Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, has confirmed that he has been selected as Donald Trump’s running mate in the 2016 presidential elections. Though Pence has cautiously supported Trump (after initially endorsing Ted Cruz) throughout his campaign, how do Pence’s ideas on housing compare to Trump's? Trump has not made housing issues a centerpiece of his campaign, but from what is known, he plans to discontinue funding of at least some government housing programs and work to ease the current regulatory framework. For example, he has specifically alluded to the possibility of eliminating HUD.
— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) July 15, 2016
Pence's past actions can give us some insight into where his housing priorities lie. Indiana, where Pence serves as governor, was one of the states hit hardest during the financial crisis. By January 2015, vacant homes was an exponential problem for the state. In response, Pence passed a vacant housing statute preventing municipalities from passing ordinances on vacant homes and protecting banks holding liens from regulations requiring their maintenance.
“Really, the bottom line is we have made a dramatic effort to allow the local government to be the catalyst to clean up neighborhoods,” state Senator Jim Merritt, an Indianapolis Republican who sponsored the bill said at the time. “It makes it a quicker process and a cleaner process.”
Further, under Pence’s watch the Indiana legislature initiated the Blight Elimination Program (BEP) to assist local government units in Indiana with foreclosure prevention. This program is sponsored by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, a state government housing program.
Pence's housing priorities may actually more closely align with Hillary Clinton's than Trump's. On Democratic side, Clinton has stated that 20 percent of her proposed $125 billion Economic Revitalization Initiative would be targeted towards facilitating homeownership among households that have been traditionally underserved. According to her website, “She will also reduce barriers to lending in underserved communities,” and “support housing counseling programs.” She has also intimated that she will “provide the resources necessary to overcome blight, giving communities a chance to rebuild and renew with new businesses, new homeowners, and new hope.”
So the question becomes: "how will Pence reconcile his past administrative priorities with Trumps desire to reduce the size and scope of the federal government?"
The answer is that we don't know yet. Knowing the deferential nature of the office of the Vice President and the fact that Trump's larger-than-life persona tends to suck all of the oxygen out of the room, it's unclear whether Pence will have any real policy influence in a prospective Trump administration. Perhaps the answer is that programs such as the ones that Pence enacted during his time as Indiana's governor would be kept at the state level under President Trump. But mortgage professionals would be well advised to pay close attention to this election cycle. No matter the outcome, change is most likely coming in some form.