Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop got a high-priority phone call Thursday.

Vice president-elect and Columbus native Mike Pence called the mayor after reading the Republic story in Thursday’s edition about a welcome sign being placed on the west side entrance to the city.

Pence thanked Lienhoop for planning to place the welcome sign with words noting that Columbus is home to Vice President Mike Pence. With federal government approval, the city also wants to include the vice presidential seal.

The sign will join several visible to eastbound Jonathan Moore Pike travelers which proclaim Columbus also as the home of NASCAR driving champion and team owner Tony Stewart and the singing group the Four Freshman.

When Lienhoop was interviewed about the sign earlier this month, the mayor said he planned on attending the inauguration because “we want to be there to cheer Mike on.”

Pausing, he then smiled and added, “I have to catch myself — I keep wanting to refer to him as Mike,” the mayor said. “I really need to say Mr. Vice President.”

In Thursday’s phone call, the soon-to-be Vice President Pence reassured the mayor, saying: “You can call me Mike.”

The mayor said he was still surprised that someone who is as busy as Pence right now, helping putting together a new federal administration and preparing for the Jan. 20 inauguration, even had the time to take a moment to thank a friend back in his hometown.

“And he is still reading The Republic,” the mayor said.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.