By now, our Vice President Mike Pence has had a career as lawyer and radio broadcaster in private industry, he has spent a decade at the House of Representatives, four years as a governor, and is now the 48th Vice President of the United States. But who is he really?
The Origins of Mike Pence
Mike Pence was was born June 7, 1959 in Columbus, Indiana. He was named after his grandfather Richard Michael Cawley, who immigrated from County Sligo, Ireland. His family were Irish Catholic Democrats and he attended Hanover College in 1981 and earned a JD from Indiana University in Indianapolis in 1986. He volunteered for the Democratic Party in 1976 and voted in the 1980 Presidential election for Democrat Jimmy Carter. He has said he was inspired into politics by Democrat John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.
Before the early 80’s, Pence was a Democrat. He had been a devout Catholic like his family and it wasn’t until he was in law school that he experienced changes in his religion to become to an Evangelical Christian. At the same time, he changed his political views from a Democrat to a Republican, considering himself to be a “Christian first, then a Conservative and finally a Republican”.
He has led a very conservative life along with his wife, Karen, whom he married in 1985. According to the Washington Post, “in 2002, Mike Pence told The Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.” They have three children. One of which is actively seeking to become a pilot with the United States Marine Corps. At this time he is a first lieutenant.
Mike Pence was Indiana’s 50th governor from 2013 to 2017. He became well known when he was chosen to run in Donald Trump’s Presidential ticket and became the 48th Vice President of the United States.
Mike Pence and LGBT Rights
Pence has been consistently pro-life and is a proponent of anti-gay laws for his state and the country. According to Ken Thomas of Associated Press, “Pence signed a controversial ‘religious freedom’ bill in 2015 that allowed businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians by allowing them to cite religious beliefs as a reason for denying services.”
Pence, further, being very proactive against the LGBT community, stood up when the following laws/issues were about to pass. According to Time Magazine’s Will Drabold, he has the following views on the LGBT community:
- He said gay couples signaled ‘societal collapse’.
- He opposed a law that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace.
- He opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
- He rejected the Obama administration directive on transgender bathroom.
Mike Pence and Education
As it pertains to education it is entirely possible Pence or his wife Karen Pence, a former educator, suggested the Betsy DeVos appointment. As writer Scott Elliot noted through his non-profit organization called the Chalkbeat:
“Each year since his election, Pence has spoken at an annual school choice rally at the statehouse, affirming his strong support for publicly funded vouchers to pay private school tuition for low- and middle-income families and for charter schools, which are publicly funded but managed independently from school districts.”
Throughout his tenure, as Indiana’s governor, Pence has been an advocate for Voucher Programs, Charter Schools and Preschools. Before he won the governorship, the state of Indiana had adopted school “Common Core” standards. But once Pence took over as governor, he got rid of them.
45 other states adopted the “Common Core” standards and they are generally seen as very successful. Yet, according to the Chalkbeat, “Despite successful advocacy for more funding for pre-schools, voucher programs, and charter schools, Pence has frequently clashed with teachers’ unions and supporters of public schools.”
In retrospect, was it Betsy DeVos’ idea to push for Charter Schools and to stop funding so many Public School Programs, or was it Mike Pence’s initiative? The implications of appointing DeVos, as Secretary of Education, to our Public Schools system are enormous as she comes with zero experience and zero background. Pence is a very powerful and determined person and although he keeps a low profile, he has used such policies to undermine the public school system from early on in his political career.
Pence is a Man of Change
What has been very clear about Mike Pence is that he changes his mind quickly about things that really matter. Like in religion, he is the only one of six siblings that changed from a Catholic to an Evangelical Christian. Also, we know he abruptly changed from being a Democrat, after voting for Carter, to a Republican, inspired by a conservative lifestyle.
In the choosing of private education, rather than public education, Pence is accused of favoring a certain class. At the same time, women’s rights or the struggles LGBT community are not anywhere near the top of his list. Where do his loyalties lay?
Is Pence Loyal to Trump?
Pence is very aware of what is expected of him as a Vice President according to the Constitution. He also knows that this may mean that he might have to become the President if Trump stumbles and he is called upon to step into Donald Trump’s shoes. Pence is quietly awaiting his turn because he’s next in line to an unstable leader.
Trump’s Presidency has been nothing more than self-serving, overly dramatic, and shameful period for the country even though his term is still young. Many critics have now even gone as far to suggest that he might even be senile.
So is Mike Pence just biding his time and waiting for his opportunity? Pence can become President under the 25th Amendment, Section 1 which states, “In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.” It definitely seems like he’s waiting calmly and with a sneaky smile! I think he has probably been praying on it a whole lot!
Mike Pence became a Republican surely hoping to reach the highest office and, in this way he can get there. The major barrier to his taking the Presidency surely is that with the Trump campaign under investigation, it is entirely possible the findings will implicate Pence himself. He certainly was in the transition team and participated in decisions as to who would be in the administration and who would not.
If the Trump campaign is found to have colluded with the Russian election meddling scandal then it is a real possibility that Pence knew all along. Will it be enough to cause him the Presidency? This will be a show stopper! Who then? Paul Ryan?