Now in her eighth term, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack was first elected in 1998 to serve the people of California’s 45th District through a special election held to fill the seat left vacant by her late husband, the Honorable Sonny Bono, who died in a tragic skiing accident.
Since then, Bono Mack has established herself as a leader on critically important issues such as online privacy, data security, intellectual property protection, telecommunications, regulatory reform, consumer protection, domestic energy production, environmental protection and the fight against prescription drug abuse, which impacts millions of teenagers nationwide and is now the fastest-growing drug problem in America. Bono Mack also has been an outspoken proponent of dramatically reducing our nation’s debt by cutting excessive and wasteful government spending, and she’s been a champion of small businesses, the backbone of the U.S. economy.
As a senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Congresswoman was chosen to serve as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade for the 112th Congress. Her selection as Chairman was historic, making the Congresswoman the first Republican woman in history to hold a gavel on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the oldest standing committees in the U.S. House of Representatives dating back to 1795.
As Chairman, Bono Mack is focused on job creation and making “Made in America” matter again. With the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee having jurisdiction over interstate and foreign commerce, Bono Mack is pursuing policies to help jumpstart the sluggish U.S. economy. Most recently, she was successful in passing legislation to reform the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) – signed into law last August – which has been credited with saving and/or creating tens of thousands of American jobs.
Another one of Bono Mack’s significant achievements in Congress was legislation that established the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Mountains Monument in the Palm Springs region, which balanced private property rights with the preservation of unique lands and was cited by the Secretary of the Interior as the model for future designations of this nature.
Additionally, Bono Mack successfully moved legislation to compensate the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe for land lost in 1908. That agreement settled the longest-ever ongoing litigation in the Ninth Circuit Court of California.
Bono Mack has also passed landmark legislation 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. The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed Bono Mack’s Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act (SPY Act), which helps to protect personal information on the Internet. Also, Bono Mack has sponsored legislation to combat obesity, encourage improved nutrition programs nationwide, expand autism research, and provide funding under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Act.
California’s 45th Congressional District is located in southeastern California’s Coachella Valley region and Inland Empire. Encompassing a rich and diverse geography, the 45th District includes deserts, mountains and agricultural regions, as well as the Colorado River and the Salton Sea.
In addition to serving as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, Bono Mack sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.
Bono Mack also serves as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, co-chair of the Congressional Salton Sea Task Force and as vice-chair of the Entertainment Task Force. Bono Mack is also the founder and co-chair of the Recording Arts and Sciences Caucus, and founding co-chair of the Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention Caucus and the America Supports You Caucus, which was established to rally support for men and women in the armed services and their families.
Bono Mack has been recognized repeatedly for her leadership and efforts to strengthen the economy, improve our nation’s health care, preserve the environment, protect consumers, and expand alternative energy. Based on her consistent voting record on these and other issues, Bono Mack has received numerous awards from major organizations, such as: Americans for Tax Reform, National Federation of Independent Businesses, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as from the Sunline Transit Agency for her support of alternative fuel technologies.
Bono Mack has been the subject of numerous profiles for a wide array of publications and television shows, including: NBC’s The Today Show, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, USA Today, PEOPLE, Capital Style, ELLE Magazine, Entertainment Tonight, CNN’s Larry King Live, Esquire, Roll Call, The Hill, GEORGE Magazine, Good Housekeeping, HELLO Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, and PBS. In her first year in office, Bono Mack was named one of the Most Fascinating Women of the Year by Ladies’ Home Journal magazine in conjunction with CBS Television. She was also selected by GEORGE Magazine as one of the 20 most fascinating women in politics. Most recently, Bono Mack was named by Golf Digest as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women” golfers.
Mary is the daughter of the late Clay Whitaker – a physician and World War II veteran who served with a decorated B-17 bomber group over Europe – and the late Karen Whitaker, a chemist. She was raised in South Pasadena, California. As a youth, Mary pursued her first love, gymnastics. With her family’s support, Mary became an accomplished gymnast, and her dedication to physical fitness continues to this day.
A1984 graduate of the University of Southern California, Mary later wed entertainer Sonny Bono, and managed and owned a popular restaurant in Palm Springs, where she developed a deep and lasting appreciation of the significant contributions made by small businesses, but also learned first-hand about their unique challenges. Together, the Bonos had two children, Chesare Elan and Chianna Maria.
Today, Congresswoman Bono Mack is married to U.S. Congressman Connie Mack. In addition to her own two children, Mary also has three stepchildren, Addison and Connie Mack, and Chaz Bono. While spending time with her family has always been a top priority, Mary still enjoys a wide range of interests including music and outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and skiing.