LEAP students enjoyed another wonderful World Affairs Council event, this one featuring a former Vice President of the United States: Mike Pence. It was an educational evening, allowing students, alumni, and fellows SHSU faculty/staff of all political affiliations to hear about public affairs directly from public figures.
After brief introductions by WAC Director Maryanne Maldonado and other staff…
…Vice-President Pence and moderator Paul Hobby took the stage. With approximately 400 people on hand, Hobby asked a series of questions to Pence, with most of the addressing, not surprisingly, foreign affairs.
He also asked VP Pence about his duties during the January 6 riot/insurgency, in which Pence certified the election results. Pence noted that his job was simple, which was to follow the constitution.
In this case, he continued, there was no evidence that any voting irregularities amounted to sufficient cause to question the outcome of the election, and he had a clear duty to certify the results indicating Biden won. Somewhat surprisingly, he indicated that Vice President Al Gore, who lost the 2000 election but similarly certified the election results showing Bush won, was an inspiration to him.
On other topics, Pence indicated he believed the United States should show more strength on foreign affairs generally. Perhaps the most discussed topic involved the balloons that have been spotted floating over the United States. Pence expressed much alarm and dismay by this, expressed his belief that the US took too long to respond, and reiterated that no foreign vessels should be allowed on (or above) US Territory (what constitutes acceptable airspace is globally disputed, but this is a starting place). Pence indicated that while he had heard reports that foreign balloons were deployed over the United States while he was Vice-President, he expressed some incredulity about that, saying, “that’s news to me.”
While the World Affairs Council is nonpartisan, they bring in public figures from all over the political spectrum. The crowd was respectful to VP Pence, and it was clear he had many supporters on hand.
Meanwhile, we had the opportunity to get Vice-President Pence’s book, So Help Me God, and follow up the event with dinner at the nearby Kenny and Ziggy’s. Interestingly, this is the sixth Vice-President the LEAP Center has taken students to see, with the others being: George H. W. Bush, Dan Quayle, Dick Cheney, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and, now, Mike Pence.
Kenny and Ziggy’s
If you haven’t tried Kenny & Ziggy’s, it’s a great place to get good food and large portions. It is a NY-style deli, and we were all big fans of the sandwiches. While no formal vote was taken, Michelle’s Philly Sandwich may have been the favorite, but not one of the four students who ordered a Reuben was disappointed.
For us, it was also a chance to spend time with alumni (Esme Mata and Victoria McClendon) and SHSU staff, including Mike Yawn, Stephanie Fors, and Gene Roberts. This was a great opportunity to hear from public officials and learn about career opportunities while expanding our professional network.