During a memorial service held in the state Capital rotunda, coworkers of the late veteran state elected official Charlie Daniels recalled that Daniels placed a high focus on restoring and maintaining the state Capitol and the surrounding grounds.
At the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Centre, Daniels passed away on Sunday. He was 83.
The Bryant Democrat held the offices of state auditor from 2010 to 2014, secretary of state from 2002 to 2010, and land commissioner from 1984 to 2002. After serving on the Parker’s Chapel School Board, he later served as director of the state department of labour under governors David Pryor and Bill Clinton. He spent 15 years in the Air Force Reserves after serving for four years on active duty in the US Air Force.
Republican Secretary of State John Thurston welcomed the more than 100 attendees to the memorial tribute, saying it was an honour to hold it “in the building that Charlie loved so much and he dedicated so much of his public service to this facility.”
Daniels spent more than 40 years working in and around the state Capitol building, according to Janet Harris, who worked under Daniels in the offices of the state auditor, secretary of state, and land commissioner.
She remarked, “I wouldn’t have it any other way, but the Arkansas State Capitol will always be synonymous with Charlie.”
Harris remarked that Daniels proudly handled a number of Capitol building historic preservation initiatives.
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Because “it was the people’s house [and] he wanted it to look good,” Daniels urged that the secretary of state’s office staff take “exquisite care” of the state Capitol building and the surrounding grounds. He wasn’t above teaching the groundskeeper how to properly water the lawn or pulling weeds out of the flower bed. He didn’t miss anything.
Harris remarked, “His attentiveness kept us all on guard as well.” We felt accountable for this place as we should when we worked for him.
Speaking on behalf of previous Democratic Governor Mike Beebe, State Democratic Party Chairman Grant Tennille claimed that Daniels “really programmized and systemized” caring for the state Capitol structure and the surrounding grounds and “making what it is now.”
He praised Thurston and Mark Martin, a former Republican secretary of state, for “doing that same well-organized and meticulous work.
Tennille declared, “This is one of the finest state Capitols in the nation.”
Daniels’ “warm and genuine” personality, according to Harris, was one of the things that attracted people to him.
Harris remarked, “He really loved everyone, and he wanted to do good for people.
Many of us give Charlie credit for getting our careers in public service started, according to Harris, executive director and chief executive officer of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.
Even though we didn’t always feel confidence in ourselves, she remarked, “He was confident in all of the young people he hired.” He had a manner of respecting, admiring, thanking, and encouraging us.
A recently deceased former coworker, according to Harris, once said that “working for Charlie was like working for your dad. You wanted to impress him since he treated you like family.
We “worked hard, served well, and had a good time,” she claimed.
Harris claimed that Daniels “served everybody” as a state elected official and was a Democrat on the campaign trail.
Daniels’ calm and endearing demeanour made people feel accepted, according to Thurston, who held the office of land commissioner from 2011 to 2019 and has been secretary of state since 2019. “And that’s exactly how he made me feel the first time I met him,” Thurston said of Daniels.
“I was new to politics when I first met Charlie,” Thurston said. His uplifting comments and non-aggressive demeanour brought solace in the occasionally nasty environment of politics, and that was simply who he was.
David Harbert of Fayetteville, Daniels’ grandson, said he always admired the way Daniels never forgot the people he met.
He said, “Hey Mr. Charlie?’ would be heard everywhere I went, and he would respond back like they were closest buddies. What a fantastic superpower. Simply said, he connected with everyone. He always dealt with people on their terms. He never thought of himself as superior to anyone.
Harbert claimed that Daniels gave his all to Arkansas.
Thurston, Rep. Jeff Wardlaw, R-Hermitage, Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, and Rep. Jeff Wardlaw, R-Beebe, each read citations from the Senate, House, and secretary of state’s office, and Nikki Heck, a spokeswoman for the state land commissioner’s office, gave the Daniels family flags that Heck claimed were flown on Thursday.
Republicans Lt. Governor Leslie Rutledge and Land Commissioner Tommy Land, Democrats Former U.S. Representative Mike Ross, Former Attorney Generals Dustin McDaniel and Steve Clark, Former Secretary of State Sharon Priest, and Former Land Commissioner Mark Wilcox were among those present at the funeral service.
Harris remarked, “He would have enjoyed this reunion.