'A joyous and historic day'

Supreme Court holds investiture ceremony for Kelly Broniec

By Theo Tate, Montgomery Standard
Posted 5/5/24

The Missouri Supreme Court held an investiture ceremony for supreme court judge and Warrenton native, Kelly Broniec.

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'A joyous and historic day'

Supreme Court holds investiture ceremony for Kelly Broniec


Standing at the podium in front of a large audience during her investiture ceremony at the Division I courtroom of the Missouri Supreme Court in Jefferson City on April 15, Kelly Broniec asked a question.

“How can a small-town girl from Warrenton, Missouri end up here?” the now-Montgomery City resident asked.

The small-town girl from Warrenton is enjoying a long and successful judicial career. She worked as Montgomery County prosecuting attorney and associate circuit judge as well as a judge for the Missouri Court of Appeals in the Eastern District. Now, she’s serving her seventh month as Missouri Supreme Court judge. She was appointed to the position in September.

Broniec was honored as Supreme Court judge during the 83-minute investiture ceremony by many of her colleagues, friends and family members.

After making a 24-minute speech, Broniec sat with the Supreme Court, which included Chief Justice Mary Russell and judges W. Brent Powell, Zel Fischer, Robin Ransom, Paul Wilson and Ginger Gooch.

History was made after Broniec was appointed to the Supreme Court by Missouri Governor Mike Parson on Sept. 12. It was the first time in the history of Missouri that the Supreme Court had a majority of female judges. There are four female judges on the court.

“Gov. Parson’s appointment serves as a testament to not only appointing a talented jurist to our court, but also serves as progress in promoting gender equality in a legal position,” Russell said. “It’s truly a joyous and historic day.”

Jeff Arens, who is the owner of My Office Plus in Montgomery City, was the master of ceremonies. He first met Broniec over 25 years ago while they were members of the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery City.

“When Kelly asked me if I would act as the emcee for the event, I quickly said yes,” Arens said.

Arens introduced four speakers at the ceremony. They were Michael Wright and James Dowd of the Missouri Court of Appeals in the Eastern District, Senior Judge Roy Richter and Evan Rodriguez, the general counsel to Gov. Parson.

Rodriguez said Broniec was picked as Supreme Court judge seven months ago because of her work ethic, connections to rural Missouri and personality.

“She’s much more than legal things,” Rodriguez said. “She’s kind, patient, caring and intelligent. She takes my calls on weekends and helps me with any random thing I need. You should see that she gives back. If you look at her application, there are pages and pages of community involvement. I don’t know how she finds the time, but she does.”

Richter swore in Broniec as Supreme Court judge at the investiture ceremony. Four years ago, Broniec took over Richter’s place as the judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals.

“The more you’re around her, I know you’re going to love her even more,” Richter said. “I applaud the selection by the governor.”

Broniec said Wright and Richter were her biggest mentors during her judicial career.

“How did these two men who are always quick with the joke and are outstanding golfers become my mentors?” Broniec said. “I’m not particularly funny and I’m very good at golf. God works in mysterious ways.”

Wright said he first knew Broniec in 1991, when she worked as an intern at his office.

“She was an intern while she was in college,” Wright said. “She was an intern while she was in law school. She passes the bar and she becomes an assistant prosecutor and has a part-time practice there. While she was in law school, she worked under Supreme Court Rule 13. So she was able to go to court. She handled dockets, criminal hearings, bench trials and even tried a jury trial all while she was in law school. Of course, she was successful.”

Broniec has lived in Montgomery City for 25 years. In 1999, she was hired as Montgomery County’s prosecuting attorney. Seven years later, she started a 14-year run as the county’s associate circuit judge.

“I cherish my great friends,” Broniec said. “They are my life there. My dear friends from Montgomery County have become my family to me as well as my church family at Grace Lutheran Church.”

Broniec said her grandparents played a huge impact in her life. She and her sister, Kim, were raised by them at Warrenton.

“My grandmother would tell Kim and I that you can be anything you want to be. You just have to get an education first,” Broniec said. “And she was right.”

Kelly Broniec, Missouri Supreme Court