Kelly Rossman-McKinney, the co-founder of the Truscott Rossman public relations firm and communications director for Attorney General Dana Nessel, has died at 67 after a battle with cancer.
In a statement, Nessel mourned the loss of Rossman-McKinney, “Lansing trailblazer and friend.”
“There will never be another Kelly Rossman-McKinney,” Nessel said in the release. “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.”
Nessel also praised Rossman-McKinney’s work with her firm.
"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,” Nessel said. “Kelly was the gold standard for public relations; respected by her peers and admired by her colleagues.”
Rossman-McKinney began the non-partisan communications company, Truscott Rossman, in 2011 with John Truscott. Truscott mourned the loss of his co-founder in multiple statements.
“Michigan has lost a legend,” Truscott said. “Her friends lost their fiercest supporter. The vulnerable lost a generous advocate. And I lost a partner, dear friend and the woman who was my work wife.”
“Kelly built her business, starting at her kitchen table when she lost her state job. She entered an arena where women were rare. She stood up to the men who ran politics in Michigan. And she built a reputation that will never be matched.”
Rossman-McKinney had a long history of involvement in the Michigan state government. Beginning in 1979 as a legislative secretary, she also served as an aide in the legislature and in the administration of then-Gov. James Blanchard.
Rossman-McKinney retired from her position at Truscott Rossman in 2018. After an unsuccessful run for the State Senate, she began her position as communications director for Nessel.
She was remembered by politicians and journalists alike, many praising her as a trailblazer for women involved in the industries of state government and media. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also released a statement about Rossman-McKinney’s death.
“Kelly Rossman-McKinney was one of a kind,” Whitmer said. “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.”
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