Full Name: Robert Kelly
Occupation: Former School Superintendent and United States Senator, President of the United States
Mutant Abilities: None
History: Robert Kelly is a standard American success story that is both popular and well-documented. His rise from humble roots to President of the United States are a testament to the American of hard work, perseverance, and opportunity. However, his connection to the human/mutant conflict is also well-documented and are an integral part of his rise to power.
The oldest of two sons to a couple of middle-class parents in Albany, New York, Robert Kelly grew up around comfortable surroundings. His mother worked as a teacher and his father was a respected lawyer. Both came from lower-class backgrounds and had to work hard to become successful. As a result, his parents instilled in Robert from a young age the value of work and responsibility. He was taught to earn everything he gained. He had to work for everything from toys to treats. Little was given to him outright and it helped instill in him a tireless work ethic that helped him flourish at a young age.
Because of his work ethic, Robert excelled at school and at any part-time job he gained. He was routinely at the top of his class and earned various academic recognitions. However, much of these achievements were lost at a time when his local school system was in a state of decline. He had the misfortune of going to high school in one of the worst performing school in the country. At times, he attempted to get transferred to a private school. However, he was unable to succeed.
This frustrated him a great deal because it was the first time in his life where hard work hadn’t gotten him what he wanted. It also frustrated him to see many of his peers give up and fall in with the wrong crowd. Around his junior and senior year, his area became consumed by a terrible gang problem that led to sharp rises in crime. Robert and much of his community found out that most of these gangs were led by mutants. It was his first exposure to mutants and left a significant impression. It didn’t just create a negative opinion of mutants. It forced Robert to become very controlling and very demanding of his surroundings. It earned him a reputation as being a control freak of sorts and someone who had little tolerance for those who made trouble.
Because of the many issues surrounding his school, Robert Kelly only managed to attain a limited scholarship to Cornell University when he graduated. His parents also offered to support him, but Robert refused. He was determined to make up for his poor high school experience by paying his own way through college. It was a significant struggle. He worked multiple jobs and took numerous advanced courses in both business management and political science. He also became more involved in politics at this time. His charisma and work ethic helped him get elected to the student government, which also set the stage for his post-college career.
When Robert Kelly graduated Cornell with Suma Cum Laude honors, he had numerous opportunities for a career in politics. He ended up choosing a less-glamorous and less-lucrative job as a school administrator back in his hometown of Albany. The schools in his district were still deteriorating and the problems with gangs were worse than when he left. As numerous officials failed to address the problem or acknowledge the mutant aspect of the issue, Robert used this as an opportunity to work his way up. He eventually became the school superintendent.
This was his first taste of political power and he wielded it more effectively than anyone could have predicted. In under four years, he was able to stem the tide of gang violence and poor academics in his district. He ended up firing a large number of tenured officials and overpowered the local unions to do what he needed to do. At times he became a target of the gangs, but he managed to work with the mayor and governor to crack down on them in ways that made him a local celebrity of sorts. Because of this celebrity, Robert Kelly gained a great deal of political capital.
A good deal of this capital came as a result of his willingness to confront the mutant issue. The most well-known example came from a 17-year-old mutant girl whose powers caused her to emit noxious gases that injured a number of students and a teacher. This came at a time when mutant incidents were on the rise and Robert Kelly saw it as an extension of the gang problem. Whereas in the past when mutant outbursts were treated as random accidents, Robert Kelly held the girl directly responsible and brought her up on charges. It made him a target amongst parents and the ACLU, but he succeeded in prosecuting the girl. It was the first time a mutant had been prosecuted for the accidental emergence of their powers and it earned Robert Kelly his reputation as an anti-mutant crusading.
Because of this reputation, Robert was able to ascend the political ranks in New York. He later became elected governor by one of the widest margins in state history. He would later oust an established incumbent for the United States Senate. Along the way, he met his wife, Sharon, and had two children. At each turn, he made mutants his primary issue. Because of this, he didn’t get much done early on. But the emergence of the X-men and mutant-related terrorism from the likes of Magneto eventually earned him more prominence.
While some of his prominence was hindered by his support of war criminals like Cameron Hodge, he maintained his status as a mutant crusader. After the events of the asteroid incident with Magneto, he capitalized on the growing mutant hysteria to run for President of the United States. It was a long, arduous campaign where he routinely clashed with Charles Xavier and the likes of Lilandra Neramani. It culminated in his family being abducted by Magneto and the Brotherhood on the eve of the election. Magneto intended to turn him and his family into mutants. While the X-men were able to thwart him, they couldn’t prevent Magneto from turning Robert Kelly’s son into a mutant.
In the end Robert Kelly became President of the United States. However, his son’s mutant status left him shaken and uncertain in his resolve. It remains to be seen whether this will affect his policy and his decision-making regarding mutants.
Character Breakdown: Robert Kelly has a very controlling personality in that he seeks order in his surroundings. While he may place his trust in certain individuals, he does not place his trust in large groups. He routinely lumps all those who would threaten order as the proverbial “other” and attributes to them traits that are not consistent with individual humans. Part of this attribution is a result of his various professions in life. He has routinely embraced roles that give him dominion over groups of people, whether it involves being principal of a school or President of the United States. But the other part to this persona involves something that goes beyond power struggles.
For most of his life, Robert Kelly has been very detail oriented about his life, his work, and his beliefs. He scrutinizes his world in a way that indicates a very calculating and focused persona. This contributed to him taking on the mutant issue with such passion. His detail-oriented personality led him to see mutants as threats before they were a public issue. So unlike other politicians or public officials that may only latch onto an issue to mobilize support, Robert Kelly has actually made the mutant affair a personal issue. It isn’t just the issue that he chooses to take on. Mutants to him are a threat to the order and certainty that on which he places such a high value.
It is because he made the mutant issue so personal that he is often exceedingly judgmental about mutants. While he does lump them together as a collective threat, Robert Kelly is still capable of forging close relationships amongst a trusted inner circle. He is not paranoid in that sense, nor is he entirely malicious in his judgment of mutants. On many levels he genuinely believes he is protecting his family, which he clearly loves a great deal, and his supporters from a significant threat. This helps make him very motivated and very dedicated to his cause, almost to the point of obsession.
It is not clear how far he is willing to take this personal crusade against mutants. His ascendency to President of the United States and his son becoming a mutant has the potential to create conflicts in his carefully controlled world. Now one of the closest relationships he values in his son has become affected by the mutant issue. It is no longer possible for him to lump every mutant into the same carefully controlled category. However, his dedication to the issue would make it difficult for him to go back on his assumptions. So it is likely that Robert Kelly will remain conflicted in balancing his desire for a more orderly world with the personal relationships that he seeks to protect.