Meet the Candidates: Current Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence

Veda Maturi, Contributing Writer

Michael R. Pence is the Republican nominee for vice president alongside presidential nominee Donald Trump in the 2020 general election of the United States of America.

Mike Pence is quite a personality with knowledge in various fields. From a conservative radio and talk show host, to a Republican chairman, Governor, and Vice President of on term, Pence has a wide range of experience in the political world.

Early Life:

Pence was born in Columbus, Indiana on June 7, 1959 into an Irish Catholic family and community. His parents, Edward, a US Army veteran, and Nancy Pence’s religious beliefs both politically and culturally influenced him throughout his life. Mike is one of six children. His interest in politics began in high school; when studying in Columbus North High School, he volunteered for the Bartholomew County Democratic Party. 

Mike started his college life in Hanover College, where his interest and fascination with politics grew and flourished. Although he stated that he was extremely religiously influenced in his political beliefs, Pence claims that one of his main inspirations was Ronald Raegan and his speeches. He graduated from Hanover with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1981.

Pence later moved to Indianapolis in 1983, continued his studies in the Indiana University McKinney School of Law and graduated with a Judiciary degree in 1986. During these years, Pence met his wife, Karen, in 1985. Karen Pence was an elementary school teacher and was involved in multiple non-profit youth organizations. Pence continued to practice law after graduation for some time.

Early Political Career:

Pence first became the Precinct committeeman for Marion County, in Indiana, in the Republican Party soon after graduation. In 1988, Pence decided to run for the House of Representatives. Pence ran as a populist and social conservative. Populism is the ideology of letting the “general” public and people who’s words “aren’t heard” speak and play a bigger role. This way, the public will be heard against and over the “elite” group of society. Social conservatism is the view on multiple different social aspects of life including; marriage, life, sexuality, etc.. This campaign was not successful and he did not win the seat, since Pence had controversial views on these ideas and had created quite a stir. 

Pence ran for House of Representatives once again in 1990. He launched his campaign with multiple negative and disrespectful ads, which led to more backlash rather than gain support like he’d expected. Mike was faced with an abundant amount of criticism and published the essay, “Confessions of a Negative Campaigner” to apologize for his campaigning methods.

Hosting Radio Shows: 

After failing to win a seat, Mike was casted to host a radio-show in Indiana. According to various sources, Pence hosted two radio-talk shows and also was part of a Sunday morning local tv show. “The Mike Pence Show,” which was one radio show he hosted from 1992 to 1998. Pence discussed and commented on multiple political ideas and affairs, which caught the eyes and ears of politicians in the area. Although his other radio show wasn’t as popular, it was successful for a few years. Pence’s Sunday morning show was a weekly public affair show, which ran from 1995 to 1999.

Career as Congressman:

Pence ran for the House of Representatives once again in 2000, when he finally achieved success. He began his life as a congressman in the year 2001 and served for six full terms. Pence served as a republican Catholic, who had extreme beliefs in social conservatism. During his six terms, Pence had repeatedly opposed same sex marriage and also strongly opposed abortion; he has mentioned that he is pro-life in the vice presidential debate on Oct. 7, 2020. Alongside opposing abortion, Pence also pushed to defund Planned Parenthood on many instances. In 2003, Pence was reported to have voted against the expansion of Medicare, a national health insurance program, as well. With his strong conervative beliefs, he often opposed his own party’s ideas and beliefs too. His ability to stand on his heavily religiously influenced beliefs, caught the attention of the Tea Party Movement.

According to Britannica, the Tea Party Movement is a “conservative populist social and political movement that… [believes in] opposing excessive taxation and government intervention in the private sector…”

Governor of Indiana:

After serving as congressman for a while, Pence returned to his home state of Indiana. In 2012, Mike ran for governor of Indiana. His main focus, while campaigning, was on tax-cuts and improving the Indiana economy. Although the race was very close, Mike won and took office starting in 2013. His actions while serving as governor captured the attention of many around the country. Two years into his governorship, in early 2015, Pence made national headlines for passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Indiana. The Act protected one’s rights to practice their religion safely and also reinforce it in their businesses. This sparked a huge outrage throughout America. The law was accused of being discriminatory against many of the LGBTQA+ community including, gay, lesbien, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Not only was the public outraged, but many big businesses, who were essential to the state economy, went into boycott to protest against the Act. Pence had defended the RFRA on multiple occasions when questioned about it by the media. 

After wading in hot water for a while, he responded to the RFRA uproar with an additional piece of legislation called the RFRA Fix. Its purpose was to clear up the issues regarding the previously discriminated communities; it wasn’t intended to discriminate against anyone and does not allow any businesses to discriminate against an individual for their race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. 

Throughout his years as a congressman and governor, Pence repeatedly supported acts against abortion. In 2016, he made headlines once again for signing an extremely controversial bill for his state. The bill declared abortion of a fetus with a disability illegal. According to ABC News, Pence has signed almost every anti-abortion bill that came to his desk in as a congressman too. Pence has also spoken of being pro-life on several occassions.

Vice Presidential Career:

On July 5, 2016, Trump announced that Mike Pence, governor of Indiana would be his running mate for the 2016 presidential election. The duo won and Pence served as the vice president for one full term from 2017-2020. Pence has been selected once again to run alongside Trump in the upcoming 2020 election.

During his vice presidency, Pence worked as the head of the government’s task force of COVID-19. The coronavirus epidemic did drag the American economy into a downturn and he was criticized for downscaling the importance of the outbreak. Throughout his term, Pence has stuck up for Trump throughout the many allegations against the latter and has worked to aid Trump and his policies.

Mike Pence is a strong candidate for vice presidency with his degree in law, his experience as a radio show host, his work as a congressman, and his history in politics. He has made many bold moves throughout his political career and isn’t scared to stick to his conservative beliefs.