Janet Vestal Kelly, Secretary of the Commonwealth
Janet Vestal Kelly was sworn in as Secretary of the Commonwealth on January 24, 2010. She has worked for over a decade in different capacities for Governor-elect McDonnell in both political and governmental roles. She initially started her service as a legislative intern early in her career for then-Delegate McDonnell then quickly moved into a political role helping to manage his successful 1999 re-election bid. She ran his candidate committee, McDonnell for Virginia, from 2002-2004 and served as campaign manager for his election to Attorney General in 2005. Janet served as Chief of Staff and Director of Administration for then-Attorney General McDonnell. As Director of Administration, Janet oversaw significant reforms in the Office that streamlined systems, increased efficiency and saved taxpayers’ money. She served as Director of Operations for the 2009 McDonnell campaign. She also served as Deputy Director of the McDonnell Gubernatorial Transition and Director of the McDonnell transition into the Attorney General’s office.
Other work experience includes having served as press secretary for Congressman Bob Goodlatte in his Capitol Hill office, Regional Political Director for Victory 2000, and Assistant Director of a homeless shelter for women and children in Hampton Roads.
As Secretary of the Commonwealth, she has implemented sweeping reforms in efficiency by utilizing technology to eliminate paper-based systems. Shortly after her appointment as Secretary, her team created and instituted the use of OASYS, an online application system for board and commission appointments. Her strategic plan calls for all of the office systems to be integrated online before the end of the McDonnell administration.
As Secretary, Janet has also managed the historic reforms of the restoration of rights process. Because of Governor McDonnell’s leadership, answers to applications for the restoration of civil rights now have a 60-day deadline, resulting in the fastest and fairest system in recent Virginia history.
She serves on the Virginia Victims of Human Trafficking Steering Committee, which seeks to curb one of the most disturbing and fast-growing criminal enterprises in the world; on the No Kid Hungry Campaign’s Collaborating Group, which fights childhood hunger in Virginia; and on the Planning Committee for the Richmond Women’s Healing Place, a sister treatment center to the Healing Place, which has a 70% success rate in helping men overcome addiction. Lastly, she serves on the board of LEAD VA, an organization that brings Virginia’s leaders together to educate them on issues with statewide significance.
Janet lives in Richmond, and has one daughter.