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Political communications giant Kelly Rossman-McKinney dies of cancer at 67

Kelly Rossman-McKinney
Posted at 5:28 PM, Nov 10, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — Officials in Lansing are remembering the life of Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a giant in the field of political communications.

She passed away from cancer on Tuesday at the age of 67.

“She was the most remarkable woman anybody could meet. She had been through some of the toughest times anybody would go through in her career," said John Truscott, her friend and business partner in the firm Truscott Rossman. "I mean, you have to realize that, when she started her business on her own, there were no women in Lansing in the political arena.”

He said Rossman-McKinney was a true trailblazer.

“She shattered the glass ceiling to get where she was. She dealt with a lot of things that would not be tolerated today. And then she taught young women coming up behind her that they didn't have to put up with things," he said.

Rossman-McKinney started her career as a legislative secretary in 1979 and worked in the Michigan House and Senate. She and Truscott had been friends since the early '90s and merged their two communications firms in 2011 to create Truscott Rossman. Together they broke barriers by becoming a prominent firm run by a Democrat and a Republican.

Truscott and Rossman together
Business partners and friends John Truscott and Kelly Rossman-McKinney

“When we merged forces, it was kind of unheard of to have a Republican and a Democrat...We sent some shockwaves when we did that and we were the the first truly bipartisan firm in that manner," Truscott said.

Rossman-McKinney retired from the company in 2018 and mounted an unsuccessful run for Michigan Senate. She then served as the communications director for Attorney General Dana Nessel until her death from cancer on Tuesday.

Kelly Rossman-McKinney and veteran
Kelly Rossman-McKinney campaigning

"I am heartbroken by the loss of one of my most trusted advisers and I am honored to count myself amongst those who had the good fortune to work alongside Kelly and to witness her artistry," said Nessel in a statement.

Rossman-McKinney leaves behind her husband and four children.

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