Republican VP pick Mike Pence talks immigration, ISIS at Phoenix town hall
PHOENIX — Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence answered several questions about immigration, education and the Islamic State — among other topics — at a town hall event in Phoenix on Tuesday night.
Pence spoke for about 25 minutes before taking questions from the crowd. During the address, he painted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as the solution to many of the nation’s problems.
“The choice in this election really couldn’t be more clear,” he told a crowd of about 450 waterlogged supporters. Phoenix received an extraordinary summer rainfall just prior to Pence’s event.
Pence said Trump is the nominee who will stop the Islamic State, “support law enforcement at every level,” cut the federal budget and repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
He did not go into a great amount of detail on any one topic, but promised that Trump will announced a new economic plan next week.
After his speech, Pence took questions from the crowd. Unsurprisingly, most of the questions focused on immigration and the ticket’s plans to handle such a convoluted issue.
Aside from echoing Trump’s promise to build a large wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Pence said the potential Republican administration would do away with so-called “sanctuary cities” for illegal immigrants.
Questioner slips, asks what Obama will do about Phoenix being "sanctuary city."
Pence doesn't miss beat: "Nothing" #TrumpPence16
— Carter Nacke (@carternacke) August 3, 2016
But Pence also said the campaign — which has alienated some voters of Hispanic descent — has a plan to win over the Latino vote.
He said all voters, including Hispanics, care about topics such as safety, security and jobs, issues he addressed in the town hall.
“Let’s carry that message boldly into that community,” he said.
Pence also said the campaign plans to “celebrate diversity” in America, but did not expand further.
When asked about education, Pence laid out a two-part plan. The Indiana governor said, first off, that control of the schools should be left at the state or local level and kept out of the hands of politicians in Washington, D.C.
Pence said he voted against No Child Left Behind when it was presented to the House of Representatives in 2001.
“Thankfully, Congress just repealed it,” he said.
The second prong of Pence’s education plan would allow parents to choose which school their child attends, “no matter their income or zip code.”
The final question of the night was asked by an 11-year-old girl. She wanted to know what a Trump administration Trump would do to stop ISIS.
Pence talked about being in Congress during the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the difficulties the nation faced in tracking down al-Qaida because of the organization’s tendency to move around.
The VP nominee said that, unlike al-Qaida, ISIS has established a caliphate with set boundaries. He said, by remaining stationary, the U.S. will be able to “hunt down and destroy ISIS.”
Attendees said Pence bring a poised presence to the stage.
“[He was] very intelligent,” Maureen Corrigan said. “He answered questions right on his feet, right off the top of his head — [there was] no teleprompter.”
Bruce Buckner said Pence showed his heart during the town hall.
“He seemed to appeal to the American people and I’m hoping he’s our answer,” Buckner said of Pence.
KTAR’s Mike Sackley contributed to this report.