Despite the amusing designation as “Bush’s Asian-babe PR shill,” loyal readers know how unhappy I’ve been with the GOP leadership in Washington–and how ambivalent I feel about the GOP presidential field.
There is one Republican I’m absolutely thrilled about, though: Bobby Jindal.
He’s taking office today as Louisiana governor. It’s a historic moment–and a proud moment:
The inauguration was set to begin at 10 a.m. with music from the West Monroe High School marching band. Pascal Calogero, chief justice of the state Supreme Court, was to swear in the 36-year-old Jindal at noon. He’ll be Louisiana’s first nonwhite governor since Reconstruction…
…Jindal, a Republican, succeeds Democrat Kathleen Blanco, who chose not to run for re-election to a second term after harsh criticism of her response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The Oxford-educated son of Indian immigrants, Jindal leaves a U.S. House seat to become governor. He won the gubernatorial post outright in the October primary, getting 54 percent of the vote in a field of a dozen candidates — reversing his loss to Blanco four years earlier.
The boyish-looking Jindal will be the youngest U.S. governor in office, but he’s used to being among the youngest faces in the room at many of his previous posts.
Just 32 during his first gubernatorial run, Jindal by then already had served as Louisiana’s health care secretary, president of one of its university systems and an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Bush. Republican former Gov. Mike Foster tapped Jindal to be the state’s health secretary in 1996, when Jindal was only 24.
You can watch the ceremony live here.
The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette welcomes Jindal:
Today, Bobby Jindal becomes governor of Louisiana. He will face major challenges in his new position, particularly as he strives for adoption of his No. 1 goal – rewriting the state’s ethics code. Determined to make Louisiana ethics the “gold standard” for the nation, he will call a special session to deal only with ethics reform. If he fails, he will continue calling special sessions until the reform package is adopted.
We believe he can win the ethics reform battle and meet all his other challenges, which include hurricane recovery measures, health-care improvements, economic reform, improvements in education, successfully combating crime, increasing safety for Louisiana citizens and analyzing and monitoring state spending.
Jindal has proved himself in the arena of government service. We first took notice of him in 1996, when he was appointed secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. That put him in charge of 12,000 employees and a $4 billion budget – in his first government job. He inherited a $400 million budget deficit and, in a relatively short period of time, turned it into a $220 million budget surplus.
In 1998, he was appointed executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the future of Medicare.
He returned to state government in 1999, accepting the post of president of the University of Louisiana system.
In 2001, he was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That made him the top policy adviser to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
His experience has undoubtedly prepared him to deal with Louisiana’s many health-care problems. Serving as president of the University of Louisiana system prepared him to deal with education issues.
…Jindal brings to the governor’s office broad experience, proven ability and a remarkable intellect. He has a record of success in every government position he has held. We expect that record to remain intact during his tenure as governor.
He’s the real deal.