Piyush Amrit “Bobby” Jindal is the 55th and current Governor of Louisiana and formerly a member of the United States House of Representatives. Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 10, 1971, to Amar and Raj Jindal, who came to the United States as immigrants from Punjab, India.
Jindal was one of 50 students nationwide admitted to the elite PLME program at Brown University, guaranteeing him a place in medical school. He was interested in public policy. Jindal also completed a second major in biology. He graduated in 1991 at the age of 20, with honors in both majors.
Jindal was named a member of the 1992 USA Today All-USA Academic Team. He studied at New College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. He received an M.Litt. degree in political science with an emphasis in health policy from the University of Oxford in 1994 for his thesis “A needs-based approach to health care”. He turned down an offer to study for a D.Phil. in politics, but instead joined the consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
In 1997, Jindal married Supriya Jolly who was born in New Delhi, India and moved to Baton Rouge with her parents when she was four years old. Supriya Jindal earned a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and an M.B.A. degree from Tulane University. She will receive a Ph.D. in marketing at Louisiana State University when she successfully completes her dissertation. They have three children: Selia Elizabeth, Shaan Robert, and Slade Ryan. Jindal was raised in a Hindu household, but converted to Christianity while in high school. During his first year at Brown University, he was received into the Catholic Church. His family attends weekly Mass at Saint Aloysius Parish in Baton Rouge.
In 1993 U.S. Representative Jim McCrery (whom Jindal had worked for as a summer intern) introduced him to Governor Mike Foster. In 1996 Foster appointed Jindal as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, an agency that represented about 40 percent of the state budget and employed over 12,000 people. Jindal was the youngest ever Secretary of the DHH at 25. During his tenure, Louisiana’s Medicaid program went from bankruptcy with a $400 million deficit into three years of surpluses totaling $220 million. Under Jindal’s term, Louisiana nationally rose to third place in child healthcare screenings, with child immunizations rising, and introduced new and expanded services for the elderly and the disabled. 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 Jindal volunteered his time to study how Louisiana might use its $4.4 billion share of the tobacco settlement. In that same year, at only 28 years of age, Jindal was appointed to become the youngest-ever president of the University of Louisiana System, the nation’s 16th largest system of higher education with over 80,000 students per year. In March 2001 he was nominated 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 the House of Representatives. He was elected to Congress for Louisiana’s 1st congressional district, elected in 2004. Jindal was re-elected to the House in the 2006 election with 88% of the vote. He is the second Indian-American elected to Congress.
On October 20, 2007, Jindal was elected governor of Louisiana, winning a four-way race with 54.2% of the vote. At age 36, Jindal became the youngest current governor in the United States. He is the first elected non-white Governor of Louisiana and the first Indian-American governor in the country. In 2008, Governor Jindal was ranked one of the nation’s most popular governors with an approval rating of 77%.
Jindal has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the 2012 presidential election. On December 10, 2008, Jindal indicated that he would likely not run for president in 2012, saying he will focus on his re-election in 2011 and that this would make transitioning to a national campaign difficult, though he later attempted to leave himself open to the opportunity to change his mind in the future – he did not rule out a possible 2012 presidential bid. Speculation increased when Republicans chose Jindal to deliver the response to President Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress.
His web site is: http://www.bobbyjindal.com/