Weekly Featured Profile – 08/25/10

By: Trevor Loudon

Mary Jo Kilroy is an attorney and Socialist-affiliated Democratic U.S. Representative for the 15th district of Ohio. She is married to labor union lawyer Robert Handelman. In 1998 Mary Jo Kilroy, was chairman of the Columbus Ohio branch of the openly Socialist and Communist-affiliated National Lawyers Guild – her husband is still a member of the guild.

In the 1990s, Mary Jo Kilroy was a journalist and editor of the Columbus Ohio based radical journal, The Free Press – a Democratic Socialists of America-linked publication for which Kilroy later became co-publisher alongside DSAer, Robert Fitrakis. In 1991, Kilroy was a member of the DSA. An article in a 1992 Democratic Left article indicated that Kilroy had attended a high-level DSA meeting which involved discussions on electoral organizing, strategies and tactics. In 1997 she spoke alongside Cornel West, Barbara Ehrenreich and Christine Riddiough at “Arguing with the Right,” the innagural National conference of DSA think-tank, Center for Democratic Values.

In 2003, then County Commissioner Kilroy participated in union activism with Jobs with Justice, the Central Labor Council, the Catholic Diocese and a number of labor organizations. The DSA supported Kilroy in her unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2006. In 2008, together with Council for a Livable World, they supported Kilroy in her successful campaign to become Representative for Ohio.

Kilroy is a pro-abortion advocate who is endorsed by EMILY’s List and received $5,000 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008. In 2010 she joined with Congressional Progressive Caucus members Bob Filner and Donald Payne in a JStreet-sponsored congressional “mission” to Israel, Jordan and Palestine.

While she is clearly an ardent and active Socialist, Kilroy attempts to maintain a moderate image. As Robert Fitrakis has said of her, “[She] was too cautious for my liking.” (more…)

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