Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

April 28, 2014

MAUREEN HAYDEN: Likability is Gov. Pence’s main strength

(Continued)

After the six-term congressman won the 2012 governor’s race, the Pences moved in, along with their three children (all now in college), a dog, two cats and a rabbit.

For comfort and frugality, they brought with them their own furniture for the small private section of the residence. They bought the battered desk in Pence’s congressional office and moved that in, too.

The Governor’s Residence is an elegantly designed home that covers 10,000 square feet and includes 6 acres of landscape and lawn in an historic neighborhood on the Northside of Indianapolis.

But the Pences don’t live in a mansion; much of that space is for public use, and open for tours that can be scheduled by going to the first lady’s website, www.in.gov/gov/firstlady.

On the campaign trail, candidate Pence was a happy warrior, and he remains so today. The governor’s job, though, hasn’t proven to be an easy one for him. For two legislative sessions in a row, he’s gotten few of his legislative priorities passed intact. From the super-majority Republicans who control the General Assembly, the GOP governor has had to settle for a portion of what he wanted in tax cuts and preschool funding.

But that personal likability factor remains strong, for now, as he steps into what appears to be the testing of presidential — or vice presidential — waters. As he increases his visibility, in speeches to national groups and appearances on national news broadcasts, some big-moneyed backers are touting his candidacy.

Pence is deferring any decision until later in the year. For now, he maintains his friendly persona, even in a roomful of critical press. He’s embodying one of his favorite, and frequently repeated, sayings: “I’m a conservative, but I’m not in a bad mood about it.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana, which includes The Goshen News. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

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