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, in office since January 20, 2017. He previously was the 50th Governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017 and a member of the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013.
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 and represented Indiana’s 2nd congressional district and Indiana’s 6th congressional district in the United States 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.
On November 8, 2016, Pence was elected Vice President of the United States. Pence had previously withdrawn his gubernatorial reelection campaign in July to become the running mate of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who went on to win the presidential election that fall.
On November 8, 2016, Pence was elected Vice President of the United States as Trump’s running mate.
Soon after the election, he was appointed chairman of President-elect Trump’s transition team. During the transition phase of the Trump administration, Pence was reported as holding a large degree of influence in the administration due to his roles as a mediator between Trump and congressional Republicans, for reassuring conservatives about Trump’s conservative credentials, and his influence in determining Donald Trump’s cabinet.
Pence is the sixth U.S. Vice President from Indiana, following Schuyler Colfax (1869–1873), Thomas A. Hendricks (1885), Charles W. Fairbanks (1905–1909), Thomas R. Marshall (1913–1921) and Dan Quayle (1989–1993).
On January 20, 2017, at noon, Pence became the 48th Vice President of the United States, sworn into the office by Justice Clarence Thomas, using Ronald Reagan’s Bible, opened to 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”, which is the same verse Reagan used for his swearing-ins as governor and President. Pence also used his personal Bible which he opens every morning.
Mike and Karen Pence have been married since 1985. The two met while he was in law school at Indiana University. They have three children. During Pence’s service in the House, his family lived in Arlington, Virginia when Congress was in session and in Columbus, Indiana during recesses. Pence’s son is a first lieutenant and training to be a pilot in the United States Marine Corps. Pence has five siblings. His oldest brother, Greg, is running to represent Indiana’s 6th congressional district in Congress in 2018. After his father died, Pence’s mother, Nancy, married Basil Coolidge Fritsch, a widower since 2001.
The Pences have four pets currently: a cat, a dog, a rabbit, and a snake. Their rabbit, named Marlon Bundo, was featured in two children’s books, both released in March 2018. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo was written by Jill Twiss and released on March 18, 2018. Marlon Bundo’s: A Day in the Life of the Vice President was written by Pence’s daughter Charlotte and released on March 19, 2018.
Pence was raised in a Catholic family, served as an altar server, and attended parochial school. He became a born-again Christian in college, while a member of a nondenominational Christian student group, and identified his first year – and specifically “a Christian music festival in Asbury, Kentucky, in the spring of 1978” referring to the Ichthus Music Festival at then Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky – as the moment he made a “commitment to Christ.” After that point, Pence continued to attend Mass (where he met his wife) and was a Catholic youth minister. Pence called himself Catholic in a 1994 news piece, although by 1995, he and his family had joined an evangelical megachurch, the Grace Evangelical Church. In 2013, Pence said his family was “kind of looking for a church.” He has described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” and as “a born-again, evangelical Catholic.”
When asked by Chris Matthews in 2009 if he believed in evolution, Pence said “I believe with all my heart that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them. How he did that, I’ll ask him about some day.” In a 2002 statement on the floor of the House of Representatives (reported in the Congressional Record), Pence told his colleagues “… I also believe that someday scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rational explanation for the known universe.”
Pence adheres to the Billy Graham rule, in which husbands avoid spending time alone with women to whom they are not married.