-- Full name: Piyush “Bobby” Jindal.
Nickname: Given a traditional Indian name at birth, Jindal nicknamed himself Bobby. A fan of “The Brady Bunch” as early as age four, Jindal has said that he adopted the name “Bobby” after the youngest son on the popular 1970’s-era sit-com.
What he does now: Jindal, now 44, is the 55th governor of Louisiana. He was sworn in on January 14, 2008 and again January 9, 2012 after winning re-election.
What he used to do: In 1996, at age 24, he became the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. In 1999, Jindal became the youngest president of the University of Louisiana system. President George W. Bush nominated Jindal for the position of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services in March 2001. Jindal resigned from the Bush administration on February 21, 2003 to run for governor of Louisiana. Though he lost in a close election, the contest gave him newfound national prominence. Jindal was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District in 2005 and served until 2008, becoming just the second Indian-American to serve in Congress.
Declared as a candidate: June 24, 2015.
In his own words: “My candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. Not a course correction, but a dramatically different path.”
Family tree: Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 10, 1971 to Amar and Raj Jindal, immigrants from Punjab, India. Raised in a Hindu family, Jindal converted to Catholicism as a teenager. He and his wife, Supriya Jolly, married in 1997 and have three sons; he and his family now attend weekly mass at Saint Aloysius Parish in Baton Rouge.
Academic honors: Jindal graduated at the top of his class from a magnet school in Baton Rouge. He graduated from Brown University with degrees in biology and public policy at the age of 20, and went on to study at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He considered becoming a Catholic priest, but ultimately received a Master of Letters in political science with a focus on health policy.
Claim to fame: Jindal was praised for his response to 2008’s Hurricane Gustav, organizing and overseeing a massive evacuation effort of roughly 2 million Louisiana citizens.
Might have wished for a do-over: On February 24, 2009 he delivered the official Republican response to President Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress. Though pundits had speculated the speech would cement Jindal’s status as a rising star, his delivery -- and awkward walk to the podium -- were widely criticized both Democratic and Republican commentators alike.
Biggest disagreement with President Obama: Jindal is a staunch critic of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and has called for a complete repeal of the law. He has slammed the program for its costs and shunned alternatives proposed by Republicans that still raise taxes, but to a lesser degree. In a piece for Politico Magazine published in February 2015, Jindal wrote, “This puts Republicans in the positions of being ‘cheap’ Democrats, or Democrat-lite. We’ll raise taxes — but just … less than Obamacare. We’ll spend hundreds of billions on new entitlement programs — but just … less than Obamacare.” Jindal’s policy group, “America Next,” outlines a healthcare system in which states have access to a pool of grant money to subsidize insurance coverage.
What you might not know about him: Jindal’s morning on August 15, 2006 started early, when his wife awoke in the middle of the night from labor pains. The couple’s third son, Slade, arrived before the ambulance, so Jindal had to help deliver his son with some assistance from a nurse on the phone. Jindal expressed both surprise and relief at the circumstances of the quick birth. “We were very fortunate,” he said at the time, “We certainly didn’t expect this.”
What could hold him back: Jindal made headlines in 2013 after telling the G.O.P. to “stop being the stupid party” at a meeting of the Republican National Committee in Charlotte, North Carolina. Asked in January 2015 if he still thought Republicans were the stupid party, Jindal told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “I think we've gotten better, but I think the GOP to earn the right to be a governing party, we can't just be the party of no. We have to be a party of solutions.”
Favorite activities: Jindal is an outdoorsman. In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Jindal said he fishes more than anything else, but will duck hunt more than he’ll hunt deer.
Always wanted to be: The starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, also according to the Des Moines Register.