Tax advocates Grover Norquist and Patrick Gleason of Americans for Tax Reform are touting Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as a logical choice for Mitt Romney's running mate. Jindal is from the South, his family is from an ethnic minority (Indian) and he's only 41 years old. The Louisiana governor is also seen as a fiscal and social conservative, a foil for Romney's moderate stances. Lately, Jindal has also come to the defense of Romney as the battle for the general election begins.
A recent interview Jindl conducted with Fox News illuminates his current take on the presidential election. He was highly critical of Obama's job experience. "President (Barack) Obama hasn't run anything before he was elected president of the United States. Never ran a state, never ran a business, never ran a lemonade stand. This job's too important for on-the-job training," Jindal said, according to ABC News.
Jindal added Romney was a successful governor and CEO of Bain Capital. Jindal began supporting Romney in mid-April when Rick Santorum dropped out of the Republican nomination process. Initially, he supported Gov. Rick Perry of neighboring Texas.
Jindal's first public post in Louisiana was the head of the Department of Health and Hospitals in 1996. He was 25 years old at the time. Two years later, he was the executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. In 2001, Jindal was appointed by George W. Bush to a high post in the Department of Health and Human Services.
His first elected office came in 2004 when Jindal won a seat in Congress from Louisiana's 1st District. He was elected following a failed attempt to run for governor. He was elected governor in October 2007. Jindal won almost 54 percent of the vote with slightly fewer than 700,000 votes. His closest opponent, Democrat Walter Boasso, earned just 17.5 percent of the vote. Four years later, Jindal won as an incumbent with 65 percent support to 18 percent for Tara Hollis.
Gulf Oil Spill
Perhaps the biggest challenge Jindal has faced as governor was the Gulf oil spill in 2010. ABC News reported in July 2010 on a plan backed by the governor to stop oil from reaching Louisiana's coastline. The popular governor advocated building immense islands of rock to divert oil away from the coast.
Federal officials refused to give Louisiana permits to do so, angering Jindal, who became heavily critical of the federal response and Obama in particular. The rock island plan came a month after Jindal proposed building sand berms to alleviate the effects of the massive oil slick.
The New York Times reported in June 2010 of a battle between Jindal and the Louisiana Legislature. The Democrat-controlled legislative body passed a bill requiring all records of the state regarding the Gulf oil spill. The governor claimed open records could be used by BP in any future litigation.
William Browning is a research librarian.