Mary Bono (born October 24, 1961), American politician, has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 1998, representing the 45th District of California (map) which includes most of central and eastern Riverside County, including Palm Springs. The district was previously the 44th District before the 2000s round of redistricting.
She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but has lived in Southern California since 1963. She worked her way through the University of Southern California, graduating in 1984. Soon after leaving Southern Cal, she married singer-turned politician Sonny Bono and moved to Palm Springs.
Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident on January 5, 1998. Mary easily won the Republican nomination for the special election to succeed him, which is tantamount to election in the heavily Republican district. She took office on April 7, 1998. She won a full term in November and has been re-elected three times with no serious opposition. As of 2005 Bono was (along with Jo Ann Emerson, Lois Capps and Doris Matsui) one of four representatives to be elected to their seats following the deaths of their husbands.
Unlike her husband, who was a loyal supporter of Newt Gingrich, Mary Bono has a moderate-to-liberal voting record, which is somewhat surprising given that she represents one of the most Republican districts in California. She chose not to attend the 2004 Republican National Convention because she felt her district and state were not in strong contention and her objection to the platform's opposition to any legal benefits for same-sex couples, as well as opposition to gays in the military, anti-discrimination laws and so on. She is a member of The Republican Main Street Partnership, The Republican Majority For Choice, Republicans For Choice, The Wish List and Christine Todd Whitman's Its My Party Too.
Bono usually votes conservatively, following the Republican Party 89f the time and President Bush 79f the time.. She has an 84
pproval rating from the Christian Coalition..
She was married to Palm Springs businessman Glenn Baxley (2001 to 2005) and has a son and a daughter from her marriage to Sonny Bono: Son; Chesare Elan Bono (Born 1988), Daughter; Chianna Maria Bono, (Born 1991). Recently, Mary Bono has been romantically linked to fellow congressman Connie Mack IV from Florida.
Bono has been linked to the Church of Scientology. Her husband was a member (although he continued to claim to be a Roman Catholic on most official documents). The church has its large Gold Base headquarters in her district, but she has distanced herself from that organization.
Bono said in May 2006 that she depended on royalties from Sonny Bono's estate to supplement her $165,200 congressional salary in order pay her son's college expenses . In her official 2005 filing, Bono stated that her income from royalties and dividends was between $402,000 to $3.3 million