Bono Mack ready for re-election battle

Says the economy will be top issue

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack is running for re-election in the newly drawn 36th congressional district.  Her opponent will be Dr. Raul Ruiz, a democrat.

We're hearing from both candidates this week as the election approaches starting with Congresswoman Bono Mack.      

She says, "This election will be about the economy, jobs and the way forward."

She says her marriage to Florida Rep. Connie Mack IV, who is running for U.S. Senate, in a race that could have large implications in the presidential race, won't be a distraction.

In this past, Bono Mack's opponents have questioned her ability to serve her home district, while splitting time in Florida.

"This will be the third election I have to answer that question, and it hasn't been successful previously. I don't think it would be this time either," Bono Mack says.

On the ongoing battle in Washington, D.C. over the extension of tax cuts and the approaching "fiscal cliff," she wants to reign in spending.  She insists that the controversy isn't over the tax cuts, even thought that's where the focus of the debate has been.  She says the real problem is the spending cuts needed to bring down the deficit.

On health care, she's voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  She likes some of the provisions, including the eligibility of kids to be on their parents' health insurance until the age of 26.  Overall, she wants a market-driven solution.

"You make health insurance companies fight for our business and give us something of value," she says.

On social issues, the congresswoman insists gay marriage is a state's rights issue.  Her position is a little less clear when it comes to the Defense of Marriage Act, that defines marriage for federal law, as a a union between one man and one woman.

"If the Defense of Marriage Act comes up for a vote, then I am wrestling with it.  That is how I would believe. Again, I respect state's rights.  I believe that if California law is saying one thing, if people vote on it, the federal government should recognize state's rights," Bono Mack says.

In the Coachella Valley, she'll continue to speak out on plans to build a 54-mile long bike trail along the Whitewater River using millions of dollars in mitigation fees from a power plant being built in Desert Hot Springs.

She doesn't think it'll be a good use of the money.  She says she's willing to be proven wrong, but has a lot of questions about the project.

We covered a lot of issues in a short period of time.  In the end, she says the voters will see two very different candidates in the coming months as she looks to compare and contrast those differences.

Wednesday night, News Channel 3's Karen Devine will interview Ruiz.

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