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Mitchell Elias "Mitch" Daniels, Jr., a Republican, is the 49th and incumbent governor of Indiana. This is his second four-year term. He began his first term as governor on January 10, 2005, and second term on November 4, 2008. Before becoming the governor, Daniels was the director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush. And before that, he was senior vice president of Eli Lilly and Company, which is Indiana's largest corporation and where he oversaw the corporation's business strategy. He is cited as a rising star in the Republican Party.
Mitch Daniels was born in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, on April 7, 1949, to Dorothy Mae (née Wilkes) and Mitchell Elias Daniels, Sr. His paternal grandparents were Christian immigrants from Syria. He is married to Cheri Herman, with whom he was first married from 1978 to 1993 and then remarried her in 1997 (they divorced in 1993 and she married another man; she later divorced her second husband and remarried Daniels). Cheri Herman and Daniels have four daughters together.
Mitch Daniels attended Delaware Trail Elementary, Westlane Junior High School, and North Central High School. He completed his high school graduation in 1967. For higher studies, he went to Princeton University and graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor's degree with Honors from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. Due to his high grades, he was allowed entry to Georgetown University Law Center, where he earned a Juris Doctor with Honors.
Mitch Daniels started his politics in 1968, when he worked on the unsuccessful campaign of William Ruckelshaus for the U.S. Senate. He later got an internship in the office of then–Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar with the help of Ruckelshaus. In 1971, Daniels joined his mayoral staff after working on Lugar's re-election campaign. He became Lugar’s principal assistant within three years. He was also Lugar’s chief of staff in Washington, D.C. after Lugar was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976. When Lugar became elected chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 1983, Daniels was appointed as the committee’s executive director. In 1987, Daniels became president and CEO of conservative think tank Hudson Institute.
Daniels accepted President George W. Bush's invitation to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and served in the capacity from January 2001 through June 2003. In this role he was also a member of the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council.
Achievements as Governor:
Mitch Daniels wanted to manage Indiana as a business, not merely as a state. After becoming governor, he did just that, and has caused a great turnaround for the state in just about five years.
On his first day in office, Mitch Daniels formed Indiana's first Office of Management and Budget to look for profligacy and cost savings throughout state government. The same day, with executive order, he decertified all government employee unions and also eliminated the requirement that state employees pay union dues.
When Mitch Daniels took office, Indiana’s budget deficit was $200 million. Now the entire deficit has been eliminated. The budget even has a surplus of $1.3 billion now. Daniels has also brought the state operating budget down to $440 million, which is about a third from 2005.
Mitch Daniels authorized a 30% decrease in Indiana’s property taxes. In 2007, he signed the Healthy Indiana Plan, which provided 132,000 uninsured Indiana workers with coverage.
Due to his achievements as governor of Indiana, many have come to respect him, with some even calling him as “America’s Best Governor”.
Candidacy in 2012 Presidential Election:
Speculations of Mitch Daniels running for the Republican nomination for president in 2012 were started by Politico, The Weekly Standard, Forbes, The Washington Post, CNN, The Economist, and The Indianapolis Star even though Daniels had asserted to be hesitant to seek higher office. These media outlets started speculations because in August 2010, Daniels joined the national debate on cap and trade legislation by writing a reply in The Wall Street Journal to policies supported by the Democratic-majority Congress and the White House.
In a local interview on December 12, 2010, Daniels suggested that he would decide on a White House run before May 2011.
On the night of May 21, 2011, Daniels announced via an email to the press that he would not seek the Republican nomination for the presidency. In the email, he mentioned “family constraints” and the “loss of privacy the family would experience if he becomes a candidate” as the reasons behind his decision.