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Lawmakers Interested In Daniels’ New Legislative Role

Republicans say Daniels must adapt to his new role. Democrats say the governor is qualified to be Purdue president, but question how he got there.

Indiana Statehouse

Photo: Dan Goldblatt

Lawmakers seem at once curious and skeptical of Governor Mitch Daniels new role with lawmakers once he takes over as Purdue University President and must lobby lawmakers for higher education funding.

Indiana lawmakers are interested to see what Mitch Daniels taking the top job at Purdue University will mean for his role at the Statehouse, especially as the Indiana General Assembly crafts another two-year state budget starting in January.

House Education Committee chairman Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) says seeing the governor come before the legislature on behalf of Purdue will be a unique experience.

“It’s going to be different for him to be in a position where we’re the ones that have more authority, so to speak, than he,” Behning says.

He adds he’s excited to see what sort of reforms and changes Daniels can bring to Purdue.

“The governor now would now have the direct opportunity to deliver some of the things that he was asking universities to deliver when he was governor.”

Democratic Representative Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) says while the governor is extraordinarily qualified, he’s uncomfortable with how the situation unfolded.

“Given that he appointed the overwhelming majority of trustees, who then turned around and hired him to be the president of Purdue University, it certainly falls to within the eyebrow-raising category,” Pelath says.

Pelath says he thinks Daniels will hold significant sway within the General Assembly.

“The trustees would not have hired Governor Daniels if they weren’t fairly certain that he would continue to have some pull with the Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate.”

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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