Karen turned 62 on January 1 (she was born in 1955). She grew up in Indianapolis and is a Butler University grad. She was an elementary teacher, and met her future husband when he noticed her playing guitar during Mass at St Thomas Aquinas church. Mike Pence later proposed as the two walked along an Indianapolis canal, feeding the ducks.
Mike Pence was a lawyer at the time, although before they married he told Karen, “‘In my 50s, I’d like to run for Congress.”
“It was fine with me,” Karen said. “I didn’t know much about politics.” She would learn, though. After a few losses, Pence was elected to the House of Representatives in 2001 and has served there ever since, until he was elected Indiana governor in November 2012, to succeed current governor Mitch Daniels. Karen has taught elementary art in both public and private schools, taking time off to raise her children when they were small.
Mike and Karen Pence — Children
The Pences initially feared they were unable to have children. After applying with an adoption agency and learning they were among five couples a mom-to-be was considering for her baby, they ended up with a surprise: they were expecting a baby themselves! They now have a son, 24-year-old Michael, who is a Purdue grad and a Marine Corps officer. He married Sarah Whiteside in December 2016, in a ceremony in the Indiana Governor’s Mansion. The Pences also have two daughters. Twenty-three-year-old Charlotte just graduated from DePaul with a degree in cinema and English, and she was seen on the Presidential campaign trail often with her parents. 21-year-old Audrey attends Northeastern where she studies journalism.
Karen’s empty nest will likely be a busy place as she fixes up the governor’s mansion and indulges in her hobby of art. She loves watercolors and has sold her paintings at art fairs. As far as her plans as first lady, Karen is waiting to see how things go: “We are not long-term planners. We never have been,” she said. “The great thing about being the first lady is you can just be yourself.”
Karen Pence, Businesswoman
Karen has also begun a small business — That’s My Towel, which sells charms to identify beach towels. The Pences reported under $1000 in earnings for the business, and it has been put on hold while Mrs. Pence campaigns this fall, but possibly it will open again in the future.
I’m proud that Indiana is setting itself apart from our nation — which is rapidly being buried in debt — by remaining in the black and on-budget. I feel certain Mike Pence will continue this legacy, and I wish him and Karen all the best!