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Long-time Capital Insider Retires From State Government

LANSING – One of Michigan’s longest-serving capital city insiders – Kelly Keenan – is retiring from state government today following decades of experience in Lansing. 

Keenan left his private sector consulting firm to assist newly elected Attorney General Dana Nessel when she took office on Jan. 1, 2019. He served as her deputy attorney general until October 2020, when he moved to the position of special adviser to the Attorney General.  

“At my request, Kelly returned to the department where he has spent decades of his career, assisting me during the first two years of my tenure,” Nessel said. “His institutional knowledge of the department has been highly valuable and I am grateful for his service." 

An attorney himself, Keenan’s credentials are legendary, as are his deep roots in state government. Keenan started his career in the Michigan Senate, working for state Sen. Jerry Hart, D-Saginaw, before heading to the office of Attorney General Frank Kelley in 1984.  Keenan served in a variety of positions and roles for Kelley, and then continued to serve the department as deputy attorney general for external affairs when Jennifer Granholm led the Michigan Department of Attorney General (1999-2003). When Granholm was elected governor in 2002, Keenan followed, serving as her legal counsel throughout her tenure. He served on both Nessel’s and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s transition teams in 2018 as both women prepared to take office. 

“It has been an honor to assist Attorney General Nessel in establishing her office,” Keenan said. “Attorney General Nessel is carrying on in the tradition of Attorney General Kelley and Granholm as a proactive people's lawyer protecting consumers, the environment, civil rights, crime victims and workers. The people are fortunate in these times to have such a dedicated public official as Dana Nessel."