Bobby Jindal

t remains an open question whether Bobby Jindal would have been elected the youngest current governor in the U.S. had he run under his legal name of Pyush. What is beyond dispute is that the Republican has vaulted racial barriers in one of the nation's most conservative states through sheer ruthless fiscal competence.

     At the age of 25 Jindal took charge of Louisiana's bloated, bankrupt Medicaid program which had been running a $400 million deficit. He whipped it into a lean, efficient agency that produced ta $220 million surplus during his three years at its head. That feat won him appointment in 1998 as executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. A year later Jindal was appointed the youngest-ever president of the University of Louisiana system. In March 2001 President Bush nominated him for Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation. When Jindal was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and began serving on July 9, 2001, he became the principal policy advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

     At the age of 32 Jindal lost the 2003 gubernatorial race by a narrow margin. Within three weeks he started running for U.S. Congress. He won his first term by a wide margin in 2004 and was voted to lead his fellow freshmen congressmen. In 2006 he won re-elected by 80% of the vote, the political equivalent of a grand slam. But less than a year after his second term began Jindal set his sights on the ideal perch for even the upper reaches of American poltics. On October 20, 2007, at the age of 36, he won 54% of the vote in a four-way race for the governorship. Not only did he become the youngest current governor of 50 states, but the first non-white governor since Reconstruction, the sedon Asian American governor of a mainland state and the first Indian American governor.

     Pyush "Bobby" Jindal was born June 10, 1971 in Baton Rouge. His Punjabi parents had arrived recently to attend graduate school. His father Raj Jindal eventually became the information technology director for the Louisiana Department of Labor. Pyush became "Bobby" in all respects but the legal when, at the age of four, he claimed it while watching an episode of The Brady Bunch. The Jindal family was Hindu, but Bobby converted to Catholicism while attending Baton Rouge Magnet High School. He graduated at the age of 16. He majored in biology and public policy at Brown University. After graduating in 1991 he won a Rhodes Scholarship and received a master's degree in political science from New College, Oxford. One of the oddest moments of Jindal's life was writing an article for the New Oxford Review in which he described a friend being possessed by a demon. His first professional position, and only experience in the private sector, was working as a consulting advising Fortune 500 companies for McKinsey & Company. He married Supriya Jolly in 1997. They have a daughter and two sons.

     One of the more intriguing prospects for Jindal's continued meteoric rise in American politics is the openly discussed possibility of being named John McCain's running mate. "Only if he speaks at my high school reunion in August," Jindal has stated.

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Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivers his inaugural speech after taking the oath of office Monday, Jan. 14, 2008 on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Tim Mueller)

“Pyush became 'Bobby' in all respects but the legal when, at the age of four, he claimed it while watching an episode of The Brady Bunch.”

Three-year-old Shaan Jindal looks up to his parents, Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal and Supriya Jindal, during the Inaugural Prayer Service Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge, La.

(AP Photo/Tim Mueller)

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