MITCHELL E. DANIELS, JR was born on April 7, 1949 and spent his childhood years in Pennsylvania and Georgia. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson named Daniels a Presidential Scholar as the state's top male high school graduate. Daniels went on to earn a bachelor's degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1971. While working full-time, he earned a law degree from Georgetown University in 1979.
Daniels has called not only upon his experience in business, but also on his past service as chief of staff to Senator Richard Lugar, senior advisor to President Ronald Reagan, and director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President George W. Bush. He also served in the private sector as an executive at Eli Lilly and Company and CEO of the Hudson Institute. He is using this experience to focus on strengthening Indiana's economy, reforming state government, and generating the fiscal integrity of the state.
Daniels was elected Governor of Indiana in 2004. With job creation his number one priority, Daniels reorganized the state's commerce department into 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. Since 2005 more than 485 businesses have committed to create 60,029 jobs and invest $14.5 Billion in Indiana due to Daniels' administration efforts. Over 100,000 more Hoosiers are employed than when Governor Daniels took office, resulting a lowunemployment rate.
In 2005, Daniels led the state to its first balanced budget in eight years and, without a tax increase, 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 and local governments in previous administrations.
In 2006, Daniels helped attract three high profile automotive investments - Toyota, Honda, and Cummins. The governor's focus on renewing Indiana's agricultural sector and strengthening the state's rural communities moved Indiana to the forefront in the biofuel and clean energy areas, with 15 biofuels plants currently operating or under construction across the state, including the world's largest soybean biodiesel plant. As a result of the largest public-private partnership transportation project in national history, Indiana is the only state with a 10-year funded highway construction program.
A leader on health care, in 2007 Governor Daniels persuaded the Indiana General Assembly to adopt his “Healthy Indiana Plan” to fund health coverage for more than 130,000 low-income uninsured Hoosiers. In addition, Daniels' “Rx for Indiana” plan has connected more than 170,000 citizens with free or discounted prescriptions without raising taxes.
He commutes to Indianapolis on weekends to be with his wife, Cheri. In 1993 the couple divorced after 15 years of marriage, with Daniels keeping custody of their four daughters. After Cheri divorced her second husband, a California physician, she and Daniels reconciled and remarried in 1997. The desire to avoid scrutiny of the episode is the biggest reason Daniels, despite leaving the Indiana statehouse with a 63 percent approval rating, didn’t seek higher office. The chances he would mount a presidential bid appear slim, but he flirted with making another run for governor last fall when Mike Pence vacated his position to become Donald Trump’s running mate.