First Lady Karen Pence to have an office in the Statehouse

January 18th, 2013 at 5:05 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

Look for Karen Pence to play a visible role as Indiana’s first lady.  The wife of new governor Mike Pence is already breaking the mold.  It’s traditional for the first lady of Indiana to have a small staff and that staff has always worked out of an office in the governor’s residence.  Karen Pence and her staff will go to work in the Statehouse.

Karen Pence had a high profile throughout the campaign appearing in TV ads more often than the governor’s running mate.  Now that Mike Pence is in office that won’t change.  “She’s going to be an active, traditional first lady,” says administration spokeswoman Kara Brooks.

And that means the official residence is just that, a residence.  “The thought process,” says Brooks, “is that they have a home and they also have a place of work and so this will be their place of work.”

The three rooms that served as the transition office for Mike Pence will soon become the First Lady’s office.  Workmen will paint and improve the space this weekend.  Its just down the hall from the governor’s office on the second floor of the Statehouse.  “Every first lady has a different personality and different skill set,” says state Senator Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis,) “and I think it’s terrific that she wants to participate and also that she’ll be offering a different slant to the office.”

The first lady also unusual access to the governor.  A red phone on his desk moved from his Congressional office is for her calls only.  “For the record I always stand when I answer it,” joked the governor on Monday.

Brooks says that despite Mrs. Pence’s proximity to the governor, she will not be a policy advisor.

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