Dozens plan to welcome former VP Pence back home to Indiana

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — After attending the inauguration Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to fly home to Columbus where he will be met by a few dozen well-wishers.

Considering it comes in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s an invitation-only crowd. Bartholomew County Treasurer Barb Hackman, who is the county Republican Central Committee chairperson, will be there.

“We are so proud to have the vice president here in our hometown of Columbus,” Hackman said.

But in less than a day, the title will become former vice president.

Preparations were well underway Tuesday at the Columbus Municipal Airport to welcome Pence home about 2:45 p.m., just a couple hours after his replacement is sworn in.

He will always be welcome, dear to our hearts here,” Hackman said.

She’s as a personal friend to Pence. Four years ago, she was in Washington, D.C., for the Trump-Pence inauguration.

But Wednesday, it will be a different type of welcome. About 50 friends and invited guests will be at the airport as he lands for the first time in four years in an airplane that isn’t Air Force One or Two.

“How many vice presidents actually live and were from your hometown?” Hackman asked. “Where you lived and raised your family and know them personally?”

She got the invitation over the weekend.

As for Pence’s future plans — where he will live, what he will do after leaving the administration — she believes nobody really knows for sure. She thinks the Pence family will decide together.

“I think he will always consider Columbus his home,” Hackman said. “I am just very fortunate, proud of what he’s done these last four years and even prior to that.”

She’s confident the man who gets off the plane Wednesday afternoon will be the same “Mike” she’s known for years, unchanged by one four-year term in Washington.

“The man that Mike Pence is now and four years ago is still the same.”

Former vice presidents do continue to receive Secret Service protection for six months after leaving office.

Hackman said, even in a partisan environment, she’s not worried.

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office tells News 8 that it is helping provide protection Wednesday but declined to get into any details.