Sen. Mary Souza, District 4, is seeking a third term in the Idaho Senate to represent Coeur d’Alene. She serves on the Commerce Committee, JFAC budget committee, and Health and Welfare, where she is vice chair.
Souza previously served on the Senate Education committee, where she was the main sponsor of the Parental Rights in Education Bill. That bill established that parents are in charge of their children’s education and gives parents the right to refuse standardized high-stakes testing for their children. This year, in order to increase voter turnout, she has a school board election bill to move the date from May of odd-numbered years to November of the same year, along with the city elections. It has passed the Senate and now goes to the House for final passage.
Souza has long been a proponent of honesty and transparency in government. Her sunshine bill, which made school board races subject to financial disclosure, was signed into law in 2015. This year, she is sponsoring public records legislation that requires all forms of public compensation be available for public request. It recently passed the Senate and is in the House for final passage.
Souza has been serving on the Foster Care Interim Committee for two years. She has helped author a collaborative bill to transform the foster care system by creating more oversight and prevention. It has been printed and will be heard in the Senate. The legislation also provides extended follow-through for high-risk families and expands an effective family visiting program to every county in the state.
Souza and her husband, Rick, own a local small business and have lived in Coeur d’Alene for more than 30 years, where they raised their four children.