Rest In Peace, Kelley Johnson

Jul 2, 2022 | In Memoriam

In solidarity,
Mike Hersh and Mike Fox for the PDA National Team

Our hearts are broken at the recent passing of long-time PDA activist Kelley Johnson, of Massachusetts. When we think of Kelley, we remember his dedication to PDA. He was always there; at Winslow meetings, in DC, and all points between.

Kelley was especially active in our Educate Congress efforts.

Lobbying with Kelley was always rewarding. He was extremely effective and compelling when making the case for progress. He helped out at Progressive Central events, at our round table series on Capitol Hill, and played a very active roll in PDA Massachusetts.

Kelley was the consummate team player. He never called attention to himself. He just found out what needed doing and did it. But along the way he single handedly helped connect us with members of Congress, who deeply respected him.

Kelley worked closely with Rep. Jim McGovern’s office over the years, and one of the high points was when helped to get Be A Hero spokesperson Ady Barkan to testify at the historic Rules Committee Medicare For All hearing.

People may assume things like that just happen, but historic achievements happen because of years of building relationships and trust, hard work, focus, knowledge, and determination. That was Kelly.

Kelley was also an intellectual leader, arguing about how to restore the soul of the Democratic Party. He often provided good advice that would improve our strategy and tactics.

PDA is better because of the smart, honest, principled leadership he provided, and we all will miss him dearly.

For more on Kelley’s life, see this obituary.  

Here are some photos gathered over the years

Please leave a comment below honoring Kelley’s service to the movement, and to us all.


  1. Susan Seigel

    Kelley was an inspiration for me to keep going and supporting progressive democratic policies. I worked closely with Kelley on communications with Rep. Jim McGovern’s office and learned much from him. I will sorely miss him, and will continue his work.

  2. Donna Smith

    Kelley was always so incredibly kind, smart and dedicated to making our nation and world more just. When we met many years ago, I knew he was a person to be trusted to fight for every person to have healthcare — he stood with me more than a few times in the struggle for Medicare for all. It was an honor to have his friendship and kindness in my life. I will miss his compassion and his sense of humor. His easy smile was infectious. Rest In Peace, dear friend. I will miss you. We will miss you. Peace and power always.

  3. Dan O'Neal

    Presente Kelley !!! RIP my friend. Kelley, you were PDA all the way, strong, committed, and always the person who showed up. Brother, we are really going to miss you.

  4. Beverly A Nelmes

    Thanks for your wonderful service to PDA and to your country.

  5. Erika Jahneke

    I didn’t really get to know Kelley well…maybe I could have taken a lesson from his not asking for permission and not waited for an invitation.
    But I know that he did a lot for our movement, and, if he’s reading this, we’re leaving it in good hands

  6. Angela Clark

    May God keep you under his wings, and you continue to do good even in Heaven. Enjoy your Wings!!

  7. Ryan Duncanwood


  8. Gonzalo Lopez

    Rest in Peace Kelley. We will continue your work .

  9. Stephen Spitz

    Kelley was a great guy. He regularly came down to Washington DC to lobby and attend the PDA initiated Progressive Roundtable for many years. He was a dedicated and passionate progressive.