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Biography Mitch Daniels

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Mitch Daniels Mitch Daniels
Mitch Daniels
Republican politician - the 49th Governor of the U.S. state of Indiana (2005-2013).


Mitch Daniels Biography

ENG: Mitchell Elias "Mitch" Daniels, Jr. (born April 7, 1949) is the president of Purdue University and was the 49th Governor of the U.S. state of Indiana. A Republican, he began his first four-year term as governor on January 10, 2005, and was reelected to his second term by an 18-point margin, on November 4, 2008, receiving the most votes for statewide office in Indiana history. Previously, he was the Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush. He was formerly Senior Vice President of Eli Lilly and Company, Indiana's largest corporation, where he was in charge of the corporation's business strategy. He was widely speculate to be a candidate for President of the United States in 2012 before choosing not to run. He is the author of the best selling book Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans. On June 21, 2012, he was selected to be President of Purdue University after his current term as Governor ended on January 14, 2013.


Early life - Family and education

Mitchell Elias Daniels, Jr., was born in Monongahela, Pennsylvania (south side of Pittsburgh), the son of Dorothy Mae (née Wilkes) and Mitchell Elias Daniels, Sr. His father's parents were immigrants from Syria, of Greek Orthodox Antiochite descent. Daniels has been honored by the Arab-American Institute with the 2011 Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service. His mother's ancestry was mostly English (where three of his great-grandparents were born), as well as Scottish and Welsh. Daniels spent his early childhood years in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Georgia.

The Daniels family moved to Indiana from Pennsylvania in 1959 when his father accepted a job at the Indianapolis headquarters of the pharmaceutical company Pittman-Moore. Then 11-year-old Daniels was accustomed to the mountains, and he at first disliked the flatland of central Indiana. He was still in grade school at the time of the move and first attended Delaware Trail Elementary, Westlane Junior High School, and North Central High School. In high school he was student body president. After graduation in 1967, Daniels was named one of Indiana's Presidential Scholars—the state’s top male high school graduate that year—by President Lyndon Johnson.

In 1971, Daniels earned a Bachelor's degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. While there, he was a member of the American Whig–Cliosophic Society, where he overlapped with future Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who was a year below. He initially studied law at the Indiana McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. After accepting a job with newly elected Senator Richard Lugar, he transferred to the Georgetown University Law Center, from which he earned a Juris Doctor.

In 1970, while an undergraduate student at Princeton, he and two roommates were arrested for possession of marijuana, LSD, and illicit prescription drugs. He spent two nights in jail. In a plea bargain, he pled guilty to "maintaining a common nuisance" and was fined $350. Daniels told The Daily Princetonian in 2011 that "justice was served," and has disclosed the arrest on job applications, and spoke about the incident in columns in The Indianapolis Star and The Washington Post.


Early political career

Daniels had his first experience in politics while still a teenager when, in 1968, he worked on the unsuccessful campaign of fellow Hoosier and Princeton alumnus William Ruckelshaus, who was running for the U.S. Senate. After the campaign Ruckelshaus helped Daniels secure an internship in the office of then–Indianapolis mayor Richard Lugar. Daniels worked on Lugar's re-election campaign in 1971, and later, in 1974, he worked on Lugar's first campaign for Senate via L. Keith Bulen's Campaign Communicators, Inc, a political consultancy where Daniels served as vice president. Daniels joined Lugar's mayoral staff in December, 1974. Within three years, he became Lugar's principal assistant. After Lugar was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976, Daniels followed him to Washington, D.C. as his Chief of Staff.

Daniels served as Chief of Staff during Lugar's first term (1977–82); and, during this time, he met Cheri Herman, who was working for the National Park Service. The two married in 1978 and had four daughters. They divorced in 1993 and Cheri married again; Cheri later divorced her second husband and remarried Daniels in 1997.

In 1983, when Lugar was elected Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Daniels was appointed its Executive Director. Serving in that position (1983–84), he played a major role in keeping the GOP in control of the Senate. Daniels was also manager of three successful re-election campaigns for Lugar. In August 1985, Daniels became chief political advisor and liaison to President Ronald Reagan.

In 1987, Daniels returned to Indiana as President and CEO of the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank. In 1988, Dan Quayle was elected Vice President of the United States, and Governor of Indiana Robert D. Orr offered to appoint Daniels to Quayle's vacant Senate seat, but Daniels declined, fearing it would force him to spend too much time away from his family.


Governor - Election campaign

Daniels' decision to run for Governor of Indiana led to most of the rest of Republican field of candidates to drop out of the race. The only challenger who did not do so was conservative activist and lobbyist Eric Miller. Miller worked for the Phoenix Group, a Christian rights defense group. Daniels' campaign platform centered around cutting the State budget and privatizing public agencies. He won the primary with 67% of the vote.

While campaigning in the General Election, Daniels visited all 92 Counties at least three times. He traveled in a donated white RV nicknamed "RV-1" and covered with signatures of supporters and his campaign slogan, "My Man Mitch." "My Man Mitch" was a reference to a phrase once used by President George W. Bush to refer to Daniels. Bush campaigned with Daniels on two occasions, as Daniels hoped that Bush's popularity would help him secure a win. In his many public stops, he frequently used the phrase "every garden needs weeding every sixteen years or so"; 16 was the number of years since Indiana had had a Republican governor. His opponent in the general election was the incumbent, Joe Kernan, who had succeeded to the office upon the death of Frank O'Bannon. Campaign ads by Kernan and the Democratic Party attempted to tie Daniels to number of issues—his jail time for marijuana use; a stock sale leading to speculations of insider trading; and, because of his role at Eli Lilly, the high cost of prescription drugs. The 2004 election was the costliest in Indiana history, up until that time, with the candidates spending a combined US$23 million. Daniels won the election, garnering about 53% of the vote compared to Kernan's 46%. Kernan was the first incumbent Governor to lose an election in Indiana since 1894.


First term

On his first day in office, Daniels created Indiana's first Office of Management and Budget to look for inefficiencies and cost savings throughout state government. The same day, he decertified all government employee unions by executive order, removing the requirement that state employees pay union dues by rescinding a mandate created by Governor Evan Bayh in a 1989 executive order. Dues-paying union membership subsequently dropped 90% among state employees.


2012 presidential speculation

Although Daniels had claimed to be reluctant to seek higher office, many media outlets, including Politico, The Weekly Standard, Forbes, The Washington Post, CNN, The Economist, and The Indianapolis Star began to speculate that Daniels may intend to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012 after he joined the national debate on cap and trade legislation by penning a response in The Wall Street Journal to policies espoused by the Democratic-majority Congress and the White House in August 2010. The speculation has included Daniels' record of reforming government, reducing taxes, balancing the budget, and connecting with voters in Indiana. Despite his signing into law of bills that toughened drug enforcement, regulated abortion, and a defense of marriage act, he has angered some conservatives because of his call for a "truce" on social issues so the party can focus on fiscal issues. His "willingness to consider tax increases to rectify a budget deficit" has been another source of contention.

In August 2010, The Economist praised Daniels' "reverence for restraint and efficacy" and concluded that "he is, in short, just the kind of man to relish fixing a broken state – or country." Nick Gillespie of Reason called Daniels "a smart and effective leader who is a serious thinker about history, politics, and policy," and wrote that "Daniels, like former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, is a Republican who knows how to govern and can do it well." In February 2011, David Brooks of The New York Times described Daniels as the "Party's strongest [would be] candidate", predicting that he "couldn't match Obama in grace and elegance, but he could on substance."

On December 12, 2010, Daniels suggested in a local interview that he would decide on a White House run before May 2011.

Different groups and individuals pressured Daniels to run for office. In response to early speculation, Daniels dismissed a presidential run in June 2009, saying "I've only ever run for or held one office. It's the last one I'm going to hold." However, in February 2010 he told a Washington Post reporter that he was open to the idea of running in 2012.

On March 6, 2011, Daniels was the winner of an Oregon (Republican Party) straw poll. Daniels drew 29.33% of the vote, besting second place finisher Mitt Romney (22.66%) and third place finisher Sarah Palin (18.22%), and was the winner of a similar straw poll in the state of Washington. On May 5, 2011, Daniels told an interviewer that he would announce "within weeks" his decision of whether or not to run for the Republican presidential nomination. He said he felt he was not prepared to debate on all the national issues, like foreign policy, and needed time to better understand the issues and put together formal positions. Later in May, as the Republican field began to resolve with announcements and withdrawals of other candidates, Time said, "Even setting aside his somewhat unusual family situation, Daniels would need to hurry to put together an organization" and raise enough money if he intended to run.

Daniels announced he would not seek the Republican nomination for the presidency on the night of May 21, 2011, via an email to the press, citing family constraints and the loss of privacy the family would experience should he become a candidate.


Purdue University

The Purdue University Board of Trustees unanimously elected Mitch Daniels president of Purdue University on June 21, 2012. As governor, Daniels appointed 8 of the 10 Board members, and reappointed the other two, which some claimed as a conflict of interest. A state investigation released in October 2012 found that the circumstances did not violate the Indiana Code of Ethics. Critics of his selection pointed out that unlike previous presidents he lacks a background in academia. His term as president began upon completion of his term as Governor in January 2013. In preparation for his term as President of Purdue University, Daniels stopped participating in partisan political activity during the 2012 election cycle and focused instead on issues related to higher education and fiscal matters.





February 13,2013

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