Lansing as a legislative secretary in 1979. She went on to serve as an aide in both the Michigan House and Senate before being tapped by Governor James Blanchard to help run the newly created Michigan Youth Corps, which became a national model for programs across the country. Kelly was tasked with leading multiple initiatives in Governor Blanchard’s administration including the Office of Michigan Products, where she showcased Michigan-made goods to the world. Kelly then struck out on her own.
What started as a solo operation from her kitchen table grew to one of the largest and most well-respected public relations firms in Michigan, Truscott Rossman. Kelly was the gold standard for public relations; respected by her peers and admired by her colleagues. In 2019, she joined the Department of Attorney General as Communications Director and served the People of Michigan with distinction.
Throughout her career, Kelly has demonstrated a commitment to the greater good and to the pursuit of excellence. Her commitment was accentuated by the charisma and positivity that permeated every aspect of her interactions. Kelly’s legacy will live on in the policies she has championed and the people she has mentored.
I join with Kelly’s husband, children, and friends in mourning the loss of our beloved KRM.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released the following statement:
“Kelly Rossman-McKinney was one of a kind. Honoring a woman who always knew what to say and when to say it is difficult. A trailblazer and role model who meant so much to so many. Her unmatched political instincts and razor-sharp wit shaped Lansing for decades. Her name literally graces the skyline. It is hard to imagine this town without her, but Kelly’s timeless advice will continue to shape the work we all do. One of my favorite Kelly aphorisms was ‘have a high bar and don’t lower it for anyone.’ She set a high bar for us all. We will strive to meet it every day. My love goes to Kelly’s family who centered her world.”
John Truscott released the following statement:
“The team at Truscott Rossman and I join people across the state of Michigan today in mourning the loss of our friend, Kelly Rossman-McKinney. Kelly left this world the way she lived in it - bravely determined, inspiring all those around her with her courage, wit and humor. We will miss her tremendously.
Throughout her 45-year career, Kelly became one of Michigan’s best-known, highly-respected and most-accomplished communications experts. There never has been and never will be another Kelly Rossman-McKinney. She shattered the glass ceiling for women in Lansing by taking risks - risks she understood and committed to because she knew what challenges were, and she faced them head on. After years of competing for business, and even serving as adversaries on issues, Kelly and I joined forces and founded Truscott Rossman in 2011. It was the best decision of my career.
With her passing, I’ve lost more than a business partner, I’ve lost a best friend, my work wife and one of the most heroic people I’ve ever met.
On behalf of our entire team, I extend deep sympathy to Kelly’s beloved husband, Officer Dave Thompson, and her children Alex, Teddy, Connor and Coby, her stepdaughter Brittany Thompson, daughter-in-law Jessica Zimbelman and former husband and great friend, Kevin McKinney.”