Mary Jo Kilroy

From KeyWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mary Jo Kilroy


Mary Jo Kilroy is an attorney and socialist affiliated Democratic former member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 15th district of Ohio. Kilroy served eight years on the Columbus Board of Education and the last six years as a Franklin County Commissioner. She is married to labor union lawyer Robert Handelman.

Early Life

The daughter of a pipe-fitter and World War II veteran, Mary Jo attended Cleveland State University for her Bachelors Degree, and then The Ohio State University for her JD. Mary Jo married Robert Handelman and settled in Columbus, Ohio with their two daughters, Julia and Rosa. She spent a number of years working in the private sector as a partner at the Handelman and Kilroy Law Firm, until she left to run for County Commissioner.[1]

National Lawyers Guild

In 1998 Mary Jo Kilroy, was chairman of the Columbus Ohio branch of the extreme left National Lawyers Guild[2].

Her husband, labor union lawyer Robert Handelman, is still a member of the National Lawyers Guild.

The Free Press

Mary Jo Kilroy interviewed by Noel Burch

In the 1990s Mary Jo Kilroy was a journalist and editor of the Columbus Ohio based radical journal The Free Press[3];

Editor Mary Jo Kilroy had the keenest sense of a good news story. While she was editor, the Free Press won the Jack T. McKowan award from the OSU school of journalism for a string of news breaking stories that appeared in the Free Press. These included publishing the police report that documented Buck Reinhardt’s molestation of his babysitter; the expose’ on the true, but undisclosed, drop-out rates in Columbus schools; and the lawn poisoning practices of the Chemlawn Corporation.

Mary Jo Kilroy was also a financial supporter of The Free Press. Advertisers who supported the paper through hard times included attorneys Jim McNamara, Gordon Hobson, John Marshall, Robert Handelman and Mary Jo Kilroy plus State Rep. Mike Stinziano[4].

During Kilroy's time with The Free Press, many of the paper's staff and volunteers were (and still are) members of the Democratic Socialists of America. the video at right shows an interview by French/US radical Noel Burch with The Free Press staffers Mary Jo Kilroy and DSA leader Robert Fitrakis sometime in the 1990s. The video reveals that The Free Press shares an office with the American Indian Movement and Democratic Socialists of America.

Kilroy makes it clear that she is promoting leftist views and is working for "real change".

When Fitrakis began co-publishing and editing The Free Press in 1992, his co-publisher was Mary Jo Kilroy[5].

Fitrakis has claimed that Kilroy was too moderate[6];

In fact, Kilroy was too cautious for his liking, which reportedly led to their falling out and her departure from the paper in 1995, when she was serving on the Columbus Board of Education.

Socialist support in School Board campaign

Democratic Socialists of America leader Robert Fitrakis was media consultant, Mary Jo Kilroy for School Board Campaign, Columbus (1991)[7].

Democratic Socialists of America member

Dem-left nov-dec92 page 9 - Ohio.jpg

In 1991, Mary Jo Kilroy was elected to the Columbus Ohio School Board. At the time she was a member of Democratic Socialists of America.[8]

Attended high level DSA meeting

Demleft jul-aug92 albert rojas - zoom.jpg

Mary Jo Kilroy was also named as a Democratic Socialists of America member in Democratic Left, July/August 1992, page 11, as part of a report on a D.S.A. National board meeting in Washington D.C.

The text indicates that Kilroy actually attended this high level D.S.A. meeting, which involved discussions on electoral organizing, strategies and tactics. Other attendees included Bob Fitrakis, a "DSAer" and Democratic Party Congressional candidate in Ohio, Paul Pinsky, a representative of the New Party and Howard Croft from the D.S.A. National Political Committee.

Center for Democratic Values conference

The Center for Democratic Values, the think-tank project of Democratic Socialists of America, held its first national conference, "Arguing with the Right," November 6-7 1997 at the Clarion Hotel Columbus Ohio, in conjunction with the DSA national convention[9].

The conference will include historical and analytical sessions, plus skills workshops for contesting the Right's current dominance of American political discussion.

1:30 Issue Workshops: The Right's Key Ideas and the Left's Responses

A. Affirmative Action: Barbara Bergmann and James Upton (Ohio State University)

B. Arguing for Public Schools: Mary Jean Collins and Mary Jo Kilroy (Columbus Board of Education)[10].

Working with Jobs with Justice

On Friday, May 16, 2003, Columbus Jobs with Justice participated in one of Columbus' first workers' rights delegations. A group of local labor, religious and community members (including County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy, representatives from JwJ, the Central Labor Council, the Catholic Diocese, and a number of labor organizations) visited the corporate offices of the Kroger Corporation to ask for a visit with the president and to present a large signed poster demonstrating community support for truck drivers of Teamsters Local 413, who are in danger of losing their jobs. Kroger, a union shop where cashiers and others are represented by the UFCW, is considering giving the trucking contract to a non-unionized, low-paid owner-operator trucking firm in Texas[11].

Praising CAIR

“The Franklin County Board of Commissioners extend on behalf of all the people of Franklin County sincere thanks to CAIR – Ohio for their efforts to advocate for freedom, democracy, and human rights for all Americans.” - Mary Jo Kilroy, Paula Brooks, and Dewey Stokes, Board of County Commissioners, Franklin County, Ohio (2006). [12]

DSA support 2006

Ohio Democratic Socialists of America members campaigned for Sherrod Brown in his successful 2006 Senate race and in Mary Jo Kilroy's unsuccessful Congressional contest[13].

Former Representative, now Senator Sherrod Brown is the most visible symbol of this change...A longtime critic of “free trade” agreements, frequently characterized as far left and out ofthe mainstream, Brown handily defeated the relatively moderate but free-trade proponent Mike DeWine.
Trade was also an issue in the narrow loss of Mary Jo Kilroy to Deborah Pryce. Local DSAers worked in both the Brown and Kilroy campaigns.

Ohio DSA member Simone Morgen discussed Mary Jo Kilroy's House race in Ohio at a Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee September 16-17, 2006[14].

Frank summarized DSA PAC work around Sanders. Nine house parties raised just over $30,000, and there will be five more. Nearly a thousand people have contributed either to DSA PAC or to Sanders. David Green told about Nancy Skinner’s house race in Michigan and Simone Morgen told about Mary Jo Kilroy’s house race in Ohio. DSA members in both places are interested and involved.

Mary Jo Kilroy of Columbus will be the first Democrat to represent any part of Franklin County in Congress since 1982, and the first to represent her 15th Congressional District since the 1960s.

Voter fraud allegations

Democratic Socialists of America leader and long time The Free Press Kilroy colleague Robert Fitrakis has alleged that Mary Jo Kilroy was robbed of victory in the 2006 election[15];

In 2006, Kilroy barely lost to incumbent Deb Pryce as thousands of contested provisional ballots went uncounted. Under then-Secretary Blackwell, voters in Democratic precincts were routinely challenged on minor details and forced to cast provisional ballots to allegedly be counted at a later time.
But thousands were merely pitched in the trash or otherwise negated. Some 16,000 provisionals and 93,000 machine-rejected ballots have never been counted from a 2004 election decided by an official margin of less than 119,000 votes. Independent observers believe a fair vote count would have given Kilroy her House seat in 2006. Also in that election, e-voting machines had statistically unlikely high rates of undervotes in central city polls.

DSA support 2008

In 2008 Ohio Democratic Socialists of America campaigned for Mary Jo Kilroy[16].

In Columbus, Ohio, DSA members campaigned for both Obama and congressional candidate Mary Jo Kilroy, who, after a suspenseful count of provisional ballots was declared the winner in December, raising the Democrats’ majority in the House to 257.

J Sreet endorsement

In 2008 Burner was one of several unsuccessful newcomers endorsed by JStreet PAC. She received $47, 132.[17]

Health Care Reform Celebration Rally

Rally with Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy! Posted by Zachary Branstool on March 24, 2010.

It’s time to celebrate the historic passage of health care reform!

Join us this Thursday, April 1, for a rally with two of our greatest champions of health care reform: Senator Sherrod Brown and Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy!

  • WHAT: Health Care Reform Celebration Rally.
  • WHEN: Thursday, April 1 at 7 PM.
  • WHERE: Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 189 – 1250 Kinnear Rd, Columbus, OH 43212

SPONSORS: Progress Ohio, Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, UHCAN Ohio, Ohio AFL-CIO, SEIU 1199, UA Local 50 Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics Toledo OH, Toledo Area Jobs with Justice Coalition, Organizing For America, The Ohio Faith and Democracy Collaborative, The Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, the Northeast Alliance for Hope.[18]


Planned Parenthood

Kilroy received $5000 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.

EMILY's List

Kilroy has been and is an EMILY's List-supported candidate.

Homeland Security

Mary Jo Kilroy serves on the Homealand Security Committee.

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Mary Jo Kilroy in her successful 2008 House of Representatives run as candidate for Ohio.[19] She has also been previously supported by the Council.[20]

The Council also supported Kilroy in her 2010 Congressional election campaign.[21]

Calling on Israeli Govt. to lift Gaza Travel Ban

On Dec. 22, 2009, thirty-three U.S. Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling on her to request that the Israeli Government end the ban on student travel from Gaza to the West Bank. Mary Jo Kilroy was one of the signatories of the letter.[22] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade

On Jan. 27, 2010, U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott led 52 other members of Congress in signing a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, calling for him to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. Mary Jo Kilroy was one of the signatories of the letter. [23] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Kilroy on Obama

091026 mary jo kilroy ap 392 regular.jpg

Mideast Congressional Mission

In February 2010, the first JStreet-sponsored congressional mission toured Israel, Jordan and Palestinian-controlled areas. Five members of Congress participated in the tour; Lois Capps, Bill Delahunt, Bob Filner, Mary Jo Kilroy, and Donald Payne.

It was stated that the mission "will meet with Israeli government and opposition leaders as well as key regional leaders, including Jordanian King Abdullah II and Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The delegation will travel widely in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan taking a close look at the situation on the ground through the eyes of policy makers and civil society leaders."[24]

JStreet is a Jewish organization that, according to its website, "was founded to change the dynamics of American politics and policy on Israel and the Middle East".[25]

21st Century Democrats support

21st Century Democrats is a Political Action Committee that has stood for Progressive causes for over 20 years. Founded in 1986 by Institute for Policy Studies affiliate, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, Democratic Socialists of America affiliates, former Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and former Illinois Congressman Lane Evans. Its three main goals are to help elect progressive candidates, train young people about grassroots organizing, and lastly, to continue to support our elected officials after Election Day "through our comprehensive progressive network".

Long time Board chair was Democratic Socialists of America member Jim Scheibel, a former Mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The mission of 21st Century Democrats is to build a "farm team" of progressive populists who will be the future leaders of the Democratic Party.

In each election cycle, we endorse a diverse array of candidates who exemplify our values and show unusual promise to advance our progressive goals. We invest in some of the most competitive races as well as in some of the most challenging – those in which the candidates are outstanding but the traditional Democratic supporters are most reticent. We back candidates in primaries as well as general election races, and we focus the bulk of our resources on electing challengers and protecting vulnerable incumbents.[26]

Kilroy was one of 17 key progressives endorsed by 21st Century Democrats in the 2010 election cycle. [27]

Kilroy was also supported in 2008.

ARA lobbying

While Congress was home for recess July 2010, Alliance for Retired Americans members across the country met this week with members of Congress and staff including: Reps. Brad Miller in North Carolina; Sen. Claire McCaskill and Reps. Russ Carnahan, Emanuel Cleaver, and William Lacy Clay in Missouri; Reps. John Boccieri, Mary Jo Kilroy and Steve Driehaus in Ohio; Rep. Patrick J. Murphy in Pennsylvania; Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Harry Mitchell in Arizona; Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Martin Heinrich in New Mexico; and Reps. John Spratt, Jr. and Jim Clyburn in South Carolina.[28]

2012 run

In 2012, Mary Jo Kilroy ran for Congress in Ohio's 3rd district.

Endorsements / Supporters included;[29]


The following have worked as staff members for Mary Jo Kilroy:[30]

External links



  1. Kilroy for Congress website: About Mary Jo
  2. Columbus Dispatch, The (OH) - Friday, March 11, 1988
  8. Democratic Left, November/December 1992, page 9
  12. [ What They Say About CAIR (October 2014)
  17. J Street 2008 Annual Report
  18. [1]
  19. CLW website: Meet Our Candidates
  20. CLW website: Who We've Helped Elect
  21. CLW website. Meet the Candidates, accessed Dec. 31, 2010
  22. John Dingell's House website: Letter to Hillary Clinton, Dec. 22, 2009
  23. The Minnesota Independent: Ellison, McCollum and Oberstar urge Obama to lift Gaza blockade, Jan. 26, 2010 (accessed on March 14, 2011)
  24. JTA website: J Street sends first Mideast congressional mission, Feb. 15, 2010
  25. KeyWiki: JStreet
  26. 21st Century Democrats website, About us]
  27. 21st Century Democrats 2012 bio
  28. ARA,Alliance Retirees Meet with Members of Congress, Sebelius
  29. kilroy campaign website, accessed May 21, 2012,
  30. Legistorm: Mary Jo Kilroy (accessed on Aug. 24, 2010)