U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, visited the Middle East this week to get perspective as the House Armed Services Committee prepares to hold hearings on President Obama’s request for authorization to fight Islamic State terrorists.

“The threat of ISIS is not just one country. It’s a regional threat, and it’s also a global threat,” Stefanik said in a telephone interview, after she returned Friday from the weeklong trip to Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.

Stefanik, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, traveled with an “official” House delegation that also included Reps. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.; Seth Moulton, D-Mass.; and Brad Ashford, D-Neb.

The delegation met with King Abdullah II of Jordan, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iraqi President Fuad Masum.

“We shared our support from the United States perspective on a bipartisan basis to make sure that our partners in the Middle East can succeed in the long run,” Stefanik said. “And in many cases that’s providing air support, but it’s also providing training for soldiers so that they can fight themselves to defend Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Moulton, the Democrat from Massachusetts, said the trip reinforced the need to have “a political strategy” to defeat ISIS.

“I continue to believe that the best way to stabilize the Middle East is to provide the Iraqi government with diplomatic and political support to empower Iraqi leaders to take on this fight,” he said, in a press release.

The House Armed Services Committee is expected to begin hearings next week on President Obama’s request for authorization to use military force against ISIS, the terrorist group that has seized territory in Syria and Iraq, and is seeking to establish an Islamic state.

The president is seeking war-powers authorization that would expire after three years.

It would end the authorization Congress passed in 2002 for operations in Iraq.

Stefanik said Democrats and Republicans alike have criticized aspects of Obama’s proposal.

“I don’t support the explicit details of the AUMF because I believe it hamstrings our troops in its inability to beat this group in the long run,” she said.

Some of the debate has centered around whether the U.S. should send in ground forces.

Obama has proposed banning long-term, large-scale ground missions such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq, but would permit using ground forces “in other more limited circumstances,” according to The Associated Press.

Stefanik said the use of ground forces should not be ruled out.

“I don’t think any option should be taken off the table,” she said. “But something that I learned on the trip with these meetings with the heads of state is that in many cases what they’re looking to the U.S. for is a commitment to help train and make sure that their troops are able to take this fight in the long run.”

Stefanik said the delegation flew to the Middle East on commercial flights, and then flew around the region on military air craft.

She stayed in a civilian unit at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan.

“The highlight of the experience” was meeting with soldiers, including some based out of Fort Drum, she said.

“I was very impressed by how closely all the troops follow the discussions in Washington because it has an immediate effect on them,” she said. “It was a great opportunity to educate myself on what it’s like being over there.”

Congressional trips to the Middle East have been fairly common in the past decade.

Local Reps. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Greenport and John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, all visited Iraq or Afghanistan or both.

CANTON - Rep. Elise M. Stefanik said meetings with heads of state across the Middle East gave her new perspective on the collaborative approach needed to tackle threats from radical groups such as the Islamic State.

One fresh perspective came from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who told her and other visiting American lawmakers that the threat of radical groups wasn’t limited to his own country, but to the region and the rest of the world.

“The United States needs to lead by example, and we also need to show our allies that we are committed to their success in the long run, and we need to partner with other allies across the world,” Ms. Stefanik said in a phone call with the Times.

A weeklong trip included stops in Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan, meeting with officials such as King Abdullah II of Jordan and Iraqi President Fuad Masum.

The trip also included visits with American forces from the district, including some from Fort Drum.

Ms. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, said they were concerned about the effects of sequestration on their ability to be effective. She also said Fort Drum-area soldiers spoke highly of their family connections to the north country community.

In addition to Ms. Stefanik, the American delegation included fellow House Armed Services Committee members Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and Rep. Brad Ashford, D-Neb.

Ms. Stefanik said that the leaders of the countries she visited, which are predominantly Muslim, argued the violence of ISIS did not represent the Islamic faith, and that King Abdullah called the work of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, “theological fascism.”

She said the arguments about the group’s connection to Islam were best made by the Middle Eastern governments.

One method the Middle Eastern leaders raised for subverting radical groups, Ms. Stefanik said, was “making sure there are jobs and economic opportunity” so young people aren’t being recruited by their radical messages.

In Jordan, Ms. Stefanik said, public opinion against ISIS grew stronger following its recent execution of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh.

Ms. Stefanik noted the United States’ work in Afghanistan, where a status-of-forces agreement was secured to continue working in the country. That agreement was not in place in Iraq. She said if it had been, she didn’t think Iraq would have seen the Islamic State take swaths of land, as it did.

”I think that’s a lack of leadership from the administration,” Ms. Stefanik said.

Meanwhile, the message from American leaders in Afghanistan was optimistic coming into the spring, when fighting begins to increase. American forces formally shifted to an advisory role this year, with Afghan forces leading the fight against ISIS and the Taliban. Despite rising deaths in Afghan military and police forces, Ms. Stefanik said, leaders such as President Ghani said they were committed to the fight.

“This is going to be a long fight, and their country is at stake,” she said. “That’s what President Ghani talked about. This is a generational fight. It’s a long-term struggle against radical extremists.”

Warren County Democratic Chairwoman Lynne Boecher and Glens Falls Democratic Chairman Roy Thomas were among those who stopped to greet U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, on Saturday at an open house at the congresswoman’s Glens Falls office.

“I 100 percent wish her well. I think we have to work in concert,” said Boecher.

Former Washington County Republican Chairman Mike Bittel said he was glad that Democrats attended the open house.

“We have a big tent,” he said.

Diane Collins, co-organizer of Tri-County Transition Initiative, also attended to provide Stefanik with information about global warming.

“I left a memo,” Collins said.

Collins said she invited Stefanik to attend Climate Reality Forum, a day-long program about climate change, March 21 at SUNY Adirondack.

“I hope she’ll attend or send a representative,” Collins said.

GLENS FALLS — The Glens Falls district office of U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, was overflowing Saturday, as she greeted guests and showed off the new digs located at 136 Glen St., the space formerly occupied by Rep. Bill Owens.

“This is not my office. This is the office of the residents of the 21st district in New York State,” said Stefanik of the Glens Falls office, along with two other locations.

The casual reception is the first of three planned, with dates yet to be announced for open houses at the Watertown and Plattsburgh offices which opened last month.

State Sen. Elizabeth “Betty” Little introduced Stefanik to the packed house, commenting on Stefanik’s first month in office.

“There are so many things that our district needs,” Little said. “It needs to have representation in Washington D.C. and she’s certainly is the woman that can do it.”

Stefanik returned the compliment.

“As a young woman representing this district, I can not think of a better mentor and role model for so many young woman who are involved in public policy and improving our communities than Sen. Betty Little who cracked glass ceilings when she first ran for office,” Stefanik said.

Some in the audience were equally inspired by Stefanik.

Savannah Duffy, 14, of Hudson Falls waited patiently to talk to Stefanik.

Duffy’s father, Erik, brought Savannah based on her interest in politics and journalism.

Savannah admitted she was a little nervous and didn’t have particular questions prepared.

When Stefanik chatted with her, though, conversation flowed. Savannah will likely be doing some intern work at the office in the future.

“That’s been one of the most humbling and inspiring outcomes of the campaign,” said Stefanik after she met Savannah.

“I’ve had so many young people reach out to me, sharing the same desires to get into public policy,” she said.

Not a newcomer to the political scene, Freda Solomon, wife of the late Former New York Congressman Gerald Solomon, was in attendance, as well.

“I’m delighted with what I’ve seen,” Freda said, calling Stefanik’s passion for the community, “very genuine. She’s very capable.”

Stefanik spoke about her first 30 days, most notably her role as vice chairman on the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee

“It will give me a great platform to make sure that our defense is ready for the 21st century national security challenges and will also ensure that Fort Drum is represented in congress,” she said.

Fort Drum is the largest single site employer, not only in the district, but in the state.

She has also been named to the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

“My priority is making sure that rural schools have a seat at the table as we continue to discuss how to make sure our students are ready and prepared to enter the workforce,” she said.

Stefanik promoted her website and weekly newsletters, which will detail all her decisions and the reasoning behind her votes, she said.

“Even though you may not agree with every single vote I take, I believe in 100 percent transparency,” she said, adding she hopes other members of congress will follow her lead.