Mary Jo Kilroy


Born in Euclid, Ohio, Kilroy grew up in Cleveland. The daughter of a pipe fitter, she paid her way through college by working at hospitals, as a waitress and as a counselor. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Cleveland State University in 1977 and her J.D. from The Ohio State University in 1980. Prior to practicing law as a partner with her husband at the plaintiffs law firm of Handelman and Kilroy, Kilroy was a social worker, hospital technician and tutor. In 1988, as chairman of her local branch of the National Lawyers Guild, Kilroy signed a letter urging Columbus Mayor Dana G. Rinehart to support an order in favor of creating an equal employment opportunity chief to handle race relations issues in the Columbus Division of Police.


Mary Jo Kilroy (born April 30, 1949) is the former U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 15th congressional district, serving from 2009 until 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party from Ohio. In her first term she introduced a bill to lend $20 million per year to small businesses (HR5322) and an amendment to assign liability to credit reporting agencies. She also contributed to legislation on executive pay. She was defeated in her November 2, 2010 re-election bid. In 2012 she ran in the newly redrawn, Columbus-based 3rd congressional district but lost in the primary.


She is an attorney and a former two-term County Commissioner of Franklin County, Ohio, which includes the capital city of Columbus and some of its surrounding suburban and rural areas. Previously, she served two four-year terms on the Columbus School Board after working in private practice.

In both the 2008 and 2006 United States House of Representatives elections, Kilroy was involved in close elections for Ohio’s 15th congressional district. She lost in 2006 after an election that required the counting of absentee ballots and election recounts. However, after the incumbent retired, she won a similarly close election in 2008. In both cases, she was behind after the Election Day vote tabulations, but made up significant ground with belated absentee ballot voting results. The 2010 election race was widely followed in the mainstream press as a race that the Republicans were targeting.

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