If Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump introduces Indiana Gov. Mike Pence today as his pick for vice president, it would launch his hometown of Columbus into the spotlight of national politics.
Inside The Commons near the playground area, Glenn Seeley of Columbus said Thursday that it would be a great move for Trump to choose Pence.
“If he (Trump) wants to win, he needs Pence,” Seeley said.
Describing Pence as a great individual — not just for Columbus but also for Indiana, Seeley said Pence would make a great vice president.
“It would give me some security,” said Seeley, an independent who has lived in Columbus since 1977, of a Trump-Pence Republican ticket.
“I think Trump has some great ideas but not a lot of political background,” he said. “Pence would bring some balance to that.”
Liz Kays of Columbus went to high school with Pence and said she competed on the speech team at Columbus North High School with him.
She remembered Pence as a talented speaker, something he’s been known for since high school, she said.
“I’m so excited about it,” she said of the possibility of Pence being chosen as a vice presidential nominee.
Kays said she had hoped to get out to the Bartholomew County Fair on Monday night when Pence visited at the fairgrounds and said she would have loved to just say hello, even though she’s unsure if Pence would remember her.
“He’s got the small-town values, and he looks out for people and for small business,” Kays said, describing what Pence would bring to Donald Trump’s candidacy.
But not everyone said they believe Pence would be the right pick for vice president.
Cindy Yost of Columbus was blunt in her assessment of Trump and Pence as a potential vice presidential choice.
“Well, I don’t like Trump, and I don’t like Pence,” she said Thursday as she walked through downtown.
Saying she particularly disliked Trump’s “mouthiness,” she said she was also disappointed in Pence’s support last year of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and its effect on Indiana.
“It’s great that he wants to stand up with his values,” Yost said of Pence. “I just don’t think he should be forcing his values on everyone else.”
Emily Stone of Nashville, who was also walking downtown Thursday after lunch, said she is not particularly a fan of either Trump or Pence.
“It just makes me nervous,” she said. “I don’t like the way he (Pence) pushed our state around, and I’m worried about the direction he will take our nation,” she said.
Stone said she was particularly disappointed in Pence’s handling of Indiana’s educational system and how she said she believes he has treated Indiana’s teachers.
“I have so many friends who are school teachers,” she said. “It’s very stressful for them — not knowing whether they will have a job from year to year and buying their own supplies.”
Columbus City Councilman Tom Dell, a Democrat, was at his menswear store in downtown Columbus on Thursday afternoon and predicted that Pence as a vice presidential nominee could only have good repercussions for Columbus — especially for tourism.
“From that standpoint, it’s a big benefit,” he said.
Politically, Dell said he believes Pence would help Trump even though Pence himself has had some issues with what he’s put forward in the state of Indiana.
Bill Reeves of Columbus said a Trump selection of Pence as running mate would be good for the city, the state and the country.
Pence would help the Republican ticket be a little more calm, quiet and polite, Reeves said, describing Trump as sometimes a bit too brash while on the campaign trail.
Independent Seeley said having Pence on the ballot for vice president might make him lean toward voting Republican this fall.
But Lindsey Bishop, North Vernon, said having someone from Columbus on the Republican ticket wouldn’t be a factor in her voting decision this fall.
“It wouldn’t change anything,” she said.
Bishop said she remains undecided on a presidential candidate.