In the Washington Post this weekend, my former colleague Mary Vought wrote an important piece about working for our former boss, Vice-President Mike Pence. Mary and I worked together for Pence when he was chairman of the House Republican Conference, so what she wrote resonated with me.
When the media went crazy last week about the 2002 comment Pence made about never dining alone with women, I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about. I had heard of Pence’s rule when I started worked for him in 2009 and thought nothing of it. It seemed like a great way to avoid the perception of inappropriateness. With gossip and reporters floating around every corner of Capitol Hill (and elsewhere), extra precaution seemed prudent.
As Mary so eloquently wrote in her piece, being a woman didn’t hold her back at all while working for Pence — and I can confidently say the same. From the piece:
Pence’s personal decision to not dine alone with female staffers was never a hindrance to my ability to do my job well, and never kept me from reaping the rewards of my work. In fact, I excelled at my job because of the work environment created from the top down, and my personal determination to succeed.
The Vice-President never treated me with anything but respect and I found him to be a warm, genuine man who truly valued his staff and more importantly, his family. From my vantage point, he made decisions thoughtfully and prayerfully — in a way that should make you glad he’s now sitting in such an influential role with President Trump.
The many strange reactions to the Pence’s personal boundaries on and respect for his own marriage are unwarranted. As Mary wrote:
This is by no means a partisan issue. Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or couldn’t care less, if you choose to prioritize your marriage and esteem your family while faithfully carrying out public service, you should be praised. If the only woman you want to dine alone with is your spouse, you should be commended. With his choice about how to divide up his time, Pence made a strong statement about work-life balance, the importance of family time, and respect in the workplace: values we can all get behind.
I’m glad I got the opportunity to work for Mike Pence. It’s done nothing but great things for my career.