Mike Pence, the vice-presidential running made of Republican nominee Donald Trump, has always described himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order."
Chosen by Trump earlier this year to be his running mate, Pence has been viewed by many as a “safe choice,” having served for many years as a Republican and being closely associated with both the grassroots and the party establishment.
While he does not speak as candidly as Trump, Pence has a very strong faith that shapes everything he does as a politician. Even the way he addresses issues, refusing to throw personal attacks at his opponents, is rooted to a conviction he learned years ago.
"I think negative personal attacks have no place in elective politics," Pence said back in 2012. "I just think, as I wrote back in 1991, that negative campaigning I now know is wrong. It's wrong to use one's brief moment in a political debate to talk about what's wrong with your opponent, as opposed to what's right with your ideas."
The Indiana governor took the heat last year when he signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which gives business owners the right to refuse services to LGBT customers that would compromise their beliefs. Pence signed the legislation after the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.
He suffered an intense backlash because of the RFRA. On April this year, Pence signed a revision to the bill that exempted local communities with protection for gender identity and sexual orientation but not before defending the legislation’s original version in an interview.
Pence is also a staunch supporter of the pro-life movement and has consistently fought against abortion. He was widely criticized for signing a bill this year that lifted abortion restrictions for fetuses with disability. The bill also mandated that aborted babies be given proper funerals.
The legislation was considered too extreme even by fellow Republicans. It was later on blocked by a federal judge because it apparently hindered women’s rights to choose.
He has consistently opposed the funding of Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion services. Pence clarified that he wasn’t against women’s health care, but he wanted to defund Planned Parenthood to stop its abortion services.
"I don't think we have to make a choice between respecting the values of taxpayers and providing resources for women's health," he said. "We can do both of these at the same time."
Pence’s pro-life stance is deeply rooted from his early years of Catholic background and later on from his convictions as a born again believer.
Pence boasts of six terms as a U.S. congressman. He graduated from Hanover College and proceeded to study law at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law. He also became a radio and TV host. He was voted as governor of Indiana in 2012.
He has been married to wife Karen since 1985, and they have three adult children: Michael, Charlotte and Audrey. For Pence, the two things that influence him greatly are "my Christian faith and my relationship with Karen."