Mitch Daniels, Indiana’s 49th Governor

Born in Pennsylvania, Mitch Daniels‘ name nevertheless appears on the list of famous people from Indianapolis, since he is a resident of Indy. As the 49th Governor of Indiana, Daniels currently resides in the Governor’s Residence, but he and his family have a longtime history with the Circle City.

Daniels graduated from Indianapolis’ North Central High School, receiving the honor of Presidential Scholar from then President Lyndon Johnson, recognizing him as the top male graduate from all the high schools in the state of Indiana. It was becoming apparent that Mitch Daniels was destined for big things.

During his college years, Mitch Daniels worked as an intern for the Indianapolis Mayor of the time, Richard Lugar. Over the next few years, he was moved up as a staff employee and finally followed Lugar to Washington, D.C. upon Lugar’s election as a Republican Senator in 1977.

Daniels was at that point an important member of Lugar’s team, with the title of chief of staff. By 1982, Daniels received the title of executive director of the National Senatorial Committee for the Republican party, Lugar having been named chairman. Daniels was instrumental in maintaining GOP control in the Senate during that period.

Mitch Daniels later headed up three senatorial campaigns, all successful, for Richard Lugar, and in 1985, Daniels was named chief political advisor to United States President Ronald Reagan. There followed several years during which Daniels worked in the private sector for the Hudson Institute and for Eli Lilly and Company.

From 2001 until 2003, during the term of George W. Bush, Daniels managed the Office of Management and Budget as its 33rd Director, a crucial governmental post. There, Daniels exhibited a gift for budget cutting that earned him the nickname “the Blade” from President Bush.

Daniels is credited for initiating a system of accountability for government entities during this period, though he later came under fire, as did the entire administration, for turning a huge annual surplus into an even more enormous deficit during his tenure.

Elected Governor of Indiana in 2004, Mitch Daniels is now the incumbent, with steady approval ratings in the polls of about 70 percent. He has called for controls on increases of state spending and proposed specific means to that end. He created the Office of Management and Budget for Indiana, that state’s first, to back up efforts on budgetary savings.

March 29, 2010 video of a Mitch Daniels speech encouraging a focus on education and presenting the Top Young Scientist Award.


By 2005, the popular governor was able to turn in a balanced budget, the first in eight years in Indiana. In a showy performance┬á categorically opposite that of his experience as OMB manager for the Bush Whitehouse, Daniels pulled a rabbit out of the state’s economic hat: He produced a $300 million surplus for the year from a whopping deficit of $600 million.

Another change enacted during Daniels’ tenure as Indiana Governor was the privatization of welfare in 2006 with IBM. Problems with the new service led to Daniels’ cancelling the IBM contract by 2009 and reinstating the former government-run service, albeit temporarily.

Mitch Daniels founded the IEDC, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, to assist in the attraction of new jobs for Indiana residents. Indiana now holds the record of all the U.S. states in attracting automotive investments. The IEDC has continued to break records for attracting and creating new jobs and keeping unemployment low.

Video clip of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels at the 2009 Fall Dinner, in a speech about health care and economic national issues


Health care reform has all but taken over the first part of President Obama’s administration, but Governor Daniels signed into reality landmark health care legislation for Indiana back in 2007. His “Healthy Indiana Plan” leans heavily on prevention and education and was paid for by a cigarette tax increase. The Healthy Indiana Plan included contingencies for helping some 130,000 Hoosiers obtain and pay for health care.

From 2008 until the present, Mitch Daniels’ term in office has seen many more similar accomplishments, including a property tax reform. Daniels is becoming widely known for his successes and persistence, regardless of one’s political leaning. By November of 2008, his name was being run up several “future president” flag poles to see if it would fly.

Only time will tell.

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