Former Vice President Mike Pence’s political advocacy group is launching a round of ads in Iowa pushing back against transgender-affirming policies in schools, Pence’s latest outreach in the early voting state as he mulls a 2024 presidential bid.
Advancing American Freedom, a group formed in 2021 by Pence to promote his agenda, announced Thursday a “grassroots campaign” focused on parents’ rights.
“The strength of our nation is tied to the strength of our families, and we cannot stand idly by as the Radical Left attempts to indoctrinate our children behind parents’ backs,” Pence said in a statement. “Advancing American Freedom will not rest until parental rights are restored in Iowa and across the nation.”
Specifically, the advertisements, rallies and events will focus on a policy adopted last year by a district near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, allowing transgender students to request a support plan to help them socially transition at school, with or without their parents’ permission.
Pence is supporting a group of parents who are suing the Linn-Mar Community School District to overturn the policy. Arguments in the case are set to begin on Wednesday in federal court in Minnesota.
Parents’ rights and the pushback against gender-affirming policies for transgender youth have been particularly animating issues for conservatives, with state legislatures introducing and passing bills aiming to block the discussion of gender identity in schools or the approval of gender-affirming care for those who are transitioning, and targeting transgender athletes in schools.
The Dispatch first reported that Pence also plans to visit Iowa next week to mark the start of the grassroots campaign, a trip that will coincide with former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s own 2024 presidential campaign launch.
Pence has said he is considering whether to run for president in 2024 or serve as a voice for conservative issues without running for elected office. He told The Hill in an interview last month he would discuss the matter with his family and supporters in the coming months before officially deciding.
Pence has said on multiple occasions he believes Americans are looking for new leadership, underscoring his desire for the party to move on from former President Trump, who is the only declared candidate in the race.
The ad buy is Pence’s latest foray into Iowa, which will hold the first caucus in the GOP 2024 primary in roughly one year. The former vice president has visited the state for party events and met with evangelical leaders, and his advocacy group has aired ads focused on energy policy.