Bobby Jindal Biography

U.S. Governor (1971–)
A rising star in the Republican Party, Bobby Jindal became the first Indian American to be elected governor in the United States in 2007.


Born in 1971, Bobby Jindal started out in politics while attending Brown University. He worked as an intern for Congressman Jim McCrery. In 1991, Jindal went to Oxford University to study health-care systems. He later worked for the state of Louisiana. In 2001, Jindal became the assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services for President George W. Bush. He won his second bid for governor of Louisiana in 2007. In 2015, Jindal announced that he was running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. 

Early Life

The son of immigrants from India, Bobby Jindal has enjoyed tremendous success as a politician. He became the first Indian American elected governor in the United States. Growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Jindal changed his first name from "Piyush" to "Bobby" when he was a child, after one of the characters on the television sitcom The Brady Bunch. He began exploring his interest in politics in college, serving as an intern for Louisiana Congressman Jim McCrery one summer.

After graduating from Brown University in 1991, Jindal went to England to study different health-care systems as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. He then went into business, working for the consulting firm McKinsey and Company during the mid-1990s. In 1996, Jindal landed his first job in public service, becoming the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The department was in deep financial trouble when he took over. During his tenure, Jindal unearthed numerous cases of fraud and waste, and turned the health-care system around financially.

In 1998, Jindal brought his health-care expertise to Washington, D.C., as the executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. He then focused his efforts on education as the president of the University of Louisiana System for several years. In 2001, Jindal joined the administration of President George W. Bush, as assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He resigned from that post two years later, returning to Louisiana for his first election bid.

Political Career

A virtual unknown, Jindal sought to win Louisiana's highest office in 2003. The conservative Catholic politician ran on a pro-life, anti-gun control platform, but he could not win over enough of the state to secure the governorship. He, however, did not wallow in his defeat. He campaigned and won election to the U.S. House of Representatives the following year.

While in the House, Jindal served on several committees, including the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. He also worked hard to pass legislation to support Louisiana's recovery after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. During this natural disaster, Jindal appeared on national television several times to speak about the crisis. His family, which includes his wife Supriya and three children, was forced to leave their home in Kenner, Louisiana, during the hurricane.

In 2007, Jindal once again ran for governor of Louisiana. This time he won the election and started to tackle ethics- and business-related issues soon after being sworn in as governor, in January 2008. Not long after taking office, Jindal helped Louisiana through another natural disaster—Hurricane Gustav. He oversaw the evacuation of roughly 1.9 million people before the storm hit the region. His deft handling of this difficult situation earned him widespread praise, which continued when he guided his state through the devastating BP oil spill of 2010.

After serving in Congress and as governor, what will be next for this rising conservative star? Some political analysts considered that Jindal to be a possible vice-presidential running mate for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in 2012. At the time, he insisted that he is not considering the vice-presidential role, explaining that his governorship position is the job that he wants. "I think it's presumptuous to speculate on all of this," he said in 2012. "The reality is he will select whoever he thinks will do the best job, if called upon, to step into the job as president."

In June 2015, however, Jindal clearly had his eyes set on national office. He announced that he was seeking the Republican presidential nomination on Twitter. Jindal faces stiff competition from such leading candidates as Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee. 

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