ENG: Mary Bono Mack (born October 24, 1961) is a former U.S. Representative for California's 45th congressional district, and previously the 44th, serving from 1998 to 2013. She is a member of the Republican Party and is married to Connie Mack IV, who served as a Republican representative from Florida at the same time she served as a representative from California.
Mary Bono Mack's district was based in Palm Springs and included most of central and eastern Riverside County. She sat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and was Chairwoman for the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.
Mack and her husband both lost their respective political campaigns in the 2012 United States elections. Mary was defeated in her bid for reelection by Dr. Raul Ruiz while Connie lost his attempt to unseat Bill Nelson in the Florida Senate election.
Having been the sole female Republican in California's congressional delegation, as of January 3, 2013, there are no longer any Republican women in the delegation.
Early life and career
Mack was born Mary Whitaker in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Karen Lee (née Taylor), a chemist, and Dr. Clay Westerfield Whitaker, a physician and World War II veteran. In 1963, in her second year, she moved with her parents to South Pasadena, California.
She graduated from the University of Southern California in 1984 with a bachelor of arts in art history. She was an accomplished gymnast in her youth.
In 1986, she married actor/singer Sonny Bono and moved to Palm Springs where the two operated a restaurant they owned. Sonny Bono served as Mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992 before being elected to Congress in 1994.
Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident on January 5, 1998.
Subsequently, she won the Republican nomination for the special election to succeed him. She then won in the special election held on April 7, 1998. She won a full term later that same year, in November 1998. She was re-elected continuously until the Democratic candidate, Dr. Raul Ruiz, a physician, defeated her in the 2012 general election.
She followed the Republican Party line 89% of the time, according to Congressional Quarterly.
In 2004, she received an 84% approval rating from the Christian Coalition of America, but this fell to 33% in 2008. In 1999, she voted in favor of the Largent Amendment, to ban adoption by same-sex couples in Washington, D.C. Mack has, however, voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment twice. In 1998, Mack was added to the House Judiciary Committee by the Republican leadership in anticipation of the consideration of impeachment proceedings against then President Bill Clinton, thus becoming the only Republican woman on the committee. Bono Mack proceeded to vote along party lines on all four motions for impeachment, which were decided 21 to 16. During the full House floor consideration of the four impeachment motions, Mack voted for impeachment on all four articles while some moderate Republican House members voted against Articles II, III, and IV.
Some of the congresswoman's legislative history includes a bill that calls for country-of-origin labeling for fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as several energy-saving bills to reward companies for utilizing clean burning fuel technologies and increase the energy-efficiency of federal buildings. In 2000, Bono Mack helped pass legislation that established the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument in the Palm Springs region. The House of Representatives passed her Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass (SPY ACT), which would protect an individual's personal information on the Web. Also, Bono Mack has sponsored legislation that provides funding for obesity studies and improved nutrition programs nationwide, autism research, and Federal funding under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Act.
Mack was a leading proponent of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, the so-called Mickey Mouse Law, which extended the terms of copyright. Giving a speech on the floor of Congress in favor of the bill, Bono Mack said:
Actually, Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution.... As you know, there is also [Motion Picture Association of America president] Jack Valenti's proposal for the term to last forever less one day. Perhaps the Committee may look at that next Congress.
She won her sixth term in 2008 with 58% of the vote, down slightly from 60.7% in 2006.
In December 2010, she was one of fifteen Republican House members to vote in favor of repealing the United States military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on openly homosexual service members.
She has received numerous awards from such organizations as Americans for Tax Reform, National Federation of Independent Businesses, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the SunLine Transit Agency for her support of alternative fuel technologies. She signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
In 2011, she voted for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 as part of a provision allowing the government and/or the military to indefinitely detain American citizens and others without trial.
She has been the subject of numerous profiles for a wide array of publications and television shows, including People, Capital Style, Elle, Entertainment Tonight, Esquire, George, Good Housekeeping, Hello!, Ladies' Home Journal, and PBS. Bono Mack's national profile increased significantly in 1998 when she sat on the House Judiciary panel to consider impeachment articles against Bill Clinton.
She was named one of the "Most Fascinating Women of 1998" by Ladies' Home Journal magazine in conjunction with CBS Television. She was also selected by the former George magazine as one of the 20 most fascinating women in politics. In 2008, she was named the "Seventh Hottest Politician in the World" by Maxim.
In 2001, she married Wyoming businessman Glenn Baxley about 18 months after they met in Mexico. They filed for divorce in 2005. On December 15, 2007, Mack married Congressman Connie Mack IV (R-FL) in Asheville, North Carolina.
Mary Bono Mack has a son, Chesare Elan Bono (born 1988), and a daughter, Chianna Maria Bono (born 1991), from her marriage to Sonny Bono. She has four stepchildren: Christy Bono, Chaz Bono, Addison Mack, and Connie Mack V. In addition to her family, Bono Mack has interests in music and outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. In the April 2008 edition of Golf for Women magazine, she was listed as "one of the 50 most powerful women who play" golf.
After attending a lecture by mountaineer-turned-humanitarian Greg Mortenson, Bono Mack worked with him to open doors in Washington, D.C., to aid his efforts to build schools for girls in the mountainous regions of Pakistan. Bono Mack is quoted in Mortenson's book Three Cups of Tea as saying "I've learned more from Greg Mortenson about the causes of terrorism than during all our briefings on Capitol Hill."
Fabruary 5, 2013