What You Didn't Know About Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana
- Mike Pence was born June 7, 1959, in Columbus, Ind., into a family of Irish Catholic Democrats. His father, who served in Korea while in the Army, was an executive with an oil distributorship and ran a number of gas stations.
- John F. Kennedy was a hero to Pence's Irish family. Pence still holds on to a box full of Kennedy memorabilia.
- He received a bachelor's degree from Hanover College in 1981 and a J.D. from Indiana University School of Law in 1986. It was at Hanover that Pence converted to evangelical Christianity and changed his politics, inspired by Ronald Reagan's economic beliefs.
- Pence practiced law after finishing law school and, in 1991, was named president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation (a conservative think tank based in Indiana).
- In 1992, he began the Mike Pence Show, a conservative talk radio program. The show was syndicated statewide in 1994, airing weekdays on 18 radio stations. It lasted until he launched his campaign in 2000. In Indianapolis, from 1995 to 1999, Pence also hosted a Sunday morning political TV program.
- Pence made two unsuccessful bids for Congress, one in 1988 and the next in 1990. The 1990 campaign was marred by questionable campaign tactics, which Pence later expressed regret over in an article titled "Confessions of a Negative Campaigner." When he ran again in 2000, he focused on the issues and was this time victorious, elected to represent the "Hoosier values" of east-central Indiana.
- Soon after arriving in Washington, Pence had a radio studio installed in his congressional office so he could easily appear on news shows. He says he loves a good argument, and "When I see two people arguing, I walk up and say, 'Is this a private matter or can anybody get in?'"
- He describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order."
- Pence meet his wife, Karen, at an evangelical church service. She was playing guitar and he told her he wanted to join the group. Nine months later, the couple were engaged.
- The Pences have three children. They live in Columbus, Ind., except when Congress is in session, when they live in Virginia.
Almanac of American Politics, 2006
Carroll's Federal Directory
Congressional Quarterly Daily Monitor
Gannett News Service
Indianapolis Business Journal
The Indianapolis Star
New York Times
U.S.News & World Report