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Mike Pence Offers Solid Conservative Background to Trump Ticket

  • VOA News

In this Feb. 19, 2010 file photo, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., gestures while addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.

In this Feb. 19, 2010 file photo, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., gestures while addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.

In the months since being named Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence has, for the most part, proven to be a loyal supporter to the billionaire.

While being regularly called into action to support statements made by Trump or his family, he has, at times, not been afraid to speak his own mind.

Michael Richard “Mike” Pence was born on June 7, 1959, in Columbus, Indiana. One of six children of Nancy and Edward Pence, a U.S. Army veteran who operated a series of gas stations, Mike Pence was politically influenced by the Irish Catholic leanings of his family.

He grew up idolizing former President John F. Kennedy and volunteered for the local Democratic Party as a high school student.

WATCH: Pence as Trump's running mate

Pence graduated from Hanover College with a degree in history and moved to Indianapolis in 1983 to attend the Indiana University McKinney School of Law, graduating in 1986 and 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. Referring to himself as "Rush Limbaugh on decaf," Pence was unapologetic in his support of a conservative agenda, but was commended for his level-headed manner and willingness to listen to opposing views.

Pence revived his political career by running for Congress again in 2000, this time winning a seat. His political position had changed drastically by then. He likes to describe himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order."

He also made it clear that he was not the one to toe the party line.

FILE - Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks as his wife Karen, looks on at the opening ceremony for the Cops Cycling for Survivors fundraising bike ride in Indianapolis, July 11, 2016.

FILE - Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks as his wife Karen, looks on at the opening ceremony for the Cops Cycling for Survivors fundraising bike ride in Indianapolis, July 11, 2016.

He opposed President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind education policy in 2001, as well as the Medicare prescription drug expansion the following year. In doing so, he sealed his reputation as a man of strong convictions, and easily won reelection five times.

Pence ran for and won the governorship of Indiana in 2012. He drew nationwide attention last year when he signed a religious freedom bill into law.

Pence said it would extend legal protections to Indiana business owners who didn't want to participate in same-sex weddings, citing their religious beliefs; opponents argued that he was sanctioning discrimination.

Similarly, he came under fire in the spring of 2016 for signing a bill that prohibits abortions when the fetus has a disability.

Pence has been married to his wife, Karen, since 1985. A former elementary school teacher, Karen has also been involved with youth-related nonprofit organizations. The couple has three adult children: Michael, Charlotte and Audrey.

In Photos: Mike Pence through the years

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