Mary Bono

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Mary Bono
Mary Bono Mack Official.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 45th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Dana Rohrabacher
Succeeded by John Campbell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 44th district
In office
April 7, 1998 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Sonny Bono
Succeeded by Ken Calvert
Personal details
Born Mary Whitaker
(1961-10-24) October 24, 1961 (age 53)
Cleveland, Ohio
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sonny Bono (1986–1998; his death)
Glenn Baxley (2001–2005; divorced)
Connie Mack IV (2007–2013; divorced)
Children Chesare Elan Bono
Chianna Maria Bono
Residence Palm Springs, California
Alma mater University of Southern California
Occupation Senior Vice President at FaegreBD Consulting

Mary Bono (known as Mary Bono Mack during her marriage to former Florida Representative Connie Mack IV) (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 was first elected to Congress to replace her late husband, Sonny Bono, who had died months before. She is a member of the Republican Party. Bono'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.

Bono was defeated in her bid for reelection in 2012 by Dr. Raul Ruiz. She was, at the time, the sole female Republican in California's congressional delegation, and until Congresswoman Mimi Walters was elected in November 2014, no other female Republican was part of the delegation.

On March 19, 2013, Bono announced she was joining Washington, D.C.-based federal affairs firm FaegreBD Consulting as a senior vice president.[1] She focuses her government advocacy and consulting practice there on legislative, regulatory and policy matters related to the entertainment, media and information technology sectors. She also is a nationally recognized advocate for drug abuse prevention and treatment.

Bono is dating former astronaut and retired Navy rear admiral Stephen Scot Oswald. [2]

Early life and career[edit]

Bono 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.[3]

She graduated from the University of Southern California in 1984[4] with a bachelor of arts in art history. She was an accomplished gymnast in her youth.[5]

In 1986, she married actor/singer Sonny Bono and moved to Palm Springs where the two operated a restaurant they owned.[4] Sonny Bono served as Mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992 before being elected to Congress in 1994.[6] 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.[7]

As senior vice president at FaegreBD Consulting, Bono advises clients on technology, media, entertainment, energy and health policy issues, as well as strategic communications. She works with telecommunications companies to "develop thoughtful policies that grow the Internet economy and maximize broadband networks throughout the U.S."[8] In June 2013, a group of leading telecommunications firms announced formation of the 21st Century Privacy Coalition, which focuses on updating U.S. privacy and data security laws. Mary Bono and Jon Leibowitz, former Federal Trade Commission chairman, were named co-chairs of the coalition.[9]

In June 2013, Bono helped lead expansion of Faegre Baker Daniels and FaegreBD Consulting into Silicon Valley, in her home state of California. Bono leads FaegreBD Consulting's focus on information technology services in Silicon Valley while operating primarily from the firm's Washington, D.C. office.[10]

Congressional career[edit]

Bono, c. 2005

Mary Bono served in Congress for 15 years, where she worked on legislation and issues related to intellectual property, energy, health, telecommunications, privacy and more. Her legislative work 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 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 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.[11] In 2011 her bill, H.R. 2715, was signed into law with bipartisan support to amend and improve the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.[12] The daughter of a veteran, Bono also played a key role in creation of much-need VA clinics in Blythe and Palm Desert, California.[13]

Bono was a leading proponent of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, which extended the terms of copyright. Giving a speech on the floor of Congress in favor of the bill, Bono 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.[14]

Bono 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.[15] In 1999, she voted in favor of the Largent Amendment,[16] to ban adoption by same-sex couples in Washington, D.C.[17] Bono has, however, voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment twice. 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.[18][19] In 2013, after losing reelection, Bono was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.[20]

In 1998, Bono 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.[21] Bono proceeded to vote along party lines on all four motions for impeachment, which were decided 21 to 16.[22] During the full House floor consideration of the four impeachment motions, Bono voted for impeachment on all four articles while some moderate Republican House members voted against Articles II, III, and IV.[23]

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.[11] She signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[24]

Committee assignments[edit]

Bono was chairwoman of the House Energy Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. This committee debates legislation related to intellectual property, telecommunications, energy and healthcare. She was the first Republican woman to chair this subcommittee. She was co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse.[25] In 2012, she formed and chaired the House Women's Policy Committee, which included 24 female Republican lawmakers from 17 states.[26]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Advocacy and causes[edit]

Bono is a leading advocate for drug abuse prevention and treatment. At the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America's (CADCA) 15th Annual Drug-Free Kids Dinner, Tom Reddin, vice-chair of the 2013 Drug-Free Kids Campaign, introduced her:

We all know and respect Mary Bono for her commitment to drug abuse prevention, treatment and recovery. Specifically, Mary drew national attention to prescription drug abuse and made it a major focus before it was ever named an epidemic. She served as co-chairman of a congressional caucus on prescription drug abuse and the Youth Drug Prevention Caucus. Now Mary represents a wide array of interests as senior vice president for FaegreBD Consulting, but, she's also staying very active on the drug issue as a board member of CADCA.[27]

In addition to serving on CADCA's board, Bono is the honorary chairman of Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse[28] and the honorary chair of Rally2Recovery.[29] She has spoken and presented awards at numerous events in support of prevention and recovery, including the Association of Recovery Schools Conference, America Honors Recovery, Recovery for Life Gala and the Annual Drug-Free Kids Campaign Awards Dinner.[30]

Bono serves on the Tribute Committee of the Navy SEAL Foundation, which focuses on honoring SEALs and supporting their families.[31]

Media coverage[edit]

In August 2013, Bono was a panelist at the National Journal's Women 2020 event and discussed her experiences as a woman in Congress and work that still needs to be done regarding gender equality.[32]

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's national profile increased significantly in 1998 when she sat on the House Judiciary panel to consider impeachment articles against Bill Clinton.[33]

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.

Personal life[edit]

In 2001, she married Wyoming businessman Glenn Baxley about 18 months after they met in Mexico. They filed for divorce in 2005.[34] On December 15, 2007, Bono married Congressman Connie Mack IV (R-FL) in Asheville, North Carolina.[35] In May 2013, the couple announced they had separated on amicable terms and intended to divorce.[36]

Mary Bono 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: Christine Bono, Chaz Bono, Addison Mack, and Connie Mack V. In addition to her family, Bono 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.[37]

After attending a lecture by mountaineer-turned-humanitarian Greg Mortenson, Bono worked with him to aid his efforts to build schools for girls in the mountainous regions of Pakistan. Bono 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."[38]


  1. ^ Press release - Former Congresswoman Mary Bono Joins FaegreBD Consulting (March 19, 2013)
  2. ^
  3. ^ About Mary, memoir written by Mary Bono.
  4. ^ a b "Mary Bono Mack (R)". Wall Street Journal. November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  5. ^ Natividad, Ivan (May 8, 2012). "Take Five With Rep. Mary Bono Mack". Roll Call. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  6. ^ Bardach, Ann (August 1999). "Proud Mary Bono". George Magazine. 
  7. ^ Lochhead, Carolyn (November 7, 2012), "Mary Bono Mack defeated in Palm Springs upset", San Francisco Chronicle, retrieved 2012-11-07 
  8. ^ >Press release - Former Congresswoman Mary Bono Joins FaegreBD Consulting (March 19, 2013)
  9. ^ Tau, Byron, and Palmer, Anna. "Exclusive - Communications industry forms privacy coalition." Politico, June 26, 2013.
  10. ^ Press Release - Faegre Baker Daniels Expands Operations to Silicon Valley (June 6, 2013)
  11. ^ a b Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack: Biography
  12. ^ Duvall, Mark. "Congress Fixes Problems in Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.", August 15, 2011.
  13. ^ "At last, a veterans' clinic is coming to Blythe." Palo Verde Valley Times, 2001.
  14. ^ 1998 Congressional Record, Vol. 144, Page H9951 (October 7, 1998)
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Human Rights Campaign". 1999-07-29. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  18. ^ Chris Geidner, House Passes DADT Repeal Bill, Metro Weekly (December 15, 2010).
  19. ^ House Vote 638 – Repeals 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', The New York Times (December 15, 2010).
  20. ^ Avlon, John (February 28, 2013). "The Pro-Freedom Republicans Are Coming: 131 Sign Gay-Marriage Brief". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  21. ^ Branson, Amy; Martinez, Gebe (August 21, 1998). "The Next Grand Jury". Washington Post. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Articles of Impeachment and Judiciary Committee Roll Call Votes". Washington Post. December 19, 1998. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  23. ^ "The Impeachment Vote". Washington Post. December 19, 1998. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Current Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers". Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  25. ^ Mary B. Mack, "Proudly Serving California's 45th District". U.S. House of Representatives, June 20, 2012.
  26. ^ Felci, Erica. "Bono Mack Forms Committee for GOP Women." Palm Springs Desert Sun, May 21, 2012.
  27. ^ CADCA's 15th Annual Drug-Free Kids Campaign Awards Dinner Video
  28. ^ Bono, Mary. "Commentary: Steps to Curb Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic." The Partnership at, July 17, 2012.
  29. ^
  30. ^ "The Honorable Mary Bono." FaegreBD Consulting website, accessed October 21, 2013.
  31. ^ "Navy SEAL Foundation - Tribute Committee.", accessed October 21, 2013
  32. ^ "Women in Politics: How They are Challenging Status Quo" panel video., July 18, 2013
  33. ^ Grove, Lloyd. Vote Tops Bono's Year of Decisions. The Washington Post. 1998-12-11. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  34. ^ The Associated Press (2007-12-17). "Reps. Mary Bono, Connie Mack marry.". Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  35. ^ "Fox News, GOP House Members Mary Bono and Connie Mack Marry in North Carolina". 2007-12-16. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  36. ^ "Connie, Mary Bono Mack divorcing". 2013-05-24. 
  37. ^ Golf for Women, April 2008
  38. ^ Mortenson, Greg (2007). Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0143038257. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Sonny Bono
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 44th congressional district

April 7, 1998 – January 3, 2003
Succeeded by
Ken Calvert
Preceded by
Dana Rohrabacher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 45th congressional district

January 3, 2003 - January 3, 2013
Succeeded by
John B. T. Campbell III