Michael Pence is the 48th vice president of the United States and former governor of the state of Indiana.
Mike Pence was born in 1959 in Columbus, Indiana to an Irish-Catholic family. He has a B.A in history from Hanover University and a law degree from the University of Indiana.
Pence strongly identifies as a Christian, and many of his policies as lawmaker have been influenced by his beliefs.
Before entering politics, Pence worked as a lawyer for two years and as a host on radio and television, where he became a well known public figure in his home state.
Pence has been married to Karen Pence since 1985. The couple has three children.
In 1988 and 1990 Pence held two failed campaigns for the US House of Representatives. In 2000 he ran again and succeeded, taking office in 2001. He served as a Republican in Congress for six terms, and pushed for various conservative policy changes.
In 2012 Pence ran for governor of Indiana. His campaign focused on economic issues such as tax cuts and job growth. After a narrow win, he took office in 2013.
In 2015 Pence garnered national attention when he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The law, intended to allow individuals the freedom to practice their religious beliefs, was claimed by opponents to enable discrimination against the LGBT community by giving religious leaders the right to refuse to marry same-sex couples. As a result, Pence signed an amendment to the law prohibiting the denial of service on the basis of sexual orientation, race, religion, or disability.
In 2016 Pence was again put in the national spotlight after signing a bill that prohibits abortions in cases where the fetus has a disability.
In July, 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump selected Pence as his running mate for that year’s elections. Pence would provide Trump with political experience, which the presidential candidate lacked, and mainstream Republican support.
After narrowly beating Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, Pence took office along with President Trump in January 2017.
On Israel and the Middle East
Pence is a staunch Israel supporter. In 2010, along with some 300 other US congress members, he signed a declaration reaffirming their commitment to the “unbreakable bond between the US and the State of Israel.”
Pence supported the initial US invasion of Iraq.
In January 2018, weeks after Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Pence visited the region, including Jerusalem and the Western Wall. While he fostered good relations with Israel and Christian minorities in the region, he and King Abdullah of Jordan “agreed to disagree”, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet with him.
Pence also visited Afghanistan in December 2017 order to demonstrate the United State’s commitment to the region’s stability.
Other Political Stances
As a Christian conservative, Pence is strongly opposed to abortion and has been taking steps to defund Planned Parenthood since 2007. He has been part of efforts to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana.
On immigration, Pence supports building a border wall with Mexico and other security measures. In 2010, he voted against the DREAM act, which would grant children of undocumented immigrants in the US lawful permanent resident status if they met certain conditions.