MARY JO KILROY was elected to Congress at the height of the financial crisis, in November 2008, to represent Columbus, Ohio, and the surrounding area. She landed a seat on the Financial Services Committee, where she had a chance to address the foreclosure crisis ripping through her state, as well as to push for tougher regulation of Wall Street.
As she learned to navigate Washington during her first term, one of the more unexpected pressures she faced was about a foreign trip. It wasn’t just any congressional sojourn, but rather a trip to Israel organized by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and sponsored by the nonprofit arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. “I would say that I was ‘strongly encouraged’ to take the Steny Hoyer AIPAC trip. ‘Everyone’ is going except you,” recalled Kilroy, who resisted the pressure, telling AIPAC that she didn’t want to go on a one-sided tour of the region.