5 Things to Know About Mike Pence

July 14th 2016

After months of speculation, Presidential candidate Donald Trump confirmed on Friday that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will be his running mate. The decision came after a vetting process full of speculation, with both Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn emerging at times as front runners. 

Mike Pence has been the governor of Indiana since 2013, and he was Congressman before that. Here are five things you need to know about him:

1. He has ties to Koch Brothers.

Mike PenceWikimedia - wikimedia.org

Unlike Trump, who has given lip-service to Americans' concerns about the corrupting influence of money in politics, Pence has close ties to some biggest donors in the game, including Billionaire moguls the Koch Brothers. According to a 2014 POLITICO report, "a number of Pence’s former staffers from his days in Congress have assumed major roles in the brothers’ corporate and political spheres. And Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ top political group, has been holding up Pence’s work in Indiana as emblematic of a conservative reform agenda they’re trying to take nationwide."

2. He signed a bill allowing discrimination against gay people

Many will probably remember Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That's the law that passed in Indiana that allows businesses to refuse people service based on their sexual orientation. Mike Pence signed that into law, and though he amended the law after public outcry, many say it still allows for discrimination.

abortion protestYouTube/Jordan Uhl - youtube.com

3. He's signed extreme anti-abortion laws

Mike Pence has signed some of the most extreme anti-abortion laws in the country. An Indiana law that passed in March prevents women from getting an abortion if the fetus appears to have an ailment like Down syndrome, and it forces abortion providers to bury or cremate fetal tissue after an abortion. A federal judge blocked the law in June, saying that it limited abortion rights.

syrian refugeesWikimedia/Ggia - wikimedia.org

4. He tried to block refugees

Mike Pence attempted to block Syrian refugees from settling in Indiana by ordering state agencies to refuse to assist with settling the refugees. However, a federal judge ruled that his actions were discriminatory.

mike penceWikimedia/Gage Skidmore - wikimedia.org

5. He tried to block drug treatment and HIV prevention programs

As a congressman, Mike Pence voted to continue a ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs. Six years later, Pence begrudgingly signed a bill that allowed for a short-term needle exchange program in Scott County, "which had seen nearly 80 cases of HIV linked to intravenous drug users who had shared dirty needles," the Atlantic reports.

Pence would eventually extend the program, but critics said the the move was more about political expediency than fully committing to solving the public health crisis.

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