MARY SOUZA KNOWS WHAT IT MEANS TO MEET A CHALLENGE. The only girl out of eight children, she grew up competing with her seven brothers and building the strength of a leader along the way.

After graduating high school, Mary earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Pacific Lutheran University and spent the next decade working as a critical care nurse and clinical nursing instructor before returning to school and earning her master’s in health education.

Mary and her husband, Rick, have been married 43 years. When he started their business 37 years ago, Mary stepped away from nursing and was general manager for 15 years. Thanks to that decision, Mary understands what it takes to run a successful business in Idaho.

Local community interests inspired Mary to serve on the Planning & Zoning Committee, among other activities, and later to write a weekly political column for the local newspaper. In 2009, a local city council election was decided by only five votes. As Mary was writing her column about the court case arising from the contest of the election, she became fascinated by the many elements and vulnerabilities of our election system. Her interest in elections has only grown over the years and motivated her to run for office at the state level.

In 2014, Mary was elected state senator and is now finishing her fourth term in office. As our state senator, she has sponsored and/or carried a long list of election bills, with a focus on reporting, transparency, and increasing turnout while maintaining security.

Now that our current secretary of state is retiring, Mary is ready to step up to the challenge and bring her warm, calm, communicative leadership style to the job.