Representative Chris Kelly was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives for six terms (1982-1992) and re-elected in 2008 and 2010 and 2012. He represented the citizens of southern and western Boone County, including the cities of Ashland, Columbia, Hartsburg, McBaine, and Rocheport in District 24 from 2008-2012. After redistricting, Kelly currently represents House District 45, which encompasses Downtown Columbia, the University of Missouri, Stephens and Columbia Colleges, and the Columbia campus of Moberly Area Community College.
Rep. Kelly is an attorney. He previously served as Boone County Associate Circuit Judge, Chairman of the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, and as Boone County Clerk.
In his previous tenure in the House, Rep. Kelly was the sponsor of legislation making it illegal to drink and drive in Missouri, creating the durable power of attorney for health care, establishing Missouri’s Abuse and Lose Law, Campaign Finance Reform, and the Missouri Federal Reimbursement Allowance Legislation. He also led the legislative effort to create the Katy Trail.
In his recent legislative terms, Rep. Kelly’s accomplishments include sponsoring the transfer of the Mid-MO Hospital to the University of Missouri, an organ donor check-off on tax forms, the overpass at the Columbia Regional Airport, the Amy Hester Student Protection Act, the Veterans Home Funding Bill, the Domestic Violence Bill, and the budget appropriation for the Caring for Missouri Act. As Co-Chair of the Missouri Working Group on Prisons and Corrections, his work contributed to reforming the terms for probation and parole. He was also the House handler for the judiciary bill that curbed the sentencing disparity in cocaine convictions.
As a member of many House standing and interim committees, including the Budget Committee and as Chair of the Appropriations Committee on Infrastructure & Job Creation, Kelly’s hand in Missouri law is evident. Kelly also serves as a member of the Missouri Supreme Court’s Ad Hoc Committee to Study Court Costs.
As a standard bearer for higher education in the state, issues of funding and infrastructural investment are ever on his agenda. Kelly is likewise a staunch supporter and advocate for the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan.
He is a graduate of Marist College (BA’68) and the University of Missouri’s Law School (JD ’88). He received the Mizzou Alumni Association’s Geyer Award for his contributions to higher education and Mizzou in 1998 and again in 2011, as well as numerous other legislative awards.
Rep. Kelly is an avid canoeist and a life member of the American Whitewater and the Missouri Whitewater Associations. He and spouse, Nanette Laughrey, are the proud parents of two children, Hugh and Kate, and two grandchildren, Sam and Maryellen.