Kelly to be Corbett's pick for attorney general
HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett today nominated Linda Kelly, a career federal prosecutor, to be state attorney general, a post Corbett held until he took the oath of office as governor Jan. 18.
If confirmed by the state Senate, Kelly would be the first woman in modern history to serve as the state's chief law enforcement officer.
Kelly, 61, of Edgewood worked for Corbett as a federal prosecutor in Pittsburgh. Corbett was U.S. attorney from 1989-1993. Kelly was his first assistant and she also worked with Corbett as an assistant district attorney in Allegheny County.
"It will be a new and challenging role," said Kelly, a Republican. "I am honored and humbled by Gov. Corbett's nomination."
"She has consistently demonstrated good judgment and commonsense," Corbett said. He said it was a "unique situation" for a governor to be able to appoint his successor as attorney general.
Corbett, a Shaler Republican, will ask the GOP-controlled Senate to confirm her. Nominees for this office require a two-thirds, rather than simple majority vote, which is used for Cabinet officers.
Kelly said if confirmed she will not seek election to the seat.
Kelly served as acting U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh from 1998 through 2001 and again in 2001. She would hold the seat through 2012.
Corbett was elected attorney general in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. He was elected governor last November.
When asked what areas of law or service she might focus on as attorney general, Kelly said that would be premature before she's had time to learn about the office and until she's confirmed.
Kellly will remain in the U.S. attorney's office until the Senate acts on her nomination.
Corbett said in the interim Kelly can be briefed about civil matters pending in the attorney general's office, but not criminal cases.