J. Danforth Quayle
Never in its history had the spotlight been brighter on Huntington than in August of 1988 when national media descended on the town to learn about Dan Quayle. Quayle, the junior senator from Indiana, had been the surprise choice of running mate of Republican presidential nominee George H.W. Bush.
Quayle graduated from Huntington High School in 1965 and his career in public service began in July 1971 when he became an investigator for the Consumer Protection Division of the Indiana Attorney General's Office. Later that year, he became an administrative assistant to Governor Edgar Whitcomb. From 1973-74, he was the Director of the Inheritance Tax Division of the Indiana Department of Revenue. Upon receiving his law degree, he worked as associate publisher of his family's newspaper, the Huntington Herald-Press, and practiced law with his wife, Marilyn, in Huntington. He won election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana’s 4th District in 1976, defeating fellow Huntington lawmaker, J. Edward Roush. Four years later, Quayle ran for the U.S. Senate, defeating another long-standing legislator in Birch Bayh.
In 1988, Quayle was not well-known nationally when he was tabbed by Bush to be his running mate. The campaign kicked off on the south steps of the Huntington County Courthouse. The national media descended upon Huntington to find out more about Quayle, putting Huntington at the center of the daily news cycle. Following the
frenzy, the Republican ticket went on to win the 1988 election, defeating Democrats Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen. Among his duties as vice president, Quayle was head of the Council of Competitiveness, which worked to ensure US international competitiveness in the 21st century. He made official visits to 47 countries, and was chairman of the National Space Council.
Bush and Quayle did not win re-election in 1992, falling to the Democratic ticket of Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Quayle returned to the national stage as he sought the 2000 Republican nomination for president, but eventually ended his campaign and supported George W. Bush, who went on to win the nomination and the presidency.
The Quayle Vice Presidential Learning Center opened in Huntington in 1993 and features items on Quayle and all U.S. vice presidents.
Since leaving public office, Quayle has authored three books: “Standing Firm, A Vice-Presidential Memoir,” which was on the New York Times bestseller list for 15 weeks; “The American Family: Discovering the Values that Make Us Strong”; and “Worth Fighting For.” He also has served as a political consultant and global investment banker.