|Governor of Louisiana|
From: January 14, 2008 – Present
|Successor||Incumbent (no successor)|
|U.S. Representative from Louisiana's 1st District|
From: January 3, 2005 – January 14, 2008
Jindal was born in Baton Rouge on June 10, 1971 to recently arrived Punjabi Indian immigrants, Amar and Raj Jindal, who were attending graduate school. His family is of Punjabi ancestry, his father left India in the 1970s and his ancestral family village of Khanpura. Jindal was raised a Hindu but converted to Catholicism in high school. Jindal adopted the name "Bobby" after watching The Brady Bunch television program at age four. He has been known by that name ever since, as a civil servant, politician, student, and writer. Legally though his name remains Piyush Jindal.
He graduated from Baton Rouge High School in 1987 and went on to attend Brown University where he graduated with honors in biology and public policy. Following his graduation from Brown he attended Oxford University in the United Kingdom as a Rhodes Scholar, having turned down admissions to medical and law schools at both Harvard and Yale.
In 1994, Jindal went to work for McKinsey and Company as a consultant for Fortune 500 companies before entering public service. In 1996, he was appointed Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). There were many issues that needed resolving during his tenure, not the least of which was the growing deficit in Louisiana's Medicaid program. During Jindal's tenure as DHH Secretary, he rescued Louisiana's Medicaid program from bankruptcy, childhood immunizations increased, Louisiana ranked third best nationally in health care screenings for children, and new and expanded services for elderly and disabled persons were offered.
In 1998, Jindal was appointed Executive Director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. As Executive Director, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Commission, whose work continue to be the driving force behind much of the ongoing debate on how to strengthen and improve Medicare.
At the conclusion of the Commission's work, Jindal was appointed President of the University of Louisiana System, the 16th largest higher education system in the country. While serving as President, Jindal worked to establish areas of excellence at each individual institution.
President George W. Bush appointed Jindal to serve as Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2001. In that position, he served as the principal policy advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He later resigned from the position in 2003 to return to Louisiana and run for Govenor. In that race, Jindal went from being a relatively unknown candidate for Governor, to receiving the most votes in the primary election. However, with 48 percent of the vote in the runoff, he lost the election.
In 2004 he was elected to the 109th United States Congress representing the First District of Louisiana. In Congress he was elected Freshman Class President and served on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the House Committee on Homeland Security, and the House Committee on Resources. Bobby also served as Assistant Majority Whip.
In his first term he passed a number of notable pieces of legislation and played an instrumental role in Louisiana's recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. His noteworthy accomplishments include the passage of legislation to bring significant offshore energy revenues to Louisiana for the first time and legislation that keeps Federal Emergency Management Agency from taxing certain recovery grants as income.
Jindal was re-elected to Congress in 2006 with 88 percent of the vote majority. 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 jungle primary held on October 20, including two prominent Democrats. He went on to win the gubernatorial election with 54 percent of the vote in the jungle primary, winning in 60 of the 64 parishes.
Jindal has not escaped liberal criticism for his plans to reject portions of Economic Stimulus money to extend unemployment benefits to those who wouldn't ordinarily receive them.. Jindal was criticized for a speech he gave in response to President Obama, when Jindal questioned the use of some stimulus money, including volcano monitoring.
- "Jindal ... made history in 2007 when, at 36, he was elected the nation's first Indian-American governor and became the youngest governor in office." (CNN)
- "Jindal rejects unemployment money (for those who normally wouldn't get it)LA to receive in stimulus" (AP Louisiana News)
- "Geologist Erupts at Jindal's Volcano Question" (FOX News)