Early life and career
Michael Richard "Mike" Pence was born June 7, 1959, in
Columbus, Indiana, one of six children of Nancy Jane (née Cawley) and Edward Joseph Pence Jr. (1929–1988),
 who ran a group of gas stations.
 His father served in the U.S. Army during the
Korean War and received the
Bronze Star in 1953, which Pence displays in his office along with its commendation letter and a reception photograph.
 His family were
 Pence was named after his grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, who emigrated from
County Sligo, Ireland, to the United States through
Ellis Island, following an aunt and his brother James, and became a
bus driver in Chicago, Illinois.
 His maternal grandmother's parents were from
Pence graduated from
Columbus North High School in 1977. He earned a
BA degree in history from
Hanover College in 1981, and a
JD degree from the
Robert H. McKinney School of Law in
Indianapolis in 1986.
 While at Hanover, Pence joined the
Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, where he became the chapter president.
 After graduating from Hanover, Pence was an admissions counselor at the college from 1981 to 1983.
In his childhood and early adulthood, Pence was a
Roman Catholic and a
Democrat. He volunteered for the
Bartholomew County Democratic Party in 1976 and voted for
Jimmy Carter in the
1980 presidential election,
 and has stated that he was originally inspired to get involved in politics by people such as
John F. Kennedy and
Martin Luther King Jr.
 While in college, Pence became an evangelical,
born-again Christian, to the great disappointment of his mother.
 His political views also started shifting to the right during this time in his life, something which Pence attributes to the "common-sense conservatism of
Ronald Reagan" that he began to identify with.
After graduating from law school in 1986, Pence was an attorney in private practice.
 He ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in 1988 and in 1990. In 1991, he became the president of the
Indiana Policy Review Foundation, a self-described
think tank and a member of the
State Policy Network.
Pence left the Indiana Policy Review Foundation in 1993, a year after beginning to host The Mike Pence Show, a
talk radio program based in
 Pence called himself "
Rush Limbaugh on decaf" since he considered himself politically conservative while not as outspoken as Limbaugh.
 The show was syndicated by Network Indiana and aired weekdays 9 a.m. to noon (ET) on 18 stations throughout the state, including
WIBC in Indianapolis.
 From 1995 to 1999, Pence also hosted a weekend political talk show from Indianapolis.