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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Bill Oesterle, the business executive who co-founded Angie’s List, helped elect Mitch Daniels to two terms as governor, and led the business charge against Indiana’s religious objections bill, has died at age 57.

Oesterle died Wednesday morning from complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Oesterle became a prominent figure in Indiana politics, beginning his career working at the Hudson Institute for former Governor Robert Orr.

Oesterle also led Mitch Daniels 2004 campaign for governor, an unorthodox campaign that included the candidate touring Indiana in an RV, dubbed RV One.

“I’m not often at a loss for words, but trying to imagine a world without Bill Oesterle leaves me that way,” Daniels said to WISH-TV in a statement. “He was a job creator, a community builder, a lifelong advocate for Indiana and a person with an enormous heart for others. He always said I was the person who persuaded him to return to Indiana: If that is so, it’s the single service I’m most proud of.”  

In 2015, Oesterle led the business charge against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana, arguing that it unfairly targeted the LGBTQ community and would keep tech workers from accepting jobs in Indiana.

The business backlash and national outcry forced legislative leaders to make changes to the law.

Oesterle would then found Tech for Equality, a coalition of more than 30 companies to fight for human rights ordinances around the state.

Gov. Eric Holcomb called Oesterle’s death a “devastating loss for his family and loved ones, but also for the state he advocated for to always lean forward.”

“His zeal and zest for life and others was second to none,” Holcomb said in a statement to WISH-TV. “A rare individual who could focus beyond the horizon and on the immediate surroundings equally.”

In business, Oesterle was a co-founder of Angie’s List, a company that referred its members to recommended contractors, service companies and doctors.

Oesterle also committed time and money to revitalizing what he considered neglected areas of Indianapolis, including the Angie’s List campus downtown, the 38th Street Corridor, and other historic buildings.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Friends of 38th Street, a not-for-profit near and dear to Bill’s heart.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hundreds of Purdue fans attended a tailgate on Monument Circle Friday afternoon to kick of the football team’s season opener against Louisville at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday.

The tailgate was free and started at noon and lasted until 2:30 p.m.

The team’s football players, pep band and cheerleaders were there as well as former Purdue athletes, Purdue President Mitch Daniels, football coach Jeff Brohm, and Athletics Director Mike Bobinksi.

The Boilermaker Special gave rides around downtown and food trucks will also be set up.

Beer was also available, including a new Boilermaker beer.

Purdue University partnered with former Purdue student Chris Johnson to create the Boiler Gold-American Ale.

The beer will initially be available at Ross-Ade Stadium and the 1869 Tap Room in the Memorial Union. It will eventually be sold at stores in Indiana and the Chicago-area.

“Boiler Gold ale is an expression of Boilermaker pride, and university proceeds from sales will support agricultural research, including in areas that support the state’s and nation’s growing craft beer industry through hops and fermentation sciences research,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a press release.

According to the release, Purdue works with the Brewers of Indiana Guild and there is a Hops and Brewing Analysis Lab in the Department of Food Science that works with the agricultural and craft brew industry to test hops, malted grains and finished products.

The university plans to begin offering a minor in fermentation sciences in the fall of 2018, with the long-term goal of making it a major.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Purdue President Mitch Daniels is speaking out about Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.

“The President’s order related to immigration is a bad idea, poorly implemented, and I hope that he will promptly revoke and rethink it. If the idea is to strengthen the protection of Americans against terrorism, there are many far better ways to achieve it,” Daniels stated in a release.

Purdue University says 100 of its 40,000 students come from countries affected by the travel ban. Ten of its faculty members are also citizens of those countries.

The university is urging anyone affected by the travel ban to stay in the United States until new guidelines are issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

No students are currently known to be stranded outside of the U.S.

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) – Purdue University is renaming its School of Chemical Engineering after an alumnus and his wife who donated $20 million to the school.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels on Friday announced the gift from Charles D. “Chuck” Davidson and his wife, Nancy. The school will be renamed the Charles D. Davidson School of Chemical Engineering.

Davidson received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Purdue in 1972 before embarking on a career as an oil and gas industry executive.

Purdue says the Davidsons’ gift will be through multiple endowments allocated to specific purposes.

Those include recruiting, retaining and advancing top-tier faculty, initiating new teaching and research programs and supporting graduate students.

Funding for a strategic initiative will provide financial support where it’s needed most, as determined by the school’s head.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) – The Libertarian candidate for President is at Purdue. Gary Johnson is there to answer questions from Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

The hour-long program takes place as Daniels, in his role as a member of the Presidential Debate Commission, is pushing to see Johnson included in debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Johnson makes no bones about it. He needs a debate invitation. “The only chance I have of getting elected is to be in the Presidential debates,” he said on an Indianapolis visit in June.

But so far only Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are invited.

“America needs to know that those are not the only two choices available,” said Libertarian State Chairman, Joe Hauptmann.

It seemed unlikely until Mitch Daniels suggested a change in the debate rules to include Johnson.

Never mind that Johnson made a memorable gaffe recently on MSNBC when he was asked about the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo.

“And what is Aleppo?” he said.

Daniels was among those who came to his defense.

“Oh, if we we’re gonna disqualify candidates for one comment they’d like to have back, it’d be a very small debate,” he said on MSNBC. “Each of them has made statements over a course of time that I’m sure they regret.”

It gives Libertarians hope. “If Gary actually gets in to debate,” said Hauptmann, “you’re going to see the whole dynamics of this race change.”

Johnson was a two term Governor in New Mexico and Daniels said that is one factor that makes this year different.

And that’s an argument for different debate rules. Currently a candidate must get to 15 percent in the polls to be included. Johnson is polling in a range from 9 to 11 percent, depending on the poll.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When Mitch Daniels first ran for governor in 2004, Eric Holcomb worked on his campaign. Now, Holcomb is running for governor and doing his best to copy a Daniels campaign tactic.

Daniels created his own weekly 30 minute TV reality show.

Holcomb is now using the same reality format to promote his candidacy, but he’s using an updated distribution system — the internet.

The Holcomb campaign is producing a couple of Facebook videos a week that show him campaigning, working as Lt. governor or just going to lunch.

It is a direct copy of what Daniels did in a series that showed him traveling the state in an RV during his first campaign, and the Holcomb campaign is making no apologies.

“Yeah, so a lot of us got our start with Mitch Daniels 12 years ago,” said campaign manager Mike O’Brien, “and we are not gonna be shy about stealing the best ideas from the 2004 and 2008 Mitch campaigns that were successful.”

One video shows Holcomb touring the Bacon Festival in Delphi. At one point, he says, “Bacon taco, I could go for easily. Tell ya what, bacon’ll put a smile on your face.”

The videos run from three to 17 minutes long. O’Brien says that the internet now supplies a fourth of the information consumed by voters, and the goal is to keep providing fresh material.

There is not much in the way of political messaging in the videos, however. It’s mostly an opportunity to get to know Holcomb better.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The head of former Gov. Mitch Daniels’ successful 2004 campaign has begun an effort to draft him to again seek the office if Donald Trump selects Mike Pence to be his running mate.

Former Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle has created a new website and hopes to build support for a “Draft Mitch” movement.

Oesterle spokeswoman Megan Robertson says Daniels, now Purdue University’s president, hasn’t ruled out running for the office if Gov. Pence drops his re-election bid.

Term limits barred Daniels from seeking a third consecutive term. But the Republican could run again now that he’s out of office.

A phone message seeking comment from Daniels was left at Purdue. He told the (Lafayette) Journal & Courier it wasn’t appropriate for him to comment at this time.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) – Purdue University President, Mitch Daniels, announced plans to open a new charter school in 2017.

Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis High School is set to open August 2017.

The new school’s curriculum, which will be developed by the faculty of Purdue’s Polytechnic Institute, will be extremely similar to the school on the West Lafayette campus.

Freshman and Sophomores in the new school will spend their first two years studying problem and project based-learning focused on the STEM courses, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Juniors will then make a decision which skills they would like to learn further as they gain real-life experience and college credit.

The former Indiana Governor said the school’s objectives are to help students better learn the skills crucial to succeeding in the workplace and to increase the number of IPS students who are able to succeed at Purdue.

The school is expected to be located in downtown Indianapolis.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Tuition at Purdue University could be frozen for a fourth year in a row. It’s the latest measure from university president Mitch Daniels.

This means tuition will remain at current levels through the 2016-17 academic year.

This time last year, the Purdue Board of Trustees endorsed a tuition freeze for a third year. The trustees will vote to endorse a tuition freeze for a fourth year later this week.

The endorsement will also include a 3.5 percent pay increase for employees at the West Lafayette campus and a higher entry-level pay for clerical and service staff.

Those decisions for the next two fiscal years could not be made until now because state appropriations and other funding variables weren’t known.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The head of the Indiana Department of Transportation is leaving that position and being replaced by one of the agency’s deputy commissioners.

The governor’s office announced Wednesday that Gov. Mike Pence had accepted Karl Browning’s resignation as INDOT commissioner after nearly two years into his second stint leading the highway department. A Pence spokeswoman declined to give a reason for Browning’s resignation.

Pence appointed Brandye Hendrickson as the new commissioner, effective immediately. Hendrickson has been charge of the department’s Greenfield district, which includes Indianapolis.

Hendrickson was INDOT’s interim commissioner before Pence appointed Browning to the position.

Browning was the Hoosier Lottery director after leading INDOT from 2006-2009 under Gov. Mitch Daniels.