On Tuesday, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence meets his Democratic counterpart, Tim Kaine, in a 90-minute debate. Here's what you need to know about the man who could be "one heartbeat away from the presidency."
Before serving in elected office, Mike Pence hosted a local radio talk show in Indiana, where he described himself as "Rush Limbaugh on decaf." Pence's name has long been mentioned in the national conversation; he was considered as a top candidate for president heading into both 2008 and 2012 before declining to run.
On July 15, Donald Trump tapped the Indiana governor to round out his presidential ticket.
Name: Michael Richard Pence
Previous Elected Experience:
- U.S. House of Representatives, Indiana 2nd District (2001-2003)
- U.S. House of Representatives, Indiana 6th District (2003-2013)
- Governor, Indiana (2013 - Present)
Matter of Faith:
- Gov. Mike Pence grew up as an altar boy and went to a parochial school. Later, he made a "commitment to Christ" while taking part in a Christian student group in college. He has described himself as a "Christian, a conservative, and a Republican. In that order.
On the Issues:
- Abortion: Pence has long been a champion of pro-life causes; as a member of the House of Representatives he sought to defund Planned Parenthood. He has called Roe vs. Wade "the worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott." As governor, he signed into law several bills that aimed to ban abortion based upon race, gender, or suspected disabilities.
- Economy: Under Mike Pence's tenure as governor of Indiana, the Hoosier State outpaced the rest of the country in job creation. Much of that was due to gains in the manufacturing sector, which added 30,000 factory jobs. Pence has cut taxes, cut the number of government employees in his state, and guided Indiana to a $2 billion surplus and the nation's highest credit rating.
- Education: As a congressman, Pence was just one of two dozen Republicans to vote against President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" Act. He supports merit pay for teachers, has invested scholarships for pre-K education, and opposed the Common Core program championed by his predecessor.
- Environment: Pence is a skeptic of manmade global warming, and has refused to comply with President Obama's expansive plan to address climate change. He said the regulations were "ill conceived and poorly constructed," would "raise electricity costs" and "impede economic growth and prosperity in Indiana."
- Guns: Gov. Mike Pence has an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. He has fought to ban liability lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers when the firearms are used criminally. He has fought for concealed carry laws and signed a resolution commending the NRA's "Eddie Eagle" for his firearm safety program.
- Health Care: Pence has likened the Supreme Court's decision to uphold "Obamacare" to the 9/11 attacks - and later apologized for that remark. He also owns the distinction of being the only person to have voted against the Affordable Care Act in Congress - and then implemented the law's Medicaid expansion as governor. His "Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0" began covering all adults ages 19-64 with income from 0-138 percent of the poverty level, for a small premium or copayment.
- Immigration: As a congressman, Mike Pence has cited his grandfather, who had immigrated to the United States from Ireland, when describing his views on immigration policy. He supported President Bush's 2006 push to get a comprehensive immigration reform passed. He supports his running mate's plan to build a wall and "enforce the laws that are on the books." He's also a vocal opponent of amnesty, saying those who want to gain legal status "will have to leave this country."
- Individual Rights: Pence has called homosexuality a "choice" and said "societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family." A year prior to becoming a vce presidential hopeful, Pence was in the national news for signing a bill designed to protect religious freedom in his state, specifically to address Indiana business owners who did not want to participate in same-sex weddings because of their beliefs. Critics said Pence was "sanctioning discrimination." After taking heat and enduring the threat of boycotts, Pence signed an amendment that the original supports claimed "neutered" the bill, as it specified that the law did NOT authorize business to "refuse to offer or provide services" based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Want more? CBN's David Brody sat down with Gov. Mike Pence prior to his selection as Trump's vice president.
Gov. Mike Pence meets with Sen. Tim Kaine in Tuesday's vice presidential debate Oct.4 at 9 p.m. ET. Bookmark CBNNews.com for the latest news and updates.