Pence’s ‘Rap Sheet’

Yesterday’s quiz was evidently a big hit, so I thought I’d try another one. For this one, however, Hoosiers will have a big advantage.

The fact that I am no fan of Indiana Governor Mike Pence will hardly come as a surprise to readers of this blog. (I have this old-fashioned notion that people running for political office should have an interest in governing and an acquaintance with the Constitution….).

If my Facebook feed is any indication, I have a lot of company. The other day, I came across several posts identifying the various reasons Pence does not deserve re-election, and I thought it might be interesting to compile them into what I will call the Governor’s “rap sheet.”

Here, in no particular order, are the grievances I noted:

  •  In 2012, Glenda Ritz was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction with more votes than Pence received. Subsequently, the Governor has done everything in his power to obstruct Ritz, to eviscerate her authority, and (not so incidentally), to make war on public education in Indiana, by–among other things–diverting desperately needed resources to the most extensive voucher program in the country.
  • When citizens posted objections to the Governor’s priorities to his Facebook site, the negative comments mysteriously disappeared.
  •  RFRA (need I elaborate?) This bit of homophobia has cost the Indiana economy millions and has made “Hoosier Hospitality” a punch line.
  • Pence and his legislative super-majority have waged a sustained attack on women’s right to choose, and on Planned Parenthood. Tax dollars have been diverted to “pro-life” organizations, and Indiana recently passed the most draconian and offensive anti-abortion bill in the country.
  • There was the ill-fated effort to create Indiana’s very own Pravda
  • The Pence administration has been an enthusiastic supporter of  “privatized prisons.”
  • The Governor ignored the drug and HIV/AIDS epidemic in Scott County until it was a full-blown crisis, and even then was unwilling to respond with a comprehensive approach.
  • He refused to apply for a federal grant that would have supported pre-school expansion for low-income children.
  • He refused to expand Medicaid under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, despite the fact that the federal government would have paid the entire cost for 3 years and 90% thereafter; his substitute program–which became effective after a significant  delay–provides more limited healthcare to fewer Hoosiers than would otherwise have been the case.
  • He has directed Indiana’s Attorney General to spend time and money on a number of lost-cause cases: anti-LGBT efforts, resistance to environmental regulations; to rejecting refugees.

So here’s the quiz question: What have I missed?


  1. Who were the invited attendees to his signing of the original version of RFRA and why was it a behind-closed-doors ceremony?

    And, Sheila, weren’t there two different pictures of that signing?

  2. He ignored our crumbling roads until a bridge almost collapsed on I65. He then put forth the most convoluted fix for our roads and bridges. So much so the legislators didn’t even agree with it….

  3. “Saving money” by ignoring routine maintenance on decaying roads and bridges FOR YEARS. This is saving money on the cost of a filling and then having to pay the cost of a root canal and cap.

  4. Since I no longer live in Indiana, this blog gives me most of my information about it. However, I have noted that Indiana is increasingly in the national news, mostly for its horrific legislation. You could say that Pence has shown a spotlight on stupidity. Too bad it’s emanating from his office.

  5. Logging of state lands has increased a thousand per cent to the consternation of hikers, hunters, and conservationists.

  6. In today’s Star – Letters To etc- there is a testimonial to what a fine fellow Pence is and another by Pence telling us what a fine job the legislators have done this session. What a bunch of B— S—! Irvin a BAA

  7. Refused to apply for the SNAP time limit waiver, for which Indiana qualified, cutting benefits to an estimated 65,000 individuals.

  8. Immigration: The Syrian Refugee family with a four year old son was denied entrance to Indiana.” Indiana’s governor Mike Pence said the state would not accept any more Syrian refugees, citing fears that some might be terrorists in the wake of recent attacks in Paris. ”

    Guns: Pence also is a gun nut and wants to loosen gun laws in Indiana. “I believe that firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens make our communities more safe, not less safe,” Pence said. The NRA is Pence’s good buddy 🙁

  9. The Koch brothers are surely patting him on the back for being one of their poster boys by following their orders.

  10. Pence created a “shadow” Education department in 2013 when he realized that Glenda Ritz wouldn’t promote his anti-public education agenda. CECI (the Center for Education and Career Innovation) had a $3 million budget and a non-educator director that made more than Pence and Ritz combined . They obstructed anything Ms. Ritz initiated and had a lawyer with them at every State Board of Ed meeting. Many in education that followed this obstructive Pence created agency feel that it was behind the secretive emails that went out to all Board members except Ritz and they coordinated divisive opposition to nearly every thing Ritz attempted to make here appear to be ineffective as the State Superintendent.

    Pence wasted $3 million dollars on this fake agency.

    Pence facilitated and implemented obstruction and chaos within the State Board of Education.

    Pence willfully interfered with an elected official, Glenda Ritz, to prevent her from carrying out the duties of her office for his political gain.

  11. Paid a PR firm$300,000, backed out of agreement, took months to provide info after requested, and then redacted much in name of trade secrets.

  12. How about his nonexistent job creation even though many companies have received huge tax breaks. Carrier taking 1400 jobs to Mexico.

  13. Brought his congressional team of yes men puppies back here with him on the promise they’d all accompany him to the White House after one term. Ooops. RFTA & George Stephanopoulos dashed that plan–well, let’s try again in 2020. Several of the team are on the payroll of multiple departments to bump their pay higher than a typical state staffer. Isn’t there any independent auditing/oversight of this type creative accounting? Pretty sure they’re now working on his re-election campaign too while being paid by us? And you thought there were campaign finance laws…lol.

  14. It is all well and good to publish a list of Pence’s shortcomings. However, we need a Democratic Party with some fire in it to oppose him and others.

    My mind caricature of the Democratic Party in Indiana is as follows:
    A person standing in corner looking beaten, head down, shuffling his feet back and forth in the dirt, and mumbling in a voice so low you cannot make out any words. The perfect victim for the playground bully.

  15. I have signed a number of petitions to make it easier for people to register to vote, and to vote. Reading this blog and the lengthening list of additions to Pence’s Rap Sheet; I am rethinking my support. Maybe we should use this blog and the comments to require a Hoosier IQ test prior to the November gubernatorial election.

    How the hell did this fool get elected?

    Why am I asking such a stupid question of the local GOP who replaced Senator Richard Lugar with Mourdock in the Senatorial election?

  16. Cutting property tax funding at every opportunity to local governments and schools through Byzantine and secretive policies. For example, his DLGF chief, who is now state budget director, actually cut capital project money and transportation funds for schools, cities, towns, and counties when there was negative AV growth, contending that a negative number was not less than zero. The Tax Court said his interpretation was nonsensical and reversed him. The DLGF guy then went to Legislature and managed to get them to change the language so he could do it again. Finally, schools and other units showed the Legislature how idiotic that was, and the next year, the IGA reinstated the old language and ordered the DLGF to retroactively fund these programs.

    These are complicated statutes, and this is just one example of the lengths to which Pence officials have gone to cut funds to local units and schools.

  17. For this moment only I feel disadvantaged not being a Hoosier. I so wish that I could contribute to the whine.

    In my half life as a Florida resident I thought that we led the race for incompetence in governance with Rick Scott but alas and Alec (misspelling intententional) we are barely in the race. Rick’s incompetence is mostly that his answer to every question is “jobs” though his performance (as is true of all governors) is limited only having created one job, his.

    Perhaps I can blame our elective incompetence on the fact that many Hoosiers have escaped from Indiana’s beautiful wall to Florida where they are dragging us here down too.

    I read an article recently about newly found evidence of interbreeding between Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens but thought that to be limited to present day Iberia not in mid west America, but maybe more forensic biology is needed in your neighborhood.

    Clean sweep ’16. Cheaper than revolution and just as effective.

  18. I live in Illinois where we have a whole different kind if dysfunction going on. I love reading this blog because Professor Kennedy is brilliant and thought-provoking. I care about Indiana for two reasons: my son is attending IUPUI as a grad student and because I believe we are all in this together. So, I will vote in Illinois (blue) and hope that enough people will vote to make a difference for all of us.

  19. How much time do we have? Let’s see . . . while in the U.S. House, he introduced the “Broadcaster Freedom Act” (2007) to prevent reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine by the FCC within any new rules on media consolidation. Supporters of the bill said the Fairness Doctrine was “a direct assault on gospel programming around the world” and worried that the airwaves would be filled with Muslims entitled to equal time. He killed the successful Energizing Indiana program and replaced it with Senate Bill 412 (2015), which allows utilities to dictate their own energy efficiency goals and impose rate increases despite consumer efficiency. Also last year, he prompted a $2 million public relations expenditure by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to undue the damage he caused with RFRA. During his European vacation last year, his port commissioner resigned because of Pence’s support for repeal of the Common Construction Wage law. Has become the poster child for everything scary happening in state legislatures (

  20. How about sitting on a couple billion dollars in surplus gained by cutting needed services and projects? He says it’s the “rainy day” fund. The rainy day is now, Bud.

  21. The awarding of a contract for Real Alternatives that provides no healthcare or referrals for birth control and heavy pro-life efforts.

  22. It seems that the net effect of conservative government is to nearly bankrupt the country with holy wars, tax cuts, bailing out banks and sending jobs overseas or bringing overseas here by employing immigrants, and then they run the country like it’s in bankruptcy.

    It would have been great if we had just avoided their whole act but too many of us fell too hard for their entertainment.

    I hope that we at least learn from our mistakes.

  23. Indiana State Police Troopers leaving Indiana at ‘alarming rate’ for higher paying jobs!

  24. My husband and I moved here 3 years ago to be with our only child. We also thought, now we are away from Chris Christie!. What is that expression, “jumping from the frying pan into the fire?” Pence is more than Christie’s match! My big joy in driving from 86th Street to downtown is seeing the signs: Pence Must Go.

  25. Louie and Marv; I am considering Gregg is just “laying in wait” to provide the same surprise to Pence which Ballard gave Peterson in the Mayoral race. He is running unopposed; so if I were the only Indiana resident to vote for John Gregg in the primary he would still be the winner. I consider also that he is being frugal with his campaign funds due to no opposition at this time; this is proof he will also be frugal with our tax dollars and use them for the best benefit and make them last longer.

    I polished my rose-colored glasses this morning.

    Your friend,


  26. Thinking that money grows on trees, He has transformed our publicly owned state forest system into an industrial tree farm to fund 60% the agency charged with protecting our natural resources. Auctioning off the forests at below market rates to a select few logging companies.

  27. Nothing but poverty level jobs that leaves the employee being a burden to the state and state tax payers. Skyrocketing child poverty, and ignoring the financial needs of the state police causing huge numbers to seek greener pastures.

  28. He ushered in “right to work” as a means of busting unions. There has been no “new” money for public education during his term. Consequently, public school educators and staff have not received salary increases for 4+ years.

  29. Sheila, why don’t you forward this list to John Zody or Timothy Lanane and to Gregg, just in case they haven’t come up with this list on their own.

  30. Whether you have 35 or 105 items, each one demonstrating the foolishness of Mike Pence and our legislators, for many out there, ideology trumps data every time.

  31. As for our ‘surplus’, let’s not forget IN still owes the Feds $2B in boworred Unemployment funds that we’re just making interest payments on with special assessments on businesses. (I know, I pay the bill)

  32. Don’t forget the stupidity associated with Common Core — Indiana backed off of the Common Core only to come up with slightly different standards so that our empty suit governor could appease the lunatic fringe with “Indiana-developed standards” — but the changing standards ended up costing the state millions more in that they were not being tested by ISTEP (as Common Core already was) This led to increasing chaos with the testing program and Indiana schools, blah blah blah…..oh, the inhumanity of it all.

  33. its is well know that starting with Pence, the entire Indiana assembly has signed it’s soul to ALEC and the tea party. I laughed when one of you wondered in he would veto the bill before him now. He’s rather take a chance on missing church.

    Plain and simple we have to get rid of the lightweights in the government and replace them with Pols who may have worse hair but better sense!

    When they say they are for jobs, ask them if it’s the gov job they’re after cause they sho ain’t bringing shit to Indiana.

  34. Thomas, I’m pretty sure that $250 million unemployment bill was paid off in November 2015.


    Read about the backlash from Atlanta, GA, similar to the backlash against Mike Pence over the bogus “Religious Freedom” draconian legislation. Looks like the craven governors are going to sink the issue under “pocket veto”. We can accept that as long at it is a veto but we’d rather “Pennies” would have the bills simply to veto the ball despite orders from flatulent GOP bosses.

  36. The Star today, March 24th, headlines, “ABORTION BILL PUTS PENCE IN SPOTLIGHT”. To me, being in the spotlight sounds positive but…the article begins, “Gov. Mike Pence is once again at the center of a national debate over a divisive issue.” That is a major negative issue and situation. Just the way Republicans report news in this area.

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