"I've been humbled by the support of the people of Polk County and the 16th District," Kelley said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to work for the citizens at the State Capitol."
Kelley beat incumbent Rick Crawford for the seat by a 2-1 margin.
Kelley took 68.08 percent of the vote (10,657) to Crawford's 31.92 percent (4,997) district wide, which includes Polk, Bartow and Haralson Counties.
Crawford, a lifelong Democrat, announced just weeks prior to the election that he will become a Republican because he could no longer agree with the Democrats stance on social issues like abortion and gay marriage.
Crawford concedes that announcement probably cost him the election, but he said he wouldn't have done anything differently.
"I've always tried to do my best, be honest and do things the way they should to be handled," Crawford said.
He said waiting until after the election to make such an announcement wouldn't have been honest or appropriate.
"I think we'll move forward from here," Crawford said.
Crawford isn't ruling out future politics but, for now, he said he will concentrate on getting students in his political science class at Shorter University through this semester.
Kelley said he appreciated the way Crawford ran his campaign.
"I also want to thank State Rep. Crawford for running a such a clean campaign and representing the citizens throughout the years as well," Kelley said.
Kelley is busying himself getting ready for freshman orientation this week. He said he isn't nervous because he already has good relationships with some in the legislature and with the governor's office.
He has his goals in mind, also
"Since day one of our campaign, we've focused on what we could do to bring jobs back to the 16th District," Kelley said.
Kelley said the root of that is to reduce taxes and regulations, but he said he wants to get leaders together to create a plan.
"I want to get involved with the governor's office and elected officials to find out what we can do to make the 16th district a place to do business," he said.