J. Roberts Dailey papers and photographs
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Dailey was active in politics in high school and college, and quickly became involved in Muncie's political scene. In 1951, Dailey switched his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican and worked on Joe Barclay's successful mayoral campaign. In January 1952, Dailey was elected to fill Barclay's unexpired term on the Delaware County Council. At 32, Dailey was one of the youngest people elected to the council. After his term expired in 1955, Dailey remained active in local Republican politics, serving as precinct chairman (1958-1978) and Delaware County Republican Finance Chairman (1963-1978). In addition, he also attended every state Republican convention between 1954 and 1980.
In 1976, Dailey defeated Democrat Richard Mark Hays to become the 37th district's representative in the Indiana House of Representatives. He won reelection in 1978. Between 1977 and 1980, Dailey served on the School Finance Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee. He also served on the Governmental Reorganization Committee (1977-1978); the Sunset Committee (1978-1980); and the Cities and Towns Committee (Ranking Member, 1979-1980).
In 1980, after winning election for his third House term, Dailey successfully ran for Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives. He defeated E. Henry Lamkin on the second ballot. Dailey's victory was impressive not only because of his relative lack of political seniority, but also because he defeated the man generally considered the heir apparent of former Speaker Kermit Burrous (Goshen News, Nov. 8, 1980). Dailey's years as Speaker were marked by his strong leadership. Dailey focused his efforts at limiting government spending and reducing taxes. Two issues in particular marked Dailey's tenure as Speaker. In 1983, Dailey led a successful campaign to defeat a resolution to institute a statewide lottery. Dailey originally stated he would refuse to hand down the bill to a floor vote, but relented after widespread protest (Indianapolis Star, Feb. 14, 1983). The bill eventually died in committee. A year later, Dailey refused to hand the same legislation down for a vote, effectively killing the measure until 1986 (Anderson Bulletin, Feb. 2, 1984).
A second important issue during Dailey's tenure regarded a multi-county banking bill. Dailey led efforts in 1984 to defeat legislation that would allow banking across Indiana county lines. Dailey opposed the bill despite strong support from Republican Governor Robert D. Orr and Republican Lieutenant Governor John M. Mutz. He maintained that the legislation would undermine the ability of small businessmen and individuals to obtain credit because of the possibility of many small, local banks being absorbed by larger statewide institutions. The bill was soundly defeated by a vote of 62-38.
Dailey's positions allowed to him provide many benefits for his constituents in Muncie and East Central Indiana. During Dailey's years in office, state funding for Ball State University more than doubled, and a four-lane expansion of Indiana 332 was completed. Dailey was also influential in initiating legislation for what eventually became the Indiana Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
In 1986, however, Dailey's political fortunes dramatically changed. Dailey's opposition to the lottery bill earned him some enemies within the state. Dailey also made enemies while exerting control over legislation that reached the house floor for votes. In addition, his opponent in the 1986 election, Democrat Marc Carmichael received strong support and funding from the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA), which was angry with Dailey's efforts to limit state spending in education. In the November election Dailey was soundly defeated, losing to Carmichael who captured 59% of the vote.
After political defeat in 1986, Dailey concentrated his energies on Allardt, Dailey and Canan Realtors, his real estate business in Lunsford. In 1988, he published Mr. Speaker, which detailed his six sessions in the Indiana state legislature. Dailey remained an active part of the community as a member of many organizations. In 1992, Dailey, along with state representative Hurley Goodall and former state representative Patrick J. Kiely, were honored by Ball State University with the President's Medal for Distinction for their efforts in advancing Ball State University. Along with his business and other activities, Dailey was an avid golfer. He was also an accomplished amateur gourmet chef and was featured several times in local news stories with his wife Anita.
3.9 Cubic Feet (4 boxes, 1 oversize folder, 1 oversize photographs folder, 1 slide, 1 negative)
Language of Materials
Series 1: J. Roberts Dailey papers, 1949-1992
Series 2: J. Roberts Dailey oversized materials, 1980-1984
Series 3: J. Roberts Dailey photographs, 1949-1951
Series 4: J. Roberts Dailey negatives, undated
Series 5: J. Roberts Dailey oversized photographs, undated
Series 6: J. Roberts Dailey slide, undated
- Correspondence Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Delaware County (Ind.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Delaware County (Ind.) -- History -- 20th century -- Sources Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Documents Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Muncie (Ind.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Muncie (Ind.) -- History -- 20th century -- Sources Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Photographs Subject Source: TGM II, Genre and physical characteristic terms
- Politicians Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Politics and government Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Stoeckel Archives of Local History Subject Source: Local sources
- J. Roberts Dailey papers and photographs
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Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository
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