Gov. Daniels reflects on economic, educational successes

Gov. Mitch Daniels
Published: .
Updated: .

Gov. Mitch Daniels is only days away from leaving the office he has held for eight years. In one of his last interviews as governor, Eyewitness News sat down with him to talk about jobs in Indiana as well as education in the state.

Eyewitness News: "Now that you have a little more in the rear view than in front of you, what surprised you most about this job?"

Gov. Daniels: "A lot of surprises, on the plus side, most of them. We were able to get more things done than I had dared to hope."

EN: "There had to be some frustrations?"

Daniels: "Oh, sure. You don't get everything you think is a good idea. There were a few things along the way we didn't get. Local government reform, we only got a certain distance. We didn't get a major move in higher ed that we proposed a few years back, but that is all right. We always knew we were aiming higher than anybody could reach."

EN: "The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has been successful. There has been some controversy about the number of jobs that came to reality and the record-keeping there. Have you made some changes there?"

Daniels: "Sure did. Part of the criticism was fair and useful. Part of the record-keeping needed to be more complete and transparent so it was a good outcome. Now I think a couple of places where more thought is required - any economy, especially in a recession, things are going to change. People who hope to grow a businesses may have to put things on hold. That happened in huge numbers in recent years so it should not be treated as a surprise or a failure."

EN: "Your Superintendent of Public Instruction lost. Do you see that as a rebuke?"

Daniels: "No. I saw it as a very effective campaign directed personally at the superintendent. It was a criticism of Superintendent Bennett personally and enough people bought into it to bring him down. In the same election, a giant pro-reform governor, giant pro-reform candidates getting elected everywhere else so it's pretty clear it was an effective campaign aimed at one person."

EN: "Do you feel children in Indiana are better off now than they were when you came into office?"

Daniels: "No question about it. Let's start with Full-Day Kindergarten which had been talked about for decades. There has been a huge increase in percentage of kids, essentially all the parents of kids who want them in kindergarten have a full day. The drop-out rate has dropped ten percent."

Daniels: "No question in my mind that making sure kids can read before they leave third grade is essential to their great success. Test scores are up. Advance placement success is up. All the academic needles are moving in the right direction. We just have a long way to go."

Tuesday night, the governor reflects on Major Moves, I69, the BMV and welfare.