Auditor of State Charlie Daniels (D) announced earlier this week that he would not seek re-election to another term of office in 2014. His eventual retirement will mark nearly three decades of elective office for the long-time Democratic constitutional officer.
Daniels has held the Arkansas offices of Commissioner of State Lands, Secretary of State, and Auditor of State. Prior to being an elected official, he served as Labor Department Director for former Governors David Pryor and Bill Clinton.
Daniels was a guest on Talk Business Arkansas’ recent webcast/podcast and he shared his thoughts on what he felt contributed to his longevity in office.
In addition to a good staff and well-run offices, Daniels acknowledged that it didn’t hurt that his name was semi-iconic thanks to the country music hit, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band. Daniels made his first run for office in 1984, just a few years after the song topped the music charts.
“My first radio campaign ad had some fiddle music in it from a person up in Mountain View. It went like this, ‘Charlie Daniels. That’s a name that everyone knows. But this Charlie Daniels doesn’t fiddle around. This Charlie Daniels is running for State Land Commissioner.’ It was fun,” he said.
Utilizing technology to upgrade office functions and improving revenue streams were a highlight of the Land Commissioner’s office. During his tenure as Secretary of State, Daniels oversaw implementation of the Help America Vote Act – a major federal/state initiative in the aftermath of the 2000 Bush-Gore election.
Daniels took a hands-on approach to the Secretary of State’s duties to maintain and improve the state capitol grounds.
“I walked the capitol grounds every morning and every evening,” said Daniels, who would call groundskeepers on the spot to come do repair work.
Daniels reminisced about his time in office, life on the campaign trail, advice for aspiring politicians, and what he will do once he’s no longer in office.
Watch his full interview below.