Michael Richard Pence (born June 7, 1959) is an American politician serving as the 48th and current vice president of the United States since 2017. He was the 50th governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017 and served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013.
Pence was born and raised in Columbus, Indiana, and is the younger brother of U.S. representative Greg Pence. He graduated from Hanover College and earned a law degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law before entering private practice. After losing two bids for a congressional seat in 1988 and 1990, he became a conservative radio and television talk show host from 1994 to 1999. Pence was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000 and represented Indiana’s 2nd and 6th congressional districts from 2001 to 2013. He served as the chairman of the House Republican Conference from 2009 to 2011. Pence described himself as a “principled conservative” and supporter of the Tea Party movement, saying he was “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order”.
Pence successfully sought the Republican nomination for the 2012 Indiana gubernatorial election when term-limited Mitch Daniels retired. He defeated former Indiana House speaker John R. Gregg in the closest gubernatorial election in 50 years. Upon becoming governor in January 2013, Pence initiated the largest tax cut in Indiana’s history and pushed for more funding for education initiatives. Pence signed bills intended to restrict abortions, including one that prohibited abortions if the reason for the procedure was the fetus’s race, gender, or disability. After Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he encountered fierce resistance from moderate members of his party, the business community, and LGBT advocates. The backlash against the RFRA led Pence to amend the bill to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and other criteria.
Pence withdrew his gubernatorial reelection campaign in July 2016 to become the running mate of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who went on to win the 2016 presidential election. He was inaugurated as vice president of the United States on January 20, 2017. As vice president, Pence has chaired the National Space Council since it was reestablished in June 2017. In February 2020, Pence was appointed chairman of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which was established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
Pence and Trump lost their bid for re-election in the 2020 United States presidential election to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, although the Trump campaign has refused to concede and has filed unsubstantiated lawsuits in multiple states, alleging voter fraud, and has refused to cooperate with the transition.