The Journal Gazette
Sunday, August 18, 2019 1:00 am

Daniels reminisces on paths taken - and not

BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Purdue University President and former Gov. Mitch Daniels recently sat down with an Indianapolis podcaster for an hour of reminiscing and political thoughts.

Robert Vane, a GOP political operative and communications expert, hosts the “Leaders and Legends” podcast. He said Daniels has been the most requested guest.

Daniels started volunteering with campaigns while in college and helped mold Indianapolis when Richard Lugar was mayor. He moved to Washington, D.C., with Lugar and had two stints in presidential administrations – with Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

That was before he returned to Indiana and served as governor for eight years. Since then he's been at Purdue, shaking up the traditional higher education format.

During the podcast, Daniels talked about being present at some of the biggest events in recent memory – including being in the White House on Sept. 11, 2001.

The hour is full of tidbits – including what it was like for Daniels to turn down an appointment to an open U.S. Senate seat in 1988.

“I don't usually stew over things but that one ... I spent a little time wrangling with. It's commonly observed – a lot of the best decisions you ever make is when you decide not to do something,” Daniels said.

In addition to how he gained his political prowess, Daniels spoke about how his time at Eli Lilly affected his life.

It was interesting how many times Daniels has turned down significant political campaigns or jobs – largely due to having four young children at the time.

Definitely stay for the final five questions at the end of the podcast – including a book suggestion, first concert and what event in history would he go back to witness.

Fair warning, though, Vane and Daniels don't make it to the governor years. But he promised a part two in the future.

The podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify. “Leaders and Legends” may also be found at

Campaign school graduates women

Advancing Voices of Women announced 13 women graduated from the organization's second annual Women's Campaign Institute.

The graduates are Réna Bradley, Juli Dominguez, Karen Eller, Alexis Hathaway, Stephanie J. Henry, Nicole Keesling, Nicole King, Misti Meehan, Dawn R. Moore, Sarah Payne, Amy A. Roe, Monty Rogers-Williams and Nora K. Schwartz.

Meehan is the Democratic candidate for Fort Wayne City Council District 1 in the Nov. 5 election, Payne is the Democratic candidate for mayor of Auburn, and Schwartz is the Democratic candidate for Auburn City Council District 1. Other institute graduates either plan to seek elective office or are considering it, according to AVOW.

The institute was Aug. 2-4 at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne. It provided training in various aspects of political campaigns, including organization, fundraising and communications.

AVOW says its mission is to advance the voices of women “in public life, the community square and civil conversations.”

Senate District 18 caucus

The Indiana Republican Party has scheduled a September caucus to fill the House District 18 vacancy caused by the recent resignation of Randy Head, who had represented the district at the General Assembly since 2008.

The district consists of southern Kosciusko County; Fulton, Miami and Cass counties; and parts of Marshall and Carroll counties. Head's term expires with the November 2020 election.

The caucus will be at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Miami County 4-H Community Building in Peru. Anyone interested in running should contact the Indiana Republican Party secretary at

Head, a Republican from Logansport, resigned Aug. 12 to become Pulaski County's chief deputy prosecutor.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily