Bridget Kelly’s Bergen County roots go back over 150 years to Lodi Township where her mother’s family settled in the 1860s. In the decades since, they have never left. Born at Englewood Hospital, Bridget spent her formative years in Bergen County, at Lindgren Nursery School in Closter, at St. Paul School in Ramsey, and finally graduating from Immaculate Heart Academy in Washington Township.
Growing up, Bridget was always known as one of the friendliest children in her neighborhood, a trait that not only earned her a spot on a Sesame Street episode, but also led her to become a cheerleader, a high school class president, a member of the Student Government and Housing Committee at Mount St. Mary’s University, co-president of the St. Paul School Parent Faculty Guild, and Vice President of the Don Bosco Prep Touchdown Club.
Bridget liked to work and liked to work hard, starting her first job when she was only fourteen years old. Whether at the local Carvel in Ramsey, at Mac Hugh’s Clothing store in Ridgewood, at the Italian Carousel Deli in Ramsey, at Mahwah Bar & Grill, or at the CYO camp in Oakland, she never stopped. While in college, she held three internships in government: for County Executive Pat Schuber, for Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, and for Congresswoman Marge Roukema. Bridget balanced these internships with her course load and a part-time position at Mount St. Mary’s Athletic Center.
Bridget has four children whom she adores, and she has been an active member in their schools, running fundraisers and helping out with the lacrosse and football teams. One of the hardest parts of parenting has been helping her son Conor manage his heart condition, Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return, which required him to undergo open-heart surgery mere hours after he was born. To this day, Bridget offers counseling to parents of babies born with congenital heart disease.
Professionally, Bridget served as a legislative aide to Assemblyman David Russo working her way up to Chief of Staff. In that position, she traveled to Trenton, assisting the Assemblyman on legislative and constituent matters. Because of her ability to work across the aisle in a productive manner, Bridget then went on to serve in the administration of Governor Chris Christie where she was able to bring together a Democratic State Legislature and a Republican Governor on key initiatives.
During her time as Deputy Chief of Staff, she was scapegoated in the scandal known as “Bridgegate” which involved, among other things, a purported traffic study with lane closures that then turned into national news. Unbeknownst to her, there was no such study and those she trusted damaged her reputation and allowed her to be indicted, tried, and convicted – all while they went on to lucrative careers. In May 2020, in a unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court determined that Bridget Kelly should never have been charged or prosecuted and reversed her conviction. In the end, Bridget never should have been indicted, charged, tried or convicted in the first place. But, in the beginning, she was the easiest target and believed to be someone who would stand down. Unfortunately for those involved, she had four children that she needed to look at each day and prove that doing what is right isn’t always easy, but it is certainly always worth it. And that lesson, as they grow, was worth every day of the nightmare of Bridgegate.
Learning from her experience and knowing now more than ever how important good government is, she is rebuilding her life and rededicating her career in government. Bridget seeks to rid our system of corruption and hyper-partisanship. Always a public servant at heart, Bridget will never tire in her efforts to make our community a better place for future generations.
There is a big difference between Bridget Kelly the person and the Bridget Kelly that has been defined by others and the media. Bridget is looking forward to meeting you over the course of the coming months and asks that you allow yourself to get to know who she really is.
Paid for by Friends of Bridget Kelly for County Clerk. Karen Roche, Treasurer.
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