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Indiana Politicians Leave Legacy As Terms Expire
Updated May 5, 2013 12:12 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - In January, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Gov. Mitch Daniels will step out of politics and into academia, leaving legacies of policy and prestige in their wake.

Daniels will pass the torch to Gov.-elect Mike Pence at the start of 2013 and assume the role of president of Purdue University.

Lugar announced plans to serve as a distinguished professor of political science and international relations at the University of Indianapolis and expand the institution's renamed Lugar Academy.

The expansion will add a semester in Washington, D.C. program and an Elected Officials Institute to the 35-year tradition of the Lugar Symposium, which invites hundreds of high school juniors to the university's campus every year to discuss public issues and world events.

"I've witnessed, during these last 36 years of visits, the growth of this campus," Lugar said at a press conference Friday. "It's been dynamic. The people who are interested in this campus really have been generous with their money, with their leadership, with the Board of Trustees."

Lugar himself is a former university trustee and former political science professor at the University of Indianapolis.

Andrew Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IU-Purdue University Fort Wayne, said the move back into academia is a logical next step for Lugar. Researchers make good teachers, Downs said, but politicians provide an intimate look at the issues.

"You get it from a boots-on-the-ground perspective," Downs said. "It's just a wonderful marriage that happens when people who show up in the classroom can do that."

But for Daniels, Downs said, the path is less clear-cut. Downs said he likely plans to make major policy reforms in higher education.

As governor, Daniels will be remembered for restructuring governmental units like the Indiana Economic Development Council, for balancing the state budget, for the cigarette tax and privatization of the Indiana Toll Road and for putting aside social issues to focus on saving the state's economy, Downs said.

Daniels is younger than Lugar and at one point was discussed as a possible Republican presidential candidate. He won't be known just for his time in office, Downs said.

"His legacy's not done, whereas Lugar's is kind of written now," Downs said.

Downs said Lugar will be remembered for his contributions on an international scale. But Lugar was also the only Senate incumbent to be defeated in the 2012 primary. He'll leave office because of that defeat.

Downs said in the short run, Lugar might be remembered as someone who "got out of touch and stayed too long."

"That is not a good way for people to remember someone who had the legislative successes he had," Down said.

Within the state, Downs said Lugar carries a legacy as mayor and school board member as well as senator. Outside it, he said, Lugar has been nationally and internationally recognized as someone who worked during the long term to accomplish important goals.

Lugar served 36 years in the U.S. Senate, making him the longest serving member of Congress in Indiana history.

His committee appointments included the Foreign Relations Committee and the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. He also authored the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which helped decommission Soviet-era nuclear weapons.

But he isn't finished yet and said he will continue to work for the remaining weeks toward a solution to keep the U.S. economy from dropping off the "fiscal cliff."

"I believe this is extremely serious," Lugar said. "I spent all day yesterday talking to one plan or another, and we're going to be very active to the very end to try to bring about a solution."



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