Jill Kelly is a lifelong resident who now lives in Sturges Ridge. Kelly enjoyed a 26-year career in both local politics and real estate. She has been engaged in the community in many roles, including being a member of the Representative Town Meeting and the Zoning Board of Appeals, and she also served on the Board of Selectmen from 1993 to 1997 as then-First Selectman Paul Audley’s running mate.
You had a long career in politics. How did you get first involved?
I first became involved with politics in the mid 1970s as a spokesperson representing neighborhood organizations at zoning hearings.
What was your favorite position and why?
Actually, I enjoyed all of the positions that I held, but I would say that serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals was my favorite position because I felt the decisions made by the commission had the most lasting impact on the town.
Where do you feel you had the greatest impact?
I personally had the most impact at a time in the 1980s when several local executives were landing helicopters on their properties as an alternative means of commuting to New York City. I steered an ordinance through the RTM that prohibits helicopters from landing in Fairfield except for emergency and governmental purposes.
What do you love about Fairfield?
I love the diversity. The broad demographic balance of Fairfield offers something for everyone, which is hard to find in other Fairfield County communities.
How has it changed over the years?
Fairfield has experienced tremendous growth since the 1970s, which is somewhat unsettling. But we have also witnessed the growth of both Fairfield and Sacred Heart Universities, which I think have been a tremendous asset to the residents.
How do you like living at Sturges Ridge?
Moving to Sturges Ridge was an easy decision for me. It’s a brand new, beautifully appointed building with caring staff that offers a sense of security as well as a wonderful community of people. I enjoy the activities yet I can still participate in many town activities. It’s the best of both worlds.
What do you do for fun and relaxation?
I’m an avid bridge player and a painter of primitive scenes somewhat in the style of Grandma Moses.
Tell us a little bit more about your kids and grandkids.
I’m fortunate enough to have four children nearby, as well as eight grandchildren and as of this year, two great grandchildren that I keep in touch with by way of Facetime.
You also worked in real estate. What drew you to that profession?
As my children grew older I pursued a career in real estate and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am associated with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Real Estate in Southport.
What’s the last book or movie you loved?
Currently my three favorite books are A Gentleman From Moscow, Where the Crawdads Sing, and A Woman of No Importance.