In a chapter detailing his work to overcome environmental objections to the $4 billion expansion of BP's Whiting refinery, Daniels said he was "thrilled" to bring new jobs to a region that "has been the hardest part of the state to attract jobs to."
"Culturally close to Chicago in both economics and politics, and with a reputation for governmental corruption and labor union aggression, our northwest corner is a place employers are more likely to flee than invest in," Daniels wrote in "Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans."
In a phone interview Monday with The Times, the Republican governor stood by his comments.
"My heart is still in the project of making something really positive happen there, but there is some responsibility," Daniels said. "If you want the kind of new jobs that we've been able to get in most of the rest of the state, it would sure help if governmental leadership was a little more pro-growth."
He said Valparaiso is on the right track compared to other cities in Northwest Indiana, but said region political and business leaders should be motivated by jobs locating elsewhere in the state to decide, "Let's shape up."
Northwest Indiana also figures prominently in Daniels' retelling of his 2006 lease of the Indiana Toll Road, which he says he became fascinated with while traveling on it repeatedly during his 2004 campaign for governor.
He says he was determined to find a way to run it better when he learned the state paid 34 cents per vehicle in staff costs to collect a 15-cent toll before cars could enter Illinois . . .If Gov. Daniels thinks the politics of Lake County is any more corrupt than the politics down in Indianapolis, he must be living under a rock. Insider government deals have made many of his good friends quite rich down here in Indianapolis and have often short-changed the taxpayers. Northwest Indiana has benefited a lot because of Chicago and not in spite of it regardless of what he wants to believe.
The Journal-Gazette includes this passage in Daniels' book about convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who will probably soon be taking up residency with another former Illinois governor at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute:
Daniels also talks of the only time he ever met now-infamous former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich at a meeting of the nation’s governors in Philadelphia soon after President Obama’s inauguration.
He said to Blagojevich, “your phone must be ringing off the hook with the vacant Senate seat appointment coming up.” To which Blagojevich responded, “Yeah, every SOB in Illinois thinks he ought to be a United States Senator.”
Five days later, the FBI arrested Blagojevich on charges that he had sought bribes to make the appointment.Among the SOBs Blagojevich spoke to on the phone during that meeting in Philadelphia was then President-elect Barack Obama, who called him to discuss the Senate seat appointment. Federal prosecutors kept under wraps the contents of that conversation during Blagojevich's federal corruption trial in Chicago.