Connie Mack follows wife’s lead

Following in his wife’s footsteps, former Florida Rep. Connie Mack has landed a job with a Washington-based lobbying firm.

Mack, a Florida Republican who lost his U.S. Senate bid in November, joined Liberty Partners Group as a partner and senior policy advisor, the firm announced this week.

Mack is the husband of former Rep. Mary Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican who lost her re-election campaign last year. She started working as a senior vice president for FaegreBD Consulting last month.

Since losing their respective House seats, the Macks have made several joint appearances on national TV news shows.

And now it seems the couple could carpool too: The Center for Responsive Politics noted that the two firms are located in the same K Street building.

Mary Bono Mack breaks her wrist snowboarding, plans to work on book

Mary Bono MackFormer Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack will be spending the first weeks of her new civilian life convalescing. Bono Mack broke her wrist over the weekend while trying her hand(s) at snowboarding at a Colorado ski resort. But the injury won’t stop her from working on a new project: a book.
Bono Mack was, according to her official Twitter account, vacationing at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort with husband Connie Mack when the incident happened.

First (above), Bono Mack tweeted about giving snowboarding a try on January 18. Then, on Sunday (Jan. 20), Bono Mack tweeted to share news of her injury with her 10,751 followers.

Her followers were quick to send their best wishes for a speedy recovery, with one even suggesting she seek medical attention from her Congressional successor, Dr. Raul Ruiz.

“Maybe Congressman Dr Ruiz can take a look at it ?! ;o),” tweeted DustDevil65.
Bono Mack recently told The Desert Sun’s Bruce Fessier she was working with a literary agent and was in talks with several cable news networks about a possible on-air gig with her husband.

Raul Ruiz: Congressional office ready; NPR profiles freshman congressman

Incoming Rep. Raul Ruiz's Congressional office, as seen Wednesday (photo submitted by Greg Rodriguez)

On the eve of Dr. Raul Ruiz swearing into Congress, his office — and his plaque — are ready for showtime.

This photograph outside his new office, 1319 Longworth Building, circulated on Facebook today.

Ruiz will take the oath of office Thursday as a freshman member of the 113th Congress. It will mark the first time since 1998 that the Coachella Valley is represented by a new lawmaker in Washington.

Over the weekend, NPR’s Weekend Edition profiled Ruiz as part of a series of profiles of “the most diverse (freshman class) in congressional history.”

The four-minute segment that aired Saturday focuses primarily on Ruiz’s busy schedule and his life story.

“Ruiz’s personality — upbeat and inclusive — earned him voter approval across ethnic lines, and it didn’t hurt that he had a life story that resonated with an electorate that was growing more diverse each year,”  NPR’s Karen Grisby Bates said.

She summed up the race between Ruiz and outgoing Rep. Mary Bono Mack: “It was a nasty campaign.”

NPR also played audio from the only debate of the season, which was co-hosted Oct. 12 by The Desert Sun.

“Raul Ruiz says it pains him to leave his patients and community, but although he’s off to Congress he’s not giving up medicine completely,” she said. “He’s already making plans to volunteer in physician-short parts of DC in his spare time. How much of that he’ll have, though, is anybody’s guess.”

The audio and transcript are available here.

Mary Bono Mack: ‘One quick answer’ not ‘doing justice’ for Newtown victims

Standing in Newtown, Conn. today, Rep. Mary Bono Mack said the country needed to take a comphrensive look at mental health services and called for a deep debate on gun control.

The Palm Springs Republican made the comments on CNN this morning, as part of a weekly guest appearance she has been doing with her husband, Rep. Connie Mack of Florida.

“To simply throw out one quick answer is not doing justice to any of the vicitims and their families right now,” Bono Mack said. “There is going to be so much that we have to really delve into and not just look for the quick, quick, quick fix.”

Bono Mack said the president was on “the right path” in his response to Friday’s horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 young students and six adults. The gunman also killed his mother before turning the weapon on himself.

But Bono Mack, who has just a couple weeks left remaining in her final House term, did not elaborate on what types of gun control measures she would support.

Mack, who after November’s election loss is also leaving Congress, said it was the first time the couple had been to Newtown.

“Our hearts and praryers are with the families, with this community,” Mack said on CNN. “This should never happen to our children or our citizens.”

You can see the CNN clip here:

The issue of gun control is being fiercely debated among many California leaders.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, plans to introduce an assault weapon ban when the 113th Congress takes over on Jan. 3.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Rancho Mirage Democrat, has also said “it is long past time that we enacted sensible gun laws and school safety legislation.”

Bono Mack has not released any statements about Friday’s shooting. But she did express some brief observations today on Twitter.

“In Newtown today for CNN. Beautiful, quaint little town that will now have hallowed ground as well as enduring spirit of love and grace,” Bono Mack wrote.


Raul Ruiz prepares for swearing-in

Rep.-elect Raul Ruiz is in the district this week, but his aides are busy preparing for the Jan. 3 swearing-in ceremony.

Ruiz’s campaign today invited supporters to join the Palm Desert Democrat in Washington, when the newly-elected leader of the 36th Congressional District joins the 113th Congress.

According to the invitation, a viewing party will be held that morning at Ruiz’s new office, 1319 Longworth Building. Throughout the afternoon, Ruiz’s office will host an open house and aides will provide Capitol tours.

Supporters interested in attending are encouraged to email the campaign at

Ruiz’s campaign has remained tight-lipped about all staff hires, either in Washington or in the desert. Ruiz has yet to annouce where his desert offices will be located.

He technically doesn’t have an office budget until he takes the oath on Jan. 3, although outgoing Rep. Mary Bono Mack’s office is expected to be closed before then.

District director Marc Troast intially told The Desert Sun the Republican’s Palm Desert office might be shuttered last Friday.

But that date came and went, and Troast now says the office at 36953 Cook Street will be open through this week at least.

Ruiz has told The Desert Sun that he would have “a very aggressive, engaged congressional office.”

“We have a strategic plan to get to January, so that once we start, we start with our feet on the ground and working hard,” Ruiz previously said.

“And I’m very motivated to roll up my sleeves again and start working hard with everyone in this district and really making a change.”

Mary Bono Mack: Post-election ‘grieving period’ over

Outgoing Reps. Mary Bono Mack and Connie Mack continued their national media tour today, this time appearing on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown.

The married congressional couple both lost their respective election bids last month: Local voters favored Democrat Raul Ruiz to Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican. And Florida voters chose to retain U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson instead of send Mack, a Republican, to the U.S. Senate.

Bono Mack didn’t spill the beans on any post-House plans, although she has been elected to the board of the national Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.

“There’s no doubt that there’s a grieving period when you lose an election but I think I’ve worked quickly through that point and I’m very excited about my next chapter in my life,” Bono Mack said during the MSNBC interview today.

Bono Mack also was quick to respond to show host Chuck Todd’s question about what lessons she would take into another campaign.

Her biggest takeaway? “Not to run again for office,” she quipped.

You can see the interview here.

Mary Bono Mack: Legislative career ‘an experience of a lifetime’

Rep. Mary Bono Mack issued some parting words today as she reflected on her final days in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Palm Springs Republican — who has been spotted on CNN but hasn’t given any local interviews since she was defeated in the Nov. 6 election —  issued the statement as part of a news release that touted the reauthorization of the U.S. SAFE WEB Act.

Her comments come after a lengthy description of her 14-year legislative career, including the creation of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Mountains Monument.

Here are her comments in full:

“As I prepare to leave Congress after more than 14 terrific years, I remain very optimistic about the future of America. Admittedly, we face some daunting challenges as a nation in the months and years ahead.  But the true greatness of America is measured by the things that unite us, not divide us.

“We are a people bound by enduring ideals and principles, which are embedded in an unshakable belief in truth, justice, opportunity and freedom for all.

“Despite the many challenges we are facing today, I continue to believe that our best years are ahead of us, because ours is a nation which values courage, compassion and character and stands united – and undeterred – as freedom’s greatest ally around the world.  It has been my extraordinary honor and great privilege to serve in the United States House of Representatives since 1998, and I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished.

“So today, looking back on my eight terms in Congress, I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes: ‘Don’t be sad that it’s over.  Be happy that it happened.’  As we approach this joyous holiday season, I have much to be thankful for and happy about.  This truly has been an experience of a lifetime.”

Bono Mack lost the election to Democrat Raul Ruiz.

She has not yet announced what she’ll do come January, although she does plan on attending the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. Her husband, Rep. Connie Mack of Florida, also lost his U.S. Senate bid. But her daughter’s family — including infant grandson Sonny — live in the Washington area.

Mary Bono Mack shows willingness to compromise on fiscal cliff plan

Reps. Mary Bono Mack and Connie Mack were on CNN today, expressing differing viewpoints on how Congress should deal with the pending fiscal cliff.

Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican who is wrapping her final term in the House, says she agrees with Rep. Tom Cole, who says lawmakers should first extend tax-rate cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year and then work out a deal for wealthier Americans later.

Cole’s comments have irked some Republicans as it breaks ranks with House Speaker John Boehner.

“First, it’s important that we do get a deal done,” Bono Mack said today. “Going into the holidays, the American people want and need certainty. I think going into the New Year people really are clamoring for the certainty and a way forward in the economy.

“I have to say that if you’re going to sign me up with a camp, I like what Tom Cole has to say. You had him on the show earlier at length. Tom presented a very thoughtful, articulate position. I know my husband and I are going to disagree on this. We waited till after the first cup of coffee to disagree over this.”

Mack, a Florida Republican who is also leaving Congress after losing his U.S. Senate bid, did in fact take a differing approach than his wife.

“I don’t happen to agree with my wife and Congressman Cole,” Mack said on CNN. “I think we need to continue to look at ways to cut spending. And if people can answer this question for me, do you think the federal government has done a good job of spending your money? If the answer is yes then you would be willing to give more of your money to the federal government. But I think most people to this point don’t think that the federal government has done a good job of spending their money. And that is a crucial question people have got to ask.”

You can watch the clip here.

Meanwhile, Bono Mack’s Washington staff seems to be busy wrapping up loose ends.

Our Washington-based Gannett colleague Brian Tumulty happened to spot some of their progress outside of the congresswoman’s office.



Raul Ruiz tries to make peace with local officers

Just back from the start of freshman orientation in Washington, Rep.-elect Raul Ruiz is already trying to build bridges with those who campaigned against him during the 36th Congressional campaign.

Ruiz, a Palm Desert Democrat, was spotted at today’s Peace Officer and Public Safety Awards luncheon in Palm Desert.

Local police unions began campaigning against Ruiz after audio tapes surfaced that showed Ruiz, as a college student participating in protests, expressed support for Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal, two men convicted of killing law enforcement officers.

Ruiz went on to unseat Rep. Mary Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican.


Ruiz is certainly not the only elected leader showing their support for local police today.

The Desert Sun also spotted Assemblyman Brian Nestande, a Palm Desert Republican who is widely seen as a challenger to Ruiz in 2014, as well as Coachella Mayor Eduardo Garcia and Indio Mayor Glenn Miller, who are both likely to run for state office two years.

Ruiz, who is handing out food to needy families on Wednesday in Desert Hot Springs, will return to Washington next week to resume his new member training.

About the photo:

Congressman-elect Raul Ruiz talks to Riverside County Fire Department Indian Wells Firefighter of the Year award recipient Firefighter Paramedic Aaron Keser after the 16th Annual Peace Officer & Public Safety Awards Luncheon in Indian Wells. Photo by Desert Sun photographer Crystal Chatham

Mary Bono Mack calls for end to ‘politics of divisiveness’

Rep. Mary Bono Mack says it is “very unfortunate” that Americans are divided into subsets and is calling for national unity.

“I think what’s very important right now is that we heal as a country,” the Palm Springs Republican said during an appearance on CNN’s Piers Morgan last night. “You know, this politics of divisiveness is really something the American people are rejecting.”

Bono Mack is currently finishing out her final term in the House.

After a 14-month campaign that sharply divided the Coachella Valley, Bono Mack was defeated in the Nov. 6 election by Democrat Raul Ruiz. He is in Washington this week for freshmen orientation.