Senate Minority Chief of Staff Diane Kelly passes away

Senate Minority Chief of Staff Diane Kelly passed away at her home in Boise on Nov. 12 after a battle with cancer. She was 54.

Senate Sergeant at Arms Sarah Jane McDonald remembered Kelly as personable and kind. She recalled how nice Kelly was to the Senate pages.

“She just was always watching out for them,” McDonald said.

Secretary of the Senate Jennifer Novak said she considered Kelly a close friend. Novak’s door opens to the Senate hallway, and she looked forward to seeing Kelly walk by every day, she said Friday.

“She was just a genuine, quality person,” Novak said, recalling her generosity. In January 2015, Kelly had two extra tickets to see President Barack Obama during his visit to Boise State University. “Because I’m really good at being non-partisan, she gave me one,” Novak said.

“Diane was a dedicated public servant. Her historical knowledge was so valuable, especially for new members,” said Senate Minority Caucus Chair Maryanne Jordan. “She is sorely missed.”

For journalists, Diane was a lifesaver when it came to scheduling interviews with Democratic senators. Any time I dropped by her office, she’d invite me to chat. The chair in front of her desk was a welcome refuge in the middle of chaotic (and sometimes hostile) legislative days.

Kelly is survived by her husband, Roberto Ceniceros. Donations can be made to the Idaho Foodbank in Kelly’s honor.

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