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As a young Capitol Hill staffer in the early 1980s, one of the people I ran into fairly frequently was then-chief of staff for first-term GOP US Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) Mitch Daniels. I was the press secretary to 28-year-old freshman US Rep. John Hiler (R-IN). I often spotted Lugar and Daniels doing morning or mid-day runs together on Washington’s Mall. Lugar featured arguably the best crop of Senate chiefs of staff during his own illustrative 24-year Senate career. Daniels set the standard.
Present company excluded, Indiana’s congressional delegation then had an ambitious, talented, and star-studded delegation and staff. Lugar’s junior Senate colleague, Dan Quayle, would become Vice President in 1989. US Rep. Dan Coats, who succeeded Quayle in the House, became a US Senator (twice), US Ambassador to Germany, and Director of National Intelligence.
After a stint as North American President of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, Daniels, now 73, would serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget during the George W. Bush Administration. That was followed by two terms as Governor of Indiana, where he unseated an incumbent Democrat in 2004. I still follow many of my then-fellow Indiana congressional delegation staffers who became policy, political, and media legends. I married one.