Michael Richard Pence is the vice president of the United States and former governor of Indiana. President Donald Trump named Pence, 57, as his running mate in July 2016. 

Choosing Pence served to balance Trump's emphasis on trade, immigration, manufacturing jobs and terrorism with more traditional Republican priorities. Pence, a devout Christian, has achieved national prominence in conservative circles for his opposition to gay marriage and abortion. During his time as Indiana's governor, beginning in January 2013, and prior to that a 12-year stint as a House representative from Indiana, Pence built strong relationships with the so-called Republican establishment that has frequently clashed with Trump.

In 2014, Pence made headlines for signing Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which had the effect of giving business owners the right to deny service to same-sex couples based on religious convictions. A number of prominent business leaders, including Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) openly gay CEO Tim Cook, publicly condemned the law. A push to boycott the state ensued, leading the legislature to pass and Pence to sign a bill ensuring, in Pence's words, that RFRA "would not create a license to discriminate or to deny services to any individual as its critics have alleged."

Pence was born and raised in a Catholic Democratic family in Columbus, Indiana. He studied history at Hanover College, graduating in 1981, and received his law degree from Indiana University in 1986. He began to shift to the right during college, drawn by Ronald Reagan's policies and his embrace of born-again Christianity. 

Pence entered the House of Representatives in 2001. He contested the election for minority leader in 2006, but lost by a wide margin to John Boehner of Ohio. According to the New York Times, he introduced 90 bills and resolutions and passed none.

Pence, who was a member of the Tea Party Caucus, is largely a product of a pre-Trump Republican party. His views are in line with the president's when it comes to climate change (skeptical) and immigration (hard-line, particularly regarding Syrians), but he was a vocal advocate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that Trump has called a "job killer," "the death blow for American manufacturing" and evidence that "the incompetence of our current administration is beyond comprehension." Pence also appeared to contradict Trump's accommodative stance on Russia during the vice-presidential debate in October, calling President Vladimir Putin "a small and bullying leader."

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