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Charlotte Pence’s Life Lessons From The Vice President

One of the Pence family’s favorite scriptures is: “Where you go I will go and where you stay I will stay” (Ruth 1:16). It is their beacon, in good and bad times, and it helps keep their family strong. The Pence family lived out this verse when Mike was elected as an Indiana congressman in 2000. Most families would stay in their home state and commute back and forth to D.C., but they didn’t want to be apart. So, they moved with Mike to Washington. In like fashion, Charlotte also followed her parents on the Trump-Pence campaign trail in 2016. This was an exciting and challenging time for Charlotte as someone eager for new experiences but also who is an introvert. “Soon after the Republican National Convention, our security detail increased dramatically, and we had more staff than ever coordinating our every move... I remember actively reminding myself to spend time alone, which I rarely had the chance to do. When I started feeling overwhelmed or claustrophobic, I took a moment to myself—wherever I could get it—and reminded myself to breathe. I also dove into books.” Charlotte’s love for books started when she was young, and her parents always knew she would be a writer. She wrote her first book when she was only 7-years-old—a biography of her dad which he keeps in his desk drawer. Being part of a political family has been normal for her since she was a young child. She is grateful that as busy as her dad was that family dinner was always a priority. In fact, one of her dad’s mottos is “Do the right thing. Then, go home for dinner.” The importance of relationships is a common thread woven throughout each chapter—with family, with God, and in service to others. The Pence family refers to themselves as a circle. Charlotte explains, “We protect one another, and we keep our private lives inside the circle, but once you are on the inside, you are never out.”

Her father was elected Governor of Indiana, Charlotte recalls, “As Dad headed upstairs to call it a night, he stopped on the first step, looked directly at me, and gestured to the news coverage still playing in the background. He said, ‘Everything has changed, and nothing has changed.’ How I would go on to cling to those words.” She knew that their lives would change as they were thrust further into the spotlight, yet, nothing would change with their love for one another, their love for God, and with their tight family bond. Regardless of where this family moved or what they went through, Mike and Karen both taught their children that, “The safest place in the world is to be in the center of God’s will.” Charlotte remarks that what she believes her parents were trying to teach them with these words is, “… that whatever happens, happens. There are tragedies that can be prevented and there are some that can’t, and maybe the best way to cope with the unexplainable sadness that can occur in this world is to do everything we can to trust we are at the center of something bigger, a grand plan.”

Charlotte believes that people don’t have to agree on every issue. That’s what Democracy is all about. The Pence’s openly debate various issues at the family dinner table, without fighting. In fact, when they see protests, her father always says, “That’s what freedom looks like.” She says that disagreements and protests never bother her, but she admits that what does bother her is watching and listening to outsiders criticize her family. “This is the strangest part of being in a political family. This is the biggest sacrifice.”

During one of the political gatherings, in the early days when the kids were still little, families from the House and Senate came together to have fun, at an event called Pet Night. The Pence family was so excited to participate in this event! They packed up their family and all their pets—Bud the dog, their two cats, Madeleine and Pickle, and Gollum the lizard—and eagerly arrived at Capitol Hill.  As they headed up the stone steps to the offices, Charlotte explains, “I don’t know when exactly our mother found out that we had misjudged Pet Night, but it was most likely at some point after Bud tried to run away and before Madeleine threw up a hairball next to Dad’s foot as he discussed legislation with another freshman congressman.” Soon they realized that Pet Night was not ‘bring your pet night.’ It was meant for seeing famous pets from the movies, like the cat from Stuart Little, that were brought to the Capitol for the families to enjoy. Still to this day, this gathering has gone down in Pence family history. Charlotte laughingly shares that, “At the end of it all, we held our heads high as we left that night and remembered just where our place was in this crazy new life.” We were the kids, and as we lovingly referred to ourselves from that moment on, ‘The D.C. Hillbillies.’”

Charlotte made the New York Times bestseller’s list when she wrote a children’s book about her pet rabbit entitled, Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President. Second lady Karen Pence, a former art teacher, did the watercolor illustrations. This book takes children through a typical day of the Vice President of the United States, but Marlon Bundo is the star in this book. He follows Vice President Pence around Washington — to meetings with the president in the Oval Office and to the Senate, and contemplates a painting of his home state of Indiana, and a Bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Author of: Where You Go: Life Lessons from My Father (Hachette Book Group, 2018)

New York Times best-selling author of two children’s books

Daughter of VP Mike Pence

Studied English and Philosophy at Oxford for yr.

Grad, DePaul University, double major: English & Digital Cinema

Student Harvard Divinity School

Wrote articles for The DePaulia, Thought Catalog, Glamour, fiction articles for The Isis Magazine, poems for Seven Voices (both published by Oxford University)

Emmy award for documentary film, Fleeced (the Lower Great Lakes region as co-writer and associate producer).


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