CLEVELAND – He’s a family man, a former congressman, a loyal friend and a governor.
And now that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has tapped him to be his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is a vice presidential contender.
Trump selected the least publicly well-known person on his short list. Unlike the others, Pence was an enigma to everyday Americans.
Those who know the governor well, or who have followed his political career, say that he is consensus-builder, someone who is intent on gathering information and viewpoints from a variety of sources before arriving at a decision.
But some Latinos – even Republican Hispanics – say Pence’s past votes for hard line immigration measures are a concern. They see his selection not so much mitigating, but further cementing Trump’s no-nonsense approach to immigration.
A close friend and political ally of Spence’s, Indiana GOP Chairman Jeff Cardwell, told Fox News Latino that Pence – whom he has known for 30 years – will round out the Trump ticket with long legislative experience, conservative credentials and longtime interest and knowledge about trade, foreign policy and immigration.
“He’s worked very hard on foreign affairs, immigration policy,” Cardwell said while standing beside the Indiana delegation on the convention floor at Quicken Loans Arena. “He’s going to bring a lot to the table. He’s going to bring balance to the ticket with Donald Trump.”
“We have a huge Hispanic community in Indiana,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of work in the Hispanic community – both here, in the U.S. and abroad.”
Cardwell said Pence has been a firm supporter of efforts to improve Latino neighborhoods.
“I had him out on some construction sites, pounding nails, Cardwell said. “[Pence] has been very helpful with raising awareness of the great need” in Latino and immigrant communities.
Pence’s legislative record in Congress and actions as governor, reflect a hard line approach to immigration.
He voted for denying birthright citizenship to children born to undocumented immigrants; he voted in favor of mandating that English be the nation’s official language and was in favor of hospitals reporting undocumented immigrant who received treatment.
Cardwell said that Pence’s positions on immigration are consistent with his views on law and order. And both issues, he said, are “very near and dear to his heart.”
“Our national security is of utmost importance,” he said. “Without our security and freedom and liberties, nothing else matters.”
Many Latinos were hoping that Trump would choose a running mate with more nuanced ideas of how to handle undocumented immigrants.
“It sounds terrible,” Republican National Hispanic Assembly Chairman Gonzalo J. Ferrer said about Pence’s positions on immigration. “We do need to be a country of laws, nobody is saying no. Latinos want that. But stop deporting relatives. If someone will deport grandma,” he added, they aren’t likely to get a vote.
“You vote with your head and your heart,” Ferrer told FNL.
Cardwell says Latinos will benefit from Pence’s record of creating more than 150,000 jobs.
“More people [in Indiana] are working today than ever before,” he said. “We’re all looking for better paying jobs, and that’s what America has to look forward to.”
Asked about Trump’s high unfavorable rating among Latinos, Cardwell urges the community to get their own information about the mogul and Pence.
“People need to take the time to get to know Donald Trump and get to know Mike Pence,” Cardwell said. “As they’re traveling across the country, [Latinos] should come to the rallies, ask the questions, be involved. This is very important. This is the time for America to get engaged.”