Michael Richard Pence (born June 7, 1959) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the 48th and current vice president of the United States. He previously was the 50th governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017 and a member of the United States House of Representativesfrom 2001 to 2013. He is the younger brother of U.S. Representative Greg Pence.
Born and raised in Columbus, Indiana, Pence graduated from Hanover College and earned a law degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law before entering private practice. After losing two bids for a U.S. congressional seat in 1988 and 1990, he became a conservative radio and television talk show host from 1994 to 1999.
Pence was elected to the United States Congress in 2000
Pence was elected to the United States Congress in 2000 and represented Indiana’s 2nd congressional district and Indiana’s 6th congressional district in the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013. He served as the chairman of the House Republican Conference from 2009 to 2011.Pence described himself as a “principled conservative” and supporter of the Tea Party movement, stating that he was “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”
Upon becoming governor of Indiana in January 2013, Pence initiated the largest tax cut in Indiana’s history and pushed for more funding for education initiatives. Pence signed bills intended to restrict abortions, including one that prohibited abortions if the reason for the procedure was the fetus’s race, gender, or disability.
After Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he encountered fierce resistance from moderate members of his party, the business community, and LGBT advocates. The backlash against the RFRA led Pence to amend the bill to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and other criteria.
Pence was inaugurated as Vice President
Pence was inaugurated as Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2017. He had withdrawn his gubernatorial reelection campaign in July to become the running mate of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who went on to win the presidential electionon November 8, 2016.
Early life and career
Michael Richard Pence was born June 7, 1959, in Columbus, Indiana, one of six children of Nancy Jane (née Cawley) and Edward Joseph Pence Jr., who ran a group of gas stations.His father served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and received the Bronze Starin 1953, which Pence displays in his office along with its commendation letter and a reception photograph.
His family were Irish CatholicDemocrats. Pence was named after his grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, who emigrated from County Sligo, Ireland, to the United States through Ellis Island, following an aunt and his brother James, and became a bus driver in Chicago, Illinois. His maternal grandmother’s parents were from Doonbeg, County Clare.
Pence graduated from Columbus North High School in 1977. He earned a BA degree in history from Hanover College in 1981, and a JDdegree from the Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis in 1986. While at Hanover, Pence joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, where he became the chapter president. Actor Woody Harrelson has said that he knew Pence while both were students at Hanover. After graduating from Hanover, Pence was an admissions counselor at the college from 1981 to 1983.
In his childhood and early adulthood, Pence was a Roman Catholic and a Democrat. He volunteered for the Bartholomew CountyDemocratic Party in 1976 and voted for Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election, and has stated that he was originally inspired to get involved in politics by people such as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. While in college, Pence became an evangelical, born-again Christian, to the great disappointment of his mother.
His political views also started shifting to the right during this time in his life, something which Pence attributes to the “common-sense conservatism of Ronald Reagan” that he began to identify with
After graduating from law school in 1986, Pence was an attorney in private practice. He ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in 1988 and in 1990. 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, a position he held until 1993.
First congressional campaign in 1988
Shortly after his first congressional campaign in 1988, radio station WRCR-FM in Rushville, Indiana, hired Pence to host a weekly half-hour radio show, Washington Update with Mike Pence. In 1992, Pence began hosting a daily talk show on WRCR, The Mike Pence Show, in addition to a Saturday show on WNDE in Indianapolis.
Pence called himself “Rush Limbaugh on decaf” since he considered himself politically conservative while not as outspoken as Limbaugh. Beginning on April 11, 1994, Network Indiana syndicated The Mike Pence Showstatewide. With a 9 a.m. to noon (ET) time slot, the program reached as many as 18 radio stations in Indiana, including WIBC in Indianapolis. Pence ended his radio show in September 1999 to focus on his 2000 campaign for Congress, which he eventually won. From 1995 to 1999, Pence hosted a weekend public affairs TV show also titled The Mike Pence Show on Indianapolis TV station WNDY.