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Bobby Jindal to run for governor

By Aziz Haniffa in Washington DC
February 27, 2003 02:49 IST
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Bobby Jindal on Wednesday announced his intention to seek the governorship of Louisiana immediately upon arrival at the Baton Rouge metropolitan airport from Washington.

Besides his wife Supriya and one-year-old daughter, the state's incumbent Governor Mike Foster who has endorsed Jindal's candidacy, former Louisiana congressman Bob Livingstone, state representative Tony Perkins and more than 25 leading business leaders from across Louisiana, who have pledged their unqualified support and would be the likely big time contributors to his campaign kitty, were present to greet him at the airport.

"Today's is not the official declaration; I just announced my intention to run. The official announcement about my candidacy will come after I have a chance to tour the state, talk to the voters, share my ideas for the state and listen to people's ideas," Jindal told

"We had some good support today, among them the governor, some state legislators, some very prominent people."

"We had some very, very strong support today," he emphasised.

"The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive about my entering the race. But more importantly, I believe that my plan and vision -- which I will share in the coming weeks -- is one that will move Louisiana forward and provide opportunities for every Louisianan."

Speaking at the conference room at the airport, Jindal said, "I am very concerned that in Louisiana we need more opportunities than we have -- more opportunities for our kids -- and more opportunities for all our citizens to pursue their dreams here in Louisiana, instead of having to leave and realize them elsewhere."

Governor Foster, in his brief remarks, reiterated his contention that Jindal would bring the most energy and best ideas to the race, and to the office of governor.

Foster, a three-term governor, who cannot run again because of term limits, said, "Bobby Jindal is not really politician -- he's a leader. He's the best problem solver I've seen and he did a great job leading both our health care and university systems."

"Bobby is someone who rolls up his sleeves, goes to work and gets results. He brings with him an incredible energy that will move Louisiana forward, and fast."

Bob Livingstone, former lawmaker and now a leading lobbyist in Washington, said, "Bobby Jindal is one of the brightest most capable people I've ever met. His experience and success belies his youthful appearance."

"Bobby is the kind of leader who will have success in bringing better job opportunities to Louisiana."

Jindal is only 31 and if elected would follow in the footsteps of former president Bill Clinton as one of the youngest governors. Clinton became governor of Arkansas at age 31.

Congressman Jim McCreary, another ardent supporter of Jindal, who was unable to be present because of a vote in Congress, also released a statement that was read out at the airport.

"Bobby is exactly the kind of leader we need back in Louisiana. In just two years in the Bush Administration, he quickly became known on Capitol Hill as one of the most able people in Washington. He will be sorely missed, but Washington's loss is Louisiana's gain," the statement said.

Jindal on February 21, resigned his position as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services, the highest ranking position an Indian American has held in the Bush Administration or any other previous administration -- Democratic or Republican.

In his remarks at the airport, Jindal spoke of the 'great honour of serving President George Bush in Washington', but noted that he 'always viewed Washington as a temporary assignment'.

Jindal said he was thrilled to be back where he was born and raised and said he is looking forward to raising his daughter back in Louisiana.

"We want to raise her in the place where we both grew up, to raise her in the place we love, to raise her right here at home in Louisiana," he said while holding his wife Supriya's hand. "I was born here, I grew up here, and my family is here."

"I'm not a politician, and I've never been a politician. But I am a leader and I'm ready to lead our state forward," he added to loud cheers and chants of 'Bobby, Bobby, Bobby'.

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Aziz Haniffa in Washington DC