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Mitchell Elias "Mitch" Daniels, Jr. (born April 7, 1949) is the current Governor of the U.S. state of Indianamarker. A Republican, he began his four-year term as Indiana's 49th Governor on January 10, 2005 and was elected to his second term on November 4, 2008. Previously he was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush and also worked for Eli Lilly and Company.

Early life

Family and education

Mitchell Elias Daniels, Jr. was born on April 7, 1949 in Monongahela, Pennsylvaniamarker to Mitch Daniel, Sr. and Dorothy Wilkes Daniels, spending his early childhood years in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Georgia. Daniels moved to Indianamarker from Pennsylvaniamarker in 1959 while still in grade school. Daniels is a first generation Syrian American and is a supporter of the Arab-American Institute, having been honored by them for his work in the community.

Upon graduating from North Central High Schoolmarker in Indianapolismarker in 1967, Daniels was named Indiana's Presidential Scholar – the state’s top male high school graduate that year – by President Lyndon Johnson. Daniels earned a bachelor's degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton Universitymarker in 1971 and a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Centermarker in 1979.

While a student at Princeton in 1970, he was arrested for possession of marijuana and spent two nights in jail. Throughout his career, he has been forthcoming about his arrest; disclosing it on job applications and in a 1989 Indianapolis Star column.

Early political career

Daniels had his first experience in politics while still a teenager when, in 1968, he worked on the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of William Ruckelshaus. While in college he interned in the office of then-Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar. In 1971, Daniels joined Lugar's re-election campaign, then joined the mayor's staff and within three years became Lugar's principal assistant. After Lugar was elected to the U.S. Senate, Daniels followed him to Washington, D.C., in 1977, as administrative assistant.

Daniels served as Lugar's chief of staff during his first term from 1977 to 1982. When Lugar was elected chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Daniels was appointed its executive director. He served in that position in 1983 and 1984, playing a major role in the successful effort to keep the GOP in control of the U.S. Senate. Daniels was also manager of three successful Senate campaigns for Lugar. Daniels was part of the Reagan Administration when he became chief political advisor and liaison to President Ronald Reagan in August 1985.

Eli Lilly

In 1987, Daniels returned to Indiana as chief executive of the Hudson Institute, restoring the organization back to financial health. He then left Hudson in 1990 for the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company. From 1993 until 1997, Daniels was President of North American operations, and promoted to Senior Vice President for Corporate Strategy and Policy at Eli Lilly in 1997 where he served until leaving the company in 2001.

In January 2001, upon his appointment as Director of federal Office of Management and Budget (see below), Daniels resigned as a member of the board of Indianapolis Power & Light Co. and sold the $1.45 million he held in company stock, donating the proceeds to charity. Later that year, Indianapolis Power & Light Co. was bought by Virginia-based AES Corp. After the stocks dropped, the Indiana Securities Division investigated the sale and found no wrongdoing, but political opponents in his 2004 gubernatorial campaign charged that Daniels got rich while other employees suffered financial hardship. A state investigation also found no wrongdoing.

Office of Management and Budget

In January 2001, Daniels accepted President George W. Bush's invitation to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He served as Director from January 2001 through June 2003. In this role he was also a member of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.

During his time as the director of the OMB, President Bush admiringly called him "the Blade," for his noted acumen at budget cutting. Daniels instituted a first-of-its-kind accountability system for all governmental entities. Daniels came under fire for overseeing a $236 billion annual surplus turn into a $400 billion deficit during his 29-month tenure. Supporters argued that Daniels was one of the few in the administration working toward restraint, and that ultimately he had to take marching orders from the administration.

In 2002, Daniels helped discredit a report by Assistant to the President on Economic Policy Lawrence B. Lindsey estimating the cost of the Iraq War at between $100–$200 billion. Daniels called this estimate "very, very high" and stated that the costs would be between $50–$60 billion. In March, as Congress considered H.R. 1559, “Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003,” OMB was ordered to prepare an estimate for the defeat of the Iraqi Army and a six-month aftermath ending with the 2003 fiscal year on September 30. Daniels’ estimate referred only to this period, an estimate that proved largely accurate.


First term

Mitch Daniels during Indianapolis Navy Week in August 2006
While campaigning, governor Daniels traveled the state in a white RV covered with signatures of supporters and his trademark "My Man Mitch" campaign slogan. "My Man Mitch" was a reference to a nickname President George W. Bush called him while he was OMB Director. He visited all 92 counties at least three times. On 2 November 2004, Daniels was elected Governor of Indiana garnering about 53% of the vote compared to 46% to Democratic incumbent Governor Joe Kernan, who had assumed power after Frank O'Bannon's death. In his first State of the State address on January 18, 2005, Daniels sought to improve the state's fiscal situation by calling for strict controls on all state spending increases and proposed a one year 1% tax increase on all individuals and entities earning over $100,000. The move was controversial for a conservative governor and the state legislature did not act on it. As governor, Daniels has pushed through controversial proposals that had the state adopt Daylight Saving Time and lease the Indiana Toll Road.

On his first day in office, Governor Daniels created Indiana's first Office of Management and Budget to look for efficiencies and cost savings across state government. In 2005, Governor Daniels led the state to its first balanced budget in eight years and turned the $600 million deficit he inherited into a $300 million surplus in a single year. Governor Daniels used this surplus to repay hundreds of millions of dollars the state had borrowed from Indiana's public schools in previous administrations.

Daniels, as part of a 12-day trade mission in Asia, visited Indiana soldiers serving in the Korean Demilitarized Zone on the 56th anniversary of the start of the Korean War and laid a bouquet of white flowers at the base of a plaque listing 900 soldiers from Indiana who died in the war. Daniels also stopped in Japan.

In 2006 Daniels signed a law that privatized the enrollment service for the state's welfare programs. The service was provided though a $1.3bn contract with IBM, and replaced Indiana's welfare enrollment facilities with call centers who handled enrollment via phone and mail. After many complaints about the service and about half of the enrollment load be transferred to IBM, Daniels canceled the contract with IBM in mid-2009 and began searching for a new provider for the service and temporarily having the government resume their former enrollment service.

In 2008, Daniels started the Hoosier High School Math and Science Awards, annually naming a Mr./Miss Math and Science, similar to Mr. Basketball. It recognizes the state's best high school students in math and science.

Indiana Economic Development Corporation

When Daniels was elected, he claimed his number one priority was job creation. Daniels created the public-private Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), became chairman of its board, and ordered it to “act at the speed of business, not the speed of government,” to attract new jobs. During its first year, the IEDC closed more transactions than in the previous two years combined. In 2006, the IEDC topped its 2005 results in only ten months while becoming the only state in the nation to land three high profile automotive investments - Toyota, Honda, and Cummins. In 2007, the IEDC announced its third consecutive record-breaking year for new investment and job commitments in Indiana.

In his first year as governor he was able to get 485 businesses to commit to creating more than 60,000 new jobs and invest $14.5 billion into the Indiana economy. Unemployment has dropped during his governorship with 100,000 more Indiana residents being employed than before he was elected. Daniels push for clean energy has moved Indiana to become one of the leading states in bio-fuel with 15 plants, including the worlds largest soybean bio-diesel plant.

Healthy Indiana Plan

In 2007, Governor Daniels signed landmark health care legislation, called the Healthy Indiana Plan, that provides 132,000 uninsured Hoosiers with coverage. The plan promotes health screenings, early prevention services, smoking cessation, and entrusts Hoosiers to become value-conscious consumers of health care. It also provides tax credits for small businesses that create qualified wellness and Section 125 plans. The plan was paid for by an increase in the state’s tax on cigarettes.

In a September 15, 2007 Wall Street Journal column, Fred Barnes quoted Daniels talking about the Healthy Indiana Plan and cigarette tax increase saying, “A consumption tax on a product you'd just as soon have less of doesn't violate the rules I learned under Ronald Reagan." The plan allowed for spending to assist 130,000 Indiana residents with health care costs.

For the 132,000 Hoosiers eligible for the Healthy Indiana Plan, a POWER health savings account is available to help pay medical expenses. A health savings account was first offered to state employees in 2006 and thousands of workers now participate. In 2005, Governor Daniels signed a bill allowing citizens to waive coverage for pre-existing conditions on individual and some group policies. With the barriers now removed, it’s easier for Hoosiers to obtain health insurance coverage.

Property tax reform

In 2008, "Daniels proposed one percent cap of assessed home value would be instituted as the highest yearly property tax on homes. Property tax ceilings would be two percent for rental properties and three percent for businesses. The move would be permanent, making Indiana one of the lowest property tax states in the country," according to reporter Seth T. Whitecotton of the Connersville News-Examiner.

The plan was approved by the Indiana House of Representatives on March 14, 2008 and signed by Daniels on March 19, 2008, locking in low rates for homeowners, businesses, and rental properties. According to Whitecotton, voters will decide in 2010 whether to adopt the property tax caps into the Indiana Constitution.

In 2008, Indiana homeowners will have an average property tax cut of more than 30 percent; a total of $870 million in relief will be provided. To offset the loss in revenues the state raised the sales tax from 6% to 7% effective April 1, 2008.

Second term

On November 4, 2008, Daniels defeated Democratic candidate Jill Long Thompson and was reelected to a second term as governor. He was reinaugurated on January 12, 2009. Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza named the Daniels reelection campaign The Best Gubernatorial Campaign of 2008 and noted that some Republicans were already bandying about the Indiana governor's name for the 2012 presidential election due to his success.

Daniels was named one of 2008's eight best public officials of the year by Governing Magazine, citing his persistence and efficiency.

2012 Presidential 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." Although Daniels had claimed to be reluctant to seek higher office, many media outlets, including Politico, Forbes, The Washington Post, and The Indianapolis Star had speculated that Daniels may be in position to seek to 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 Housemarker. The speculators have cited Daniels' record of reforming government, reducing taxes and connecting with voters in Indiana.

Electoral history

See also


  2. Mitch Daniels - a Star Library biography
  3. CounterPunch, 5 November 2009, The Fire Sale of America
  4. Greene County Indiana Information - Articles
  5. The Best Gubernatorial Campaign of 2008

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