Starting at age 8, he walked door to door, helping his father hang doorknob flyers for Thomas Kuchel’s (AHS Class of 1928 graduate) State Senate campaign. His first county job was as an intern for then Supervisor Ralph Clark.
While at Anaheim High, where his father taught history, Tom was yearbook editor, a member of the California Scholarship Federation, a pitcher for the varsity baseball team, in addition to being a math and science major.
Spring boarding from his academic success at Anaheim, Tom was accepted at Harvard, where he studied government. A hometown boy who once delivered the Anaheim Bulletin, he returned to his city of birth and began a political career that led him to the position of mayor.
Tom was first elected to the Anaheim City Council in 1988 and served as a councilman until 1992. He was then elected as mayor of Anaheim, the state’s 10th largest city, a postion he held for 10 years.
During his tenure as Anaheim’s mayor, Tom’s hometown went through transformations and upgrades at a near breakneck pace. The convention center was expanded. A new theme park opened. A professional hockey team was born and a World Series won.
Tom counts his mayoral successes also included such city beautification projects as planting 20,000 trees, opening six new parks and eliminating countless utility poles and wires.
Anaheim’s convention center and Edison International Field were remodeled and renovated. During his term, crime rates took a downturn, the general fund reserves took an upturn despite the economic hit after Sept. 11. Revenue from the hotel bed tax, for example, doubled from $28.7 million in 1991-92 to $57.7 million in 2001-02.
He was credited for being able to balance big, headline-grabbing projects while still drawing attention to downtown or West Anaheim. This ability made him an him effective leader who understood that in Anaheim, both the big and small things are important.
He continues today in his role as a public servant and Anaheim High School, its alumni, students and staff, salute Tom Daly, AHS Class of ’72, for his outstanding contribution to society.