|Preceded by||Kathleen Blanco|
|January 3, 2005 – January 14, 2008|
|Born||June 10, 1971
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Alma Mater||Brown University,
Shaan Robert Slade Ryan
Piyush "Bobby" Jindal (born June 10, 1971) is the current Governor of the U.S. state of Louisiana. Prior to his election as governor, he was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Louisiana's 1st congressional district, to which he was elected in 2004 to succeed current U.S. Senator David Vitter. Jindal was re-elected to Congress in the 2006 election with 88 percent of the vote. On October 20, 2007, Jindal was elected governor of Louisiana, winning a four-way race with 54% of the vote. At age 36, Jindal became the youngest current governor in the United States. He also became the first non-white to serve as governor of Louisiana since P. B. S. Pinchback during Reconstruction, the first non-white elected governor of the state, and the first Indian American elected to state-wide office in U.S. history.
Piyush Jindal (pronounced /ˈdʒɪndəl/) was born on June 10, 1971 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Punjabi Indian immigrants Amar and Raj Jindal, who had recently arrived for Amar to attend graduate school at Louisiana State University. His father, Amar, left India and his ancestral family village of Khanpura in 1970. His mother, Raj, is an information technology director for the Louisiana Department of Labor. Jindal's self-adopted nickname ("Bobby") dates back to his childhood and his identification with the sitcom character "Bobby Brady". According to Jindal "Every day after school, I'd come home and I'd watch The Brady Bunch. And I identified with Bobby, you know? He was about my age, and 'Bobby' stuck." He has been known by his choice of nickname ever since — as a civil servant, politician, student, and writer — though legally his name remains Piyush Jindal.
Jindal was born and raised a Hindu, but converted to Catholicism in high school. Jindal's Catholic faith includes a solidarity with other Christian denominations; he has given speeches and offered religious testimony before Baptist and Pentecostal congregations. He attended public school at Baton Rouge Magnet High School. Following high school, Jindal attended Brown University, graduating with honors in biology and public policy. Although he had thought of a career in medicine or law, he went on to study at New College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and received an M.Litt. degree in political science from the University of Oxford in 1994 for a thesis on "A needs-based approach to health care." Later that year he was reported to have been accepted at Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School, and to have the option of returning to Oxford for a D.Phil. in politics. However, after Oxford, he joined the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he advised Fortune 500 companies.
In 1996 Jindal married Supriya Jolly (born 1972). The couple have three children: Selia Elizabeth, Shaan Robert, and Slade Ryan.
In 1993 Republican U.S. Representative Jim McCrery (for whom Jindal had once worked as a summer intern) introduced Jindal to Republican Governor Mike Foster. In 1996 Foster appointed Jindal to be secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, an agency that then represented about 40 percent of the state budget. During his tenure as secretary, Louisiana's Medicaid program went from bankruptcy with a $400 million deficit into three years of surpluses totaling $220 million. Jindal was criticized during the 2007 campaign by the Louisiana AFL-CIO for having closed some local clinics to balance the budget. In 1998, Jindal was appointed executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, a 17-member panel charged with devising plans to reform Medicare.
In 1999, at the request of the Louisiana Governor's Office and the Louisiana State Legislature, Jindal volunteered his time to study how Louisiana might use its $4.4 billion share of the tobacco settlement. In that same year Jindal was appointed to become the youngest-ever president of the University of Louisiana System. In March 2001 he was nominated by President George W. Bush to be Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation. He was later unanimously confirmed by a vote of the United States Senate and began serving on July 9, 2001. In that position, he served as the principal policy advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He resigned from that post on February 21, 2003, to return to Louisiana and run for governor.
2003 Campaign for GovernorEdit
Jindal came to national prominence during the 2003 election for Louisiana governor.
In what Louisianans call an "open primary" (but which is technically a nonpartisan blanket primary), Jindal finished first with 33 percent of the vote. He received endorsements from the largest paper in Louisiana, the New Orleans' Times-Picayune; the newly-re-elected Democratic mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin; and the outgoing Republican governor, Mike Foster. In the second balloting, Jindal faced the outgoing lieutenant governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Lafayette, a Democrat. Despite winning in Blanco's hometown, he lost many normally conservative parishes in north Louisiana, and Blanco prevailed with 52 percent of the popular vote.
Political analysts have speculated on myriad explanations for his loss. Some have blamed Jindal for his refusal to answer questions about his record brought up in several advertisements, which the Jindal Campaign called "negative attack ads"; others note that a significant number of conservative Louisianans remain more comfortable voting for a Democrat, especially a conservative one, than for a Republican. Despite his losing the election in 2003, the run for governor made Jindal a well-known figure on the state's political scene.
Congressman for the First DistrictEdit
A few weeks after the 2003 gubernatorial runoff, Jindal decided to run for Louisiana's 1st congressional district. The incumbent, David Vitter, was running for the Senate seat being vacated by John Breaux. The Louisiana Republican Party endorsed him in the primary despite the fact that Mike Rogers, also a Republican, was running for the same seat. The 1st District has been in Republican hands since a 1977 special election and is widely considered to be the most conservative district in Louisiana. Jindal also had an advantage because his campaign was able to raise over $1 million very early in the campaign, making it harder for other candidates to effectively raise funds to oppose him. He won the 2004 Election with 78 percent of the vote.
He was appointed to the House Committee on Homeland Security, the House Committee on Resources, and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. He was made vice-chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attacks.
Governor of LouisianaEdit
On January 22, 2007, Jindal announced his candidacy for governor. Polling data showed him with an early lead in the race, and he remained the favorite throughout the campaign. He defeated eleven opponents in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, including two prominent Democrats, State Senator Walter Boasso of Chalmette and Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell of Bossier City, and an independent, New Orleans businessman John Georges.
Jindal finished with 699,672 votes (54 percent). Boasso ran second with 226,364 votes (17 percent). Georges finished with 186,800 (14 percent), and Campbell, who is also a former state senator, ran fourth with 161,425 (12 percent). The remaining candidates collectively polled three percent of the vote. Jindal polled pluralities or majorities in 60 of the state's 64 parishes (equivalent to counties in other states). He lost narrowly to Georges in Orleans Parish, to Boasso in St. Bernard Parish (which Boasso represented in the Legislature), and in the two neighboring north Louisiana parishes of Red River and Bienville located south of Shreveport, both of which are historically Democratic and supported Campbell. In the 2003 contest with Blanco, Jindal had lost most of the northern parishes.
Jindal assumed the position of governor when he took the oath of office on January 14, 2008. At thirty-six, he became the youngest sitting governor in the United States. He is also Louisiana's first non-white governor since P. B. S. Pinchback served for thirty-five days during Reconstruction, and the first non-white governor to be elected (Pinchback succeeded to the position of Lieutenant Governor on the death of Oscar Dunn, then to Governor upon the impeachment of Henry Clay Warmoth)..
In a salute to the 2007 LSU Tigers football national championship team during his January 14, 2008 inauguration speech, Jindal stated in part "...They revere our athletes. Go Tigers...."
On May 3, 2008 a special election was held to determine Jindal's replacement in the 1st Congressional District. Steve Scalise, a state legislator, was elected with 75 percent of the vote over University of New Orleans professor Dr. Gilda Reed.
On June 27, 2008, Louisiana's Secretary of State confirmed that a recall petition had been filed against Governor Jindal. Ryan and Kourtney Fournier filed the petition in response to Jindal's refusal to veto a bill that would more than double the current state legislative pay. The petitioners had 180 days to collect the signatures of over 900,000 registered voters to force a recall election on the ballot. If accomplished, a simple majority would have been needed to remove the Governor. During his campaign for Governor, Jindal had pledged to prevent legislative pay raises that would take effect during the current term. Jindal responded by saying that he is opposed to the pay increase but that he had pledged to let the legislature govern themselves.
On June 30, 2008, Governor Jindal reversed his earlier position by vetoing the pay raise legislation, stating that he made a mistake by staying out of the pay raise issue. In response, the petitioners dropped their recall effort.
Louisiana state government watchdog C.B. Forgotston, former counsel to the House Appropriations Committee who supported Jindal's election in 2007, has expressed disappointment with the governor in regard to the legislative pay raise and other fiscal issues too. Forgotston, a Hammond lawyer, said he would grade Jindal an A in self-promotion and a D in performance in office.