Michael Richard “Mike” Pence (born June 7, 1959) is an American politician and attorney, the Republican Party nominee for Vice President of the United States, in the 2016 election.
He has been serving since 2013 as the 50th governor of Indiana. Pence previously represented Indiana’s 2nd congressional district and Indiana’s 6th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013 and served as chairman of the House Republican Conference from 2009 to 2011. Pence is a conservative and a supporter of the Tea Party movement.
On July 15, 2016, Donald Trump announced that he had selected Pence as his vice presidential running mate in the 2016 presidential election.
Early life and career
Pence was born in Columbus, Indiana, one of six children of Nancy Jane (née Cawley) and Edward J. Pence, Jr., who ran a string of gas stations. His family were Irish Catholic Democrats. He was named after his grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, a Chicago bus driver and Irish immigrant who came from County Sligo to the United States through Ellis Island. His maternal grandmother’s parents were from Doonbeg, County Clare.
Pence graduated from Columbus North High School, in 1977. He earned a B.A. in history from Hanover College, in 1981 and a J.D. from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1986. While at Hanover, Pence joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, serving as his chapter’s president.
After graduating from Hanover, Pence worked as an admissions counselor at the college, from 1981 to 1983. After graduating from law school in 1986, Pence worked as an attorney in private practice. He ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in 1988 and 1990. He returned to his law practice following his second unsuccessful run. In 1991, he became the president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, a self-described free-market think tank and a member of the State Policy Network.
Pence left the Indiana Policy Review Foundation in 1994, when he began a career in talk radio. He hosted The Mike Pence Show, which was based in WRCR-FM in Rushville. Pence called himself “Rush Limbaugh on decaf” since he considered himself politically conservative while not as outspoken as Limbaugh. The show was syndicated by Network Indiana and aired weekdays 9 a.m. to noon (ET) on 18 stations throughout the state, including WIBC in Indianapolis. From 1995 to 1999, Pence also hosted a weekend political talk show out of Indianapolis.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1988, Pence ran for Congress against Democratic incumbent Phil Sharp. Pence lost the election to Sharp. Pence ran again in 1990, against Sharp, quitting his job in order to work full-time in the campaign. Sharp won again. During the race, Pence used “political donations to pay the mortgage on his house, his personal credit card bill, groceries, golf tournament fees and car payments for his wife.” While the spending was not illegal at the time, it reportedly undermined his campaign.
During the 1990 campaign, Pence ran an ad in which an actor, dressed in a robe and headdress and speaking in a thick Middle Eastern accent, thanked his opponent for doing nothing to wean the United States off imported oil as chairman of a House subcommittee on energy and power. In response to criticism, Pence’s campaign responded that the ad was not about Arabs, it was about Sharp’s lack of leadership. In 1991, Pence published an essay, “Confessions of a Negative Campaigner”, in which he apologized for running negative ads against Sharp.
U.S. House of Representatives, 2000–2012
In November 2000, Pence was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District after six-year incumbent David M. McIntosh opted to run for governor of Indiana. The district (renumbered as the 6th District beginning in 2002) comprises all or portions of 19 counties in eastern Indiana. Pence was re-elected four more times by comfortable margins. In the 2006 House elections, he defeated Democrat Barry Welsh.
Pence as a U.S. Congressman
On November 8, 2006, Pence announced his candidacy for leader of the Republican Party (minority leader) in the United States House of Representatives. Pence’s release announcing his run for minority leader focused on a “return to the values” of the 1994 Republican Revolution. On November 17, Pence lost to Representative John Boehner of Ohio by a vote of 168–27–1 (the one vote went to Representative Joe Barton of Texas).
Pence defeated Welsh in the 2008 House election. In January 2009, Pence was elected by his GOP colleagues to become the Republican Conference Chairman, the third-highest-ranking Republican leadership position. He ran unopposed and was elected unanimously.
He was the first representative from Indiana to hold a House leadership position since 1981. In 2008, Esquire magazine listed Pence as one the ten best members of Congress, writing that Pence’s “unalloyed traditional conservatism has repeatedly pitted him against his party elders.”
In 2010, Pence was encouraged to run against incumbent Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, but opted not to enter the race, even after Bayh unexpectedly announced that he would retire.
2012 campaign for Indiana governor
After the November 2010 election, Pence announced that he would not run for re-election as the Republican Conference Chairman. On May 5, 2011, Pence announced that he would seek the Republican nomination for governor of Indiana in 2012.
Pence served as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House Republicans, from 2005 to 2007.
His committee assignments in the House were the following:
107th Congress (2001–2003): Agriculture, Judiciary, Small Business
108th Congress (2003–2005): Agriculture, International Relations, Judiciary
109th Congress (2005–2007): Agriculture, International Relations, Judiciary
110th Congress (2007–2009): Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, Select Committee to Investigate the Voting Irregularities of August 2, 2007
111th Congress (2009–2011): Foreign Affairs
112th Congress (2011–2013): Foreign Affairs, Judiciary.
While in Congress, Pence belonged to the Tea Party Caucus.
During Pence’s twelve years in the House, he introduced 90 bills and resolutions; none became law.
Abortion and Planned Parenthood
Pence began seeking to defund Planned Parenthood in 2007, by introducing legislation aimed at preventing any organization that provides abortion services from receiving Title X funding.
In 2009, Pence opposed birthright citizenship (the legal principle set forth by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that all persons born on U.S. soil are citizens). He co-sponsored a bill that would have limited citizenship to children born to at least one parent who is a citizen, immigrants living permanently in the U.S. or non-citizens performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Pence was a co-sponsor of H.J.Res.73, a 2011 spending limit amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment would limit federal spending to “the average annual revenue collected in the three prior years, adjusted in proportion to changes in population and inflation.” In regards to adopting the gold standard, Pence stated in 2011, “the time has come to have a debate over gold and the proper role it should play in our nation’s monetary affairs”. Pence proposed legislation to end the dual mandate of the Federal Reserve (maximizing employment and stabilizing prices), requiring the Fed to just focus on price stability and not full employment.
He has been a proponent of a flat federal tax rate. Pence opposed the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) (the “Wall Street bailout”) of 2008. Pence also opposed the auto industry rescue package of 2008–09, which guided General Motors and Chevrolet through bankruptcy.
In 2007, Pence voted against raising the federal minimum wage to $7.25 (from $5.15) an hour over two years.
While in the House, Pence voted against the Employee Free Choice Act (“card check”).
He voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. He had publicly opposed the bill denouncing it as a failure, and called for a federal spending freeze. In 2010 Pence hosted a job fair for stimulus-backed employers
He voted against Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Pence voted against the No Child Left Behind Act.
Energy and environment
While in the House, Pence “voted to eliminate funding for climate education programs and to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.” Pence also “repeatedly voted against energy efficiency and renewable energy funding and rules” and voted “for several bills that supported fossil fuel development, including legislation promoting offshore drilling.” The League of Conservation Voters, an environmentalist group, gave Pence a lifetime rating of 4 percent.
Then-U.S. Representative Pence (third from left) standing behind then-governor Mitch Daniels at a 2008 press conference in Martinsville, Indiana.
Pence was a supporter of earmark reform. He voted against the $139.7 billion transportation-treasury spending bill in June 2006, and in favor of a series of amendments proposed that same month by Jeff Flake that would strip other members’ earmarks from the federal budget. On occasion, however, Pence secured earmarks for projects in his district.
Pence supported the Iraq War Resolution, which authorized military action against Iraq.
During the Iraq War, Pence opposed setting a public withdrawal date from Iraq. During an April 2007 visit to Baghdad, Pence and John McCain visited Shorja market, the site of a deadly attack in February 2007, that claimed the lives of 61 people. Pence and McCain described the visit as evidence that the security situation in Iraqi markets has improved. The visit to the market took place under large security including helicopters overhead, and the New York Times reported that the visit gave a false indication of how secure the area was due to the extremely heavy security forces protecting McCain.
Pence chaired the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and was a prominent supporter of George W. Bush’s Iraq War troop surge of 2007. At the time, Pence stated that “the surge is working” and defended the initial decision to invade in 2003.
Pence has opposed closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and trying the suspected terrorists in the U.S. Pence believes that “the Obama administration must overturn this wrongheaded decision”. As an alternative, Pence has said that the “enemy combatants” should be tried in a military tribunal.
Pence has stated his support of Israel and its right to attack facilities in Iran to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons, has defended the actions of Israel in its use of deadly force in enforcing the blockade of Gaza, and has referred to Israel as “America’s most cherished ally”. He visited Israel in 2014 to express his support, and in 2016 signed into law a bill which would ban Indiana from having any commercial dealings with a company that boycotts Israel.
Two weeks prior to the NATO intervention in Libya, Pence thanked the Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for their efforts to isolate the Gaddafi regime.Pence expressed support for “a no-fly zone” and stated that “Gaddafi must go.”
Pence voted against the act that created Medicare Part D, a Medicare prescription-drug benefit. He also voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Further information: History of the Patriot Act
Pence supported the USA Patriot Act on its passage in 2001, and in 2005 called the act “essential to our continued success in the war on terror here at home.” Pence was a sponsor of legislation in 2009 to extend three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act (the library records provision, the roving-wiretap provision, and the lone-wolf provision) for an additional ten years.
In June 2006, Pence unveiled an immigration plan (which he described as “No Amnesty Immigration reform”) that would include increased border security, followed by strict enforcement of laws against hiring illegal aliens, and a guest worker program.
This guest worker program would have required participants to apply from their home country to government-approved job placement agencies that match workers with employers who cannot find Americans for the job. The plan received support from conservatives such as Dick Armey, but attracted criticism from other conservatives such as Phyllis Schlafly, Richard A. Viguerie, and Pat Buchanan, who viewed Pence as lending “his conservative prestige to a form of liberal amnesty.”
In 2010, Pence voted against the DREAM Act, which would grant the undocumented children of illegal immigrants conditional non-immigrant status if they met certain requirements. In 2010, Pence stated that Arizona S.B. 1070, which at the time of passage in 2010 was the US’s broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration legislation, was “a good faith to try and restore order to their communities”.
Pence “does not accept the scientific consensus that human activity is the primary driver of climate change.” In 2001, Pence wrote in an op-ed that “Global warming is a myth,” saying that “the earth is actually cooler today than it was about 50 years ago”. In 2006 and 2009, Pence expressed the view that it was unclear whether climate change was driven by human activity, and in 2009 he told Chris Matthews that there was a “growing skepticism in the scientific community about global warming”.
In 2009, Pence led the Republican effort to defeat the American Clean Energy and Security Act (Waxman-Markey), a Democratic-backed bill to cut greenhouse gas emissions (and therefore combat climate change) through a cap-and-trade system.
Embryonic stem cell research
Pence opposed President Obama’s executive order eliminating restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research. Pence stated, “I believe it is morally wrong to create human life to destroy it for research… I believe it is morally wrong to take the tax dollars of millions of pro-life Americans.” He asserted that “scientific breakthroughs have rendered embryonic stem-cell research obsolete”.
When asked if he believes in evolution, Pence answered “I believe with all my heart that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that’s in them. How he did that I’ll ask him about some day.”
In 2001, Pence wrote an op-ed arguing against the tobacco settlement and tobacco regulation, saying that they would create “new government bureaucracies” and encroach on private lives. He stated that “despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.” Pence asserted, “2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer,” while acknowledging that “smoking isn’t good for you” and people who smoke should quit.
In 2009, Pence voted against the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which allows the FDA to regulate tobacco products.
In 2002, Pence criticized a speech by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell where Powell stated that it was “important for young people… to protect themselves from the possibility of acquiring any sexually transmitted disease” through the use of condoms. Pence called Powell’s comments a “sad day”, and expressed his support for abstinence education. Pence asserted that “condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases” and that Powell was “maybe inadvertently misleading millions of young people and endangering lives”.
Further information: Social Security debate in the United States
Pence supported President George W. Bush’s unsuccessful 2005 proposal to partially privatize Social Security] by allowing workers to invest part of their Social Security payroll taxes in private investment accounts and reduce the increase in benefits for high-income participants. Pence had previously proposed a similar but more aggressive reform plan than Bush’s.
When asked in 2010 if he would be willing to make cuts to Social Security, Pence answered, “I think everything has to be on the table.” When asked if he would raise the retirement age, he said, “I’m an all-of-the-above guy. We need look at everything on the menu.”
Pence “has been a longtime, aggressive advocate of trade deals” between the U.S. and foreign countries. Pence is a supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and during his tenure in the House, he voted for every free-trade agreement that came before him. Pence voted in favor of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA); in favor of keeping the U.S. in the World Trade Organization; and in favor of permanent normal trade relations with China. Pence also supported bilateral free-trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea, Panama, Peru, Oman, Chile and Singapore. Pence’s strong stance in favor of free trade sharply differs from the stance of his running mate Trump, who has condemned globalization and the liberalization of trade.
Pence voted against the Trade and Globalization Act of 2007, which would have expanded trade adjustment assistance to American workers adversely affected by globalization.
Views on homosexuality
In 2000, Pence stated “Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals as a ‘discrete and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.” He called for “an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus [sic]” and instead advocated for resources to be directed toward conversion therapy programs.
Pence has said that homosexuals should not serve in the military, saying, “Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion.” Pence opposed the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell, saying in 2010 that allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military would “have an impact on unit cohesion.”
In 2007, Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have banned workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Pence opposed the 2009 Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, saying that Barack Obama wanted to “advance a radical social agenda” and said that pastors “could be charged or be subject to intimidation for simply expressing a Biblical worldview on the issue of homosexual behavior.”
Pence opposes both same-sex marriage and civil unions. While in the House, he said that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family”. He has advocated a constitutional same-sex marriage ban but did not champion such a proposed ban for his first year as governor.
In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina struck the Louisiana coast, Pence favored offsetting the costs of the hurricane with $24 billion in other spending reductions.
Pence is an advocate of federal restrictions of online gambling. In 2006, he was one of 35 cosponsors of H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte–Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.
Pence was mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for president in 2008 and 2012. In September 2010, Pence was the top choice for president in a straw poll conducted by the Values Voter Summit.
In June 2012, after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act in NFIB v. Sebelius, Pence likened the ruling to the September 11 terrorist attacks in a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference. He immediately apologized for making the statement.
Governor of Indiana
Main article: Indiana gubernatorial election, 2012
On May 5, 2011, Pence announced that he would be seeking the Republican nomination for governor of Indiana in 2012. Incumbent Republican Governor Mitch Daniels was term-limited. On November 6, 2012, Pence won the gubernatorial election, defeating Democratic nominee John R. Gregg and Libertarian nominee Rupert Boneham.
Governor Mike Pence speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland on February 27, 2015
Pence was sworn in as the 50th governor of Indiana on January 14, 2013.
Fiscal policy and economy
Pence made tax reform, namely a 10% income-tax rate cut, a priority for 2013. While he did not get the 10% cut he advocated, Pence did accomplish his goal of cutting state taxes. Legislators cut the income tax by 5% and also killed the inheritance tax. Speaker of the House Brian Bosma said that the legislative package was the “largest tax cut in our state’s history, about $1.1 billion dollars.” By signing Senate Bill 1, the state corporate income tax would be dropped from 6.5% to 4.9% by 2021, which would be the second-lowest corporate income tax in the nation.
On June 12, 2013, the Indiana Legislature overrode Pence’s veto of a bill to retroactively authorize a local tax. Lawmakers overrode Pence’s veto in a 68–23 vote in the House and a 34–12 one in the Senate. With an interesting twist, Republican legislators overwhelmingly voted against Pence, while most Democrats supported his veto.
The Jackson–Pulaski tax fix, one of three bills vetoed by Pence during the session, addressed a 15-year-old county income tax which had been imposed to fund the construction of jail facilities with the stipulation that the tax be lowered by 1% after the first several years. The reduction was not implemented and thus county residents paid an additional 1% tax that they were legally not required to pay. The bill, which was passed by a huge majority of legislators and subsequently vetoed by Pence, allowed money to be kept and not returned to the tax payers as would have otherwise been necessary.
Pence’s communications director, Christy Denault, said that he “stands by [his] veto and regret[s] that it was not upheld by the Indiana General Assembly today. While this bill contained some positive provisions, the governor believes when Hoosiers pay taxes that are not owed, they should be offered relief.” Republicans argued that the veto itself would be unfair for taxpayers as state tax payers had to make up the money spent on calculating refunds to the tax payers in Jackson and Pulaski Counties.
The bill also included tax breaks and benefits for veterans and veteran families that many legislators were unwilling to see vetoed. “Sustaining this veto will be a tax increase on the innocent spouses of disabled (and) deceased veterans, a tax increase through no fault of their own,” said Republican District 7 state senator Brandt Hershman. “Sustaining the veto will be a vote against the innocent taxpayers in Pulaski and Jackson counties who still regardless of our action here … have to fund a jail.”
Employment and minimum wage
During Pence’s term as governor, the unemployment rate reflected the national average. Indiana’s job growth lagged slightly behind the national trend. In 2014, Indiana’s economy was among the slowest-growing in the U.S., with 0.4% GDP growth, compared to the national average of 2.2%; this was attributed in part to sluggish manufacturing sector.
Carrier Corp. and United Technologies Electronic Controls (UTEC) announced in 2016 that they would be closing two facilities in Indiana, sending 2,100 jobs to Mexico; Pence expressed “deep disappointment” with the moves. Pence was unsuccessful in his efforts to persuade the companies to stay in the state, although the companies agreed to reimburse local and state governments for certain tax incentives that they had received.
In 2013, Pence signed a law blocking local governments in Indiana from requiring businesses to offer higher wages or benefits beyond those required by federal law.
In 2014, Pence supported the Indiana Gateway rail improvement project.
In 2014, Pence called for the “swift adoption” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), urging Indiana’s congressional delegation to support the trade deal.
As governor, Pence has pressed for a balanced budget amendment to the state’s constitution. He initially proposed the initiative in his State of the State address in January 2015. The legislation has passed the state Senate and is progressing through the House.
Indiana has had AAA credit ratings with the three major credit-rating agencies since 2010, before Pence took office; these ratings been maintained through Pence’s tenure.
Pence “inherited a $2 billion budget reserve from his predecessor, Mitch Daniels, and the state has added to that reserve under his watch, though not before requiring state agencies, including public universities, to reduce funding in years in which revenue fell below projections.” The state finished fiscal year 2014 with a reserve of $2 billion; budget cuts ordered by Pence for the $14 billion annual state budget include $24 million cut from colleges and universities; $27 million cut from the Family and Social Services Administration; and $12 million cut from the Department of Correction.
In October 2015, Pence “announced plans to pay off a $250 million federal loan” to cover unemployment insurance payments that spiked during the the recession. In March 2016, Pence signed legislation to fund a $230 million two-year road-funding package.
Indiana enacted right-to-work legislation under Pence’s predecessor, Republican governor Mitch Daniels. Under Pence, the state successfully defended this legislation against a labor challenge.
In 2015, he signed legislation that repealed an eighty-year-old Indiana law that required construction companies working on publicly funded projects to pay a prevailing wage that was determined by local boards of taxpayers and contractors.
In June 2013, Pence was criticized for deleting comments of others posted on his official government Facebook page; he apologized.
Crime and drug policy
Pence has questioned proposals to decrease penalties for low-level marijuana offenses in Indiana, saying that the state should focus “on reducing crime, not reducing penalties.” In 2013, Pence expressed concern that a then-pending bill to revise the state’s criminal code was not tough enough on drug crimes, and successfully lobbied to limit the reduction in sentencing of marijuana offenses.
In 2016, Pence signed into law a measure that reinstated a ten-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for certain drug offenders.
In 2015, Pence signed Senate Bill 94, which lengthened the statute of limitations for rape — continuing for five years after sufficient DNA evidence is uncovered, enough recorded evidence is brought forth or discovered, or the offender confesses to the crime. By Pence signing Senate Bill 8, the death penalty for beheadings was allowed if the victim was alive at the time of the offense.
In 2014, over the opposition of Indiana school organizations, Pence signed a bill which allows firearms to be kept in vehicles on school property.
In 2015, following a shooting in Chattanooga, Pence recruited the NRA to train the Indiana National Guard on concealed carry. Some National Guard officials from other states questioned why a civilian organization would be involved in a military issue. In May 2015, Pence signed into law Senate Bill 98, which limited lawsuits against gun and ammunition manufacturers and sellers and retroactively terminated the City of Gary’s still-pending 1999 lawsuit against gun manufacturers and retailers that allegedly made illegal sales of handguns.
The bill was supported by Republicans such as state Senator Jim Tomes, who hoped that the measure would attract more gun-related businesses to Indiana, but opposed by Gary mayor and former Indiana attorney general Karen Freeman-Wilson, who viewed the measure as “an unprecedented violation of the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches of state government.”
In 2016, Pence signed Senate Bill 109 into law, legalizing the captive hunting of farm-raised deer in Indiana.
HIV outbreak in Southern Indiana
Since December 2014, there has been an HIV outbreak in Southern Indiana. In 2011, Planned Parenthood ran five rural clinics in Indiana. They tested for HIV and offered prevention, intervention and counseling for better health. The one in Scott County performed no abortions. The Republican controlled legislature and Pence defunded Planned Parenthood.
Scott County has been without an HIV testing center for two years. Pence had long been a vocal opponent of needle exchange programs, which allow drug users to trade in used syringes for sterile ones in order to stop the spread of diseases, despite evidence that they work. Since March 2015, he has allowed at least five counties to open needle exchanges but has not moved to lift the state ban on funding for needle exchanges.
In March 2016, Pence signed into law H.B. 1337, a controversial bill that both banned certain abortion procedures and placed new restrictions on abortion providers. The bill banned abortion if the reason for the procedure given by the pregnant person was the fetus’ race or gender or a fetal abnormality. In addition, the bill required that all fetal remains from abortions or miscarriages at any stage of pregnancy be buried or cremated, which according to the Guttmacher Institute is not currently required in any other state.
The law was described as “exceptional for its breadth”; if implemented, it would have made Indiana “the first state to have a blanket ban on abortions based solely on race, sex or suspected disabilities, including evidence of Down syndrome.”[
Days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the bill from taking effect, with U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt determining that the bill was likely to be unconstitutional and that the State of Indiana would be unlikely to prevail at trial.
In 2015, Pence and the Obama administration agreed to expand Medicaid in Indiana, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. As part of the expansion, Pence negotiated modifications to the program for Indiana that included co-payments by participants. The co-payments are linked to healthy behaviors on the part of the participants, so that, for example, a participant who quit smoking would receive a lower co-payment. Participants can lose benefits for failing to make the payments.
During his tenure as governor, Pence supported significant increases in education funding to voucher programs and charter schools. In 2015, Pence secured significant increases in charter-school funding from the Legislation, although he did not get everything he had proposed. The number of students receiving vouchers in Indiana has increased 10x since 2012 to 33,000, and almost 60% of students in the state now qualify for vouchers. Indiana has the largest and fastest growing voucher program in the country.
Pence opposes the Common Core State Standards, calling for the repeal of the standards in his 2014 State of the State address. The Indiana General Assembly then passed a bill to repeal the standards, becoming the first state to do so.
Pence helped establish a small $10 million state preschool pilot program in Indiana in 2014, a little after one year after taking office, and testified personally before the state Senate Education Committee in favor of the program to convince fellow Republicans (several of whom opposed the proposal) to approve the plan.
Although the plan was initially defeated, Pence successfully managed to revive it, “getting Indiana off the list of just 10 U.S. states that spent no direct state funds to help poor children attend preschool.” Demand for enrollment in the program “far outstripped” capacity, and Pence at first refused to apply for up to $80 million in federal Health and Human Services Preschool Development Grant program funding, arguing that “Indiana must develop our own pre-K program without federal intrusion.” After coming under sustained criticism for this position, Pence reversed course and sought to apply for the funds.
Pence has clashed repeatedly with Glenda Ritz, a Democrat who is the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction (a separately elected position in the state). In one of his first acts as governor, Pence removed control of the Educational Employment Relations Board, which is in charge of handling conflicts between unions and school boards, from Ritz. Pence created a new “Center for Education and Career Innovation” (CECI) to coordinate efforts between schools and the private sector; Ritz opposed the Center, viewing it as a “power grab” and encroachment on her own duties. Pence eventually disestablished the Center in order to help defuse the conflict.
In May 2015, after Ritz was cited by the Education Department for misapplying federal laws relating to Title I funding for low income students, Pence signed a bill stripping Ritz of much of her authority over standardized testing and other education issues, and reconstituting the State Board of Education dominated by Pence appointees.
The bill provided for eleven board members, with eight appointed by the governor, one appointed by the Indiana House, one appointed by the Indiana Senate, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction as the eleventh member).
The bill also allowing the board to appoint a chairman other than the Superintendent of Public Instruction starting in 2017, and added the State Board of Education (controlled by Pence) as a “state educational authority” along with the Department of Education (controlled by Ritz) for purposes of accessing sensitive student data.
Energy and environment
During Pence’s term in office, the Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly has “repeatedly tried to roll back renewable energy standards and successfully ended Indiana’s energy efficiency efforts.” Pence is an outspoken supporter of the coal industry, declaring in his 2015 State of the State address that “Indiana is a pro-coal state,” expressing support for an “all-of-the-above energy strategy,” and stating: “we must continue to oppose the overreaching schemes of the EPA until we bring their war on coal to end.”
in 2015, Pence sent a letter to President Obama denouncing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (which would regulate carbon emissions from existing power plans) and stating that Indiana would refuse to comply with the plan Indiana joined other states in a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the plan. In 2016, Pence stated that even if legal challenges failed, Indiana would continue to defy the rule and would not come up with its own plan to reduce emissions.
Pence at the 500 Festival Parade in Indianapolis, 2015
On January 26, 2015 it was widely reported that Pence had planned to launch a state-run, taxpayer-funded news service for Indiana. The service, called “Justin” was to be overseen by a former reporter for The Indianapolis Star, and would feature breaking news, stories written by press secretaries, and light features. At the time, it was reported that the two employees who would run the news service would be paid a combined $100,000 yearly salary.
The target audience was small newspapers that had limited staff, but the site would also serve to communicate directly with the public. The idea was met with revulsion both by small Indiana newspapers and by the national news media. The publisher of the Portland Commercial Review said, “I think it’s a ludicrous idea … the notion of elected officials presenting material that will inevitably have a pro-administration point of view is antithetical to the idea of an independent press.”
Many news stories compared the new JustIN service to state-run news agencies in Russia, China, and North Korea. There was speculation that the news service would publish pro-administration stories that would make Pence look good in the event of a presidential run.
It was especially surprising coming from Pence, because of his history in radio and his former role as a media advocate in Congress, when he supported shield laws protecting confidentiality of media sources and opposed the Fairness Doctrine, which would have given the government more control over political speech. The Atlantic regarded the announcement of Justin as evidence of a disturbing changing trend in how the public gets news.
After a week or so of controversy about the idea, Pence scrapped the idea saying, “However well-intentioned, after thorough review of the preliminary planning and careful consideration of the concerns expressed, I am writing you to inform you that I have made a decision to terminate development of the Justin website immediately.”
On March 26, 2015, Pence signed Indiana Senate Bill 101, also known as the Indiana “religious objections” bill (RFRA), into law. The law’s signing was met with widespread criticism by people and groups who felt the law was carefully worded in a way that would permit discrimination against LGBT persons.
Such organizations as the NCAA, the gamer convention Gen Con, and the Disciples of Christ spoke out against the law. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff condemned the law, with Salesforce.com saying it would halt its plans to expand in the state. Angie’s List announced that they would cancel a $40 million expansion of their Indianapolis based headquarters due to concerns over the law.
The expansion would have moved 1000 jobs into the state. The mayors of San Francisco and Seattle banned official travel to Indiana. Thousands protested against the policy. Five GOP state representatives voted against the bill, and Greg Ballard, the Republican mayor of Indianapolis, criticized it as sending the “wrong signal” about the state.
Pence repeatedly defended the law, stating that it was not about discrimination. In an appearance on the ABC News program This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Pence stated, “We are not going to change this law”, while refusing to answer whether examples of discrimination against LGBT people given by Eric Miller of anti-LGBT group Advance America would be legal under the law. Pence denied the law permitted discrimination and wrote in a March 31, 2015, Wall Street Journal op-ed, “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore. As governor of Indiana, if I were presented a bill that legalized discrimination against any person or group, I would veto it.”
In the wake of the backlash against the RFRA, on April 2, 2015, Pence signed legislation revising the law to prevent potential discrimination.
As of March 2016, Pence has attempted unsuccessfully to prevent Syrian refugees from being resettled in Indiana. In December 2015, Pence stated that “calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional”.
Re-election campaign and withdrawal
Pence ran for a second term as governor. He was unopposed in the May 3, 2016, Republican primary for governor. He was to face Democrat John R. Gregg, former speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, in a rematch of the 2012 race. However, Pence filed paperwork ending his campaign on July 15, 2016, as Trump announced his selection of Pence as his vice presidential running mate.
2016 presidential campaign
Donald Trump considered naming Pence as his vice presidential running mate along with other finalists New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former House speaker Newt Gingrich. The Indianapolis Star reported July 14 that Pence would end his re-election campaign and accept the Republican vice presidential nomination instead. This was widely reported on July 14, 2016. The following day, Trump officially announced on Twitter that Pence would be his running mate.
Immediately after the announcement, Pence said that he was “very supportive of Donald Trump’s call to temporarily suspend immigration from countries where terrorist influence and impact represents a threat to the United States”. Pence said that he was “absolutely” in sync with Trump’s Mexican wall proposal, stating that Mexico is “absolutely” going to pay for it. According to a FiveThirtyEight rating of candidates’ ideology, Pence is the most conservative vice-presidential candidate in the last forty years.
Pence and his wife Karen Pence have been married since 1985. They have three children: Michael, Charlotte, and Audrey. During his service in the U.S. House, the Pence family lived in Arlington, Virginia, when Congress was in session. Michael Pence is a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
Pence was raised in a Catholic family, serving as an altar boy and attending parochial school. Pence became a born-again Christian in college, while a member of a nondenominational Christian student group in college, identifying his freshman year—and specifically “a Christian music festival in Asbury, Ky., in the spring of 1978″—as the moment he made a “commitment to Christ.”
After that point, however, Pence continued to attend Mass (where he met his wife) and worked as a Catholic youth minister. Pence called himself Catholic in a 1994 news piece, although by 1995, Pence and his family had joined an evangelical mega church, the Grace Evangelical Church. In 2013, Pence said that his family was “kind of looking for a church.” Pence has described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” and as “a born-again, evangelical Catholic.”