Presidential Candidate Mike Pence visits NEC for Town Hall Series

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Presidential candidate and former Vice President Mike Pence spoke to a crowded room at New England College on Wednesday, as part of a Town Hall series that will air on Sirius XM radio.

Pence fielded questions from Sirius XM hosts Julie Mason and Steve Scully, as well as students and members of the public. He addressed several issues including climate change, the Jan. 6 insurrection, spending, education, and the war in Ukraine.

Pence continued to draw differences between himself and former President Donald Trump, but also praised the work that was done during the Trump-Pence administration.

“We were different men of different styles. I’m someone that believes that democracy depends on heavy doses of civility. The President had his own style,” Pence said.  

When asked about making higher education more affordable, Pence said he does not support President Joe Biden’s loan forgiveness plan.

“I’m not going to use some invented unconstitutional authority to take the taxpayer dollars of truck drivers and construction workers and use it to pay off the student loans of graduate students,” he said.

Pence proposed innovation in higher education, including online classes, and wants more focus on technical and vocational careers. 

He also criticized spending at the Department of Education and supports local control.

“I want to shut down the Federal Department of Education and send all the money back to New Hampshire and back to the states.”

On the topic of the war in Ukraine, Pence said Vladimir Putin is “without question” a war criminal.

“Our national interest is to give Ukraine what they need to stop Putin now,” he said.

Audience members had mixed reactions to the former VP’s visit.

Kay Donahue, a sophomore, said Pence was fighting for the approval of the crowd rather than answering questions.

“He likes to say that he’s right to the point, but the entire time he was complimenting people on asking questions, trying to make it seem really flowery,” Donahue said.

“He didn’t answer questions. I’d say it was about a 50/50 split of the questions he answered directly and questions he danced around,” sophomore Veronica Shore said.

When asked if he is worried about democracy, Pence said there is work to be done.

“The challenge we have is we have to make our government as good as our people.” 

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