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Daniels pleased with speed of progress

Friday, July 21, 2006

Since coming to office, Gov. Mitch Daniels has accomplished nearly all of his goals.

During an interview with staff members from three Rust Communication newspapers on Tuesday in Brazil, Daniels said he wants to tackle more issues before leaving office.

"First off, I'm never satisfied and I never will be," he said.

In his short tenure as governor, Daniels has seen several projects come to fruition.

"Of the 72 items on our list (of goals), I think we've passed 62," he said. "But there's always going to be so much more to do. We've got a long way to go."

On Tuesday, Daniels said he didn't believe so many projects would come together so quickly, such as moving nearly 81 percent of the state to Daylight Saving Time or making the announcement of the Major Moves program, which is slated to improve state and county roads. But, and perhaps most importantly, Daniels recently announced the state had a surplus of cash after tightening the budget.

"I would not have predicted we would have balanced the budget in one year. The forecast called for two," he said.

He was born in Pennsylvania but graduated from North Central High School (Indianapolis) in 1967.

After graduating from Princeton University in 1971, Daniels worked on the reelection campaign of Richard Lugar, then the Mayor of Indianapolis.

Daniels joined Lugar in Washington D.C. in 1977 after he was elected to the U.S. Senate, and served as Lugar's chief of staff from 1977-82.

Daniels also served as chief political adviser for President Ronald Reagan from 1985-87 and was appointed by George W. Bush as director of the Office of Management and Budget on Dec. 22, 2000.

He left Washington D.C. in 2003, announcing he would run for governor of Indiana. He defeated Joe Kernan to become the state's 49th governor on Nov. 2, 2004.

Between the Reagan and second Bush administrations, Daniels spent time in the private sector, serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Hudson Institute and as a partner in the law firm of Baker and Daniels.

In addition, he was president of Eli Lilly's North American pharmaceutical operations and senior vice president of corporate strategy and policy for Eli Lilly.

On Tuesday, Daniels hinted despite his accomplishments as governor, four years in office may be enough.

"I'm not hung up on being in public office," he said. "I never was. Four years might be just fine with me.

"I've spent most of my adult life in business. I've had two different tours in public service. I have always thought that's what a person does when asked."

Daniels said serving as Indiana's governor has been much easier so far as opposed to serving in Washington D.C.

"Washington (D.C.) is an enormously frustrating place to get things done," he said. "Indiana is much better than Washington (D.C.). I understand (politicians) are wired a little differently."

Daniels said the possibility of running for reelection hasn't entered his mind yet.

"I've got my head on the work right now," he said. "I'm not saying no, but I'm sure not saying yes. I want to keep that out of my thinking and stay on the task.

"If I don't run again, it will be for positive reasons."



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