Pence, Mike (Michael Richard Pence), 1959–, U.S. politician, b. Columbus, Ind., grad. Hanover College, 1981, Indiana Univ. law school, 1986. A Republican, he twice ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives before he won the first of his six terms in 2000. A social conservative who had hosted a talk radio program (1993–99), Pence was a member of the Tea Party caucus in the House, and served as chairman (2009–11) of the House Republican Conference. He then was elected (2012) governor of Indiana. He subsequently gained national notice for signing a
religious freedombill that was widely regarded as potentially permitting religious conservatives to discriminate against gays and possibly religious minorities; business and other opposition subsequently forced Indiana to modify the law to include antidiscrimination language. In 2016 Pence was chosen by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to be his running mate, and the Republican ticket subsequently defeated Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine in November. He has led, from Feb., 2020, the administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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