Love him or hate him, President-elect, Donald J. Trump has gotten a massive amount of attention in the news.
But what about the Vice President-elect, Mike Pence?
The news channels dance around Pence and his past. But I am curious as to who we have elected into office. On the Republican ticket, Mike Pence was the only one with a political background. While Trump is our President-elect it is important to note that he will be getting a massive amount of help from his VP, who has been in the political circuit for sixteen years. As a result, we know more about what his political agenda might be like as the second in command.
Mike Pence began his political career in 2000 when he was elected to congress to represent Indiana. During his six terms in the House of Representatives, Pence moved up within the ranks. By 2008 he was elected to the GOP’s number three spot, Republican Conference Chairman. This position allowed him to create the Republican party’s message.
Interestingly enough, Mike Pence was encouraged by the Republican party to run for President in 2012. However he decided to run for Governor of Indiana.
While governor, Mike Pence passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, an Act that shook the country. In 2015 Pence signed an Act that allowed the business owners of Indiana to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Business owners could use their religious beliefs as an excuse not to serve gays and lesbians. President Obama even took the opportunity to come at Mike Pence and the Act during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, “We’ve gotten so close that in some places in Indiana, they won’t serve us pizza anymore.” Obama said, jokingly suggesting that Vice President Joe Biden and himself were a gay couple.
Even though the bill was amended to explicitly say that it does not sanction discrimination, it is still an enormous part of Pence’s career and beliefs. Currently a bill for the ban of abortions on fetuses diagnosed with down syndrome is awaiting action by Mike Pence. This would take away a woman’s right to decide whether she is ready and willing to have a child. This bill outlines that the doctor may not perform an abortion if the woman’s reason is a diagnosis, race, sex, or nationality. All of the bills that Pence voted and will vote to pass or not must be looked at and analyzed by us, the citizens of the United States.
While there are many concerning attributes about Mike Pence and his career, it is important to recognize his upsides. While in Congress, Mike Pence was one of the few Republicans who voted against the No Child Left Behind act. If you are unfamiliar with the No Child Left Behind, it increases the amount of standardized tests. It’s goal was to help the U.S. thrive and solve the issue of failing schools. Instead this act attacks teachers, stresses the students, and does not get the intended results. No Child Left Behind, created during the Bush Presidency, caused an uproar in the education system. Many states have worked to reform it and cater it to their education system. In 2015, Obama passed a new version of the No Child Left Behind act that would reduce the role of the federal government. Using Indiana as a model, we can anticipate Pence’s general views. From this information we should be able to know which issues to hold a stronger stance on.
Just like it is our duty to push Pence on the issues that we care about, it is our duty to know exactly who is sitting in the White House aiding Donald Trump. Now more than ever must the American people be informed on politics. We must be informed about each election, whether that be for the House or for the governors of our states. We must be informed about the bills that the Congress will be working on. We must be informed on who Donald Trump’s cabinet will be, which currently includes Mike Pompeo as Director of the C.I.A., Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Rex. W. Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, for Secretary of State, and many more.
The Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson has sparked much controversy. Rex Tillerson is the CEO of Exxon, a company which has many dealings around the world and most prominently Russia. Tillerson was even awarded the Order of Friendship from Vladimir Putin. With all the scandals that Russia has been involved in pertaining to the U.S. this should not come as a shock, yet it’s repercussions are causing many to worry, predominantly other nations.
The picks that do not require approval include; Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff, Michael T. Flynn as National Secretary Advisor, Donald F. McGahn II as White House Counsel and Steve Bannon as Political Strategist.
Just a friendly reminder as I continue to read about all the possible ways President-elect Trump could be impeached, remember who is next in line (Mike Pence). Read up on politics and exercise your rights as a U.S. citizen.
For those of us who did not have the opportunity to vote in this election, do not worry and do not give up. In the next two years we will have the chance to voice our opinions and elect into Congress those who will represent our beliefs best. Keep on researching, our time to speak will be here before you know it.