NEW ORLEANS -- Louisiana's new governor-elect, Bobby Jindal, vowed to clean up corruption and embraced his image as a bureaucratic, methodical leader on Sunday, one day after voters here made history by electing the first Indian-American governor in the USA.
"If I go down as one of the more boring but effective governors, I'll take that as a great compliment," Jindal said at a news conference Sunday. "Our people don't want to be amused by our politics anymore. We don't want to be entertained."
Jindal, born in Baton Rouge to Indian parents, won a crushing victory over 11 other candidates Saturday in the crowded race for governor, avoiding a runoff by winning more than 50% of the vote. At 36, Jindal, a Republican, is the state's first ethnic minority governor since Reconstruction and will be the youngest current-serving governor in America.
At his acceptance speech late Saturday in the ballroom of a Baton Rouge hotel, Jindal said he will call the Legislature into a special session to address ethics reform and go after those "feeding at the public trough."
"They can either go quietly or they can go loudly, but either way, they will go," Jindal said to raucous cheers.
In January, Jindal will officially replace Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who lost political ground following her performance during Hurricane Katrina. He will steer the state at a time when many residents and businesses are still struggling to rebound from the devastating floods caused by Katrina in 2005.
Born Piyush Jindal, Jindal adopted the name "Bobby" from the Brady Bunch television character. He earned degrees from Brown and Oxford universities and first entered public office at age 24, as head of the state Department of Health and Hospitals. He lost a close race for governor against Blanco in 2003 but earned a congressional district seat a year later.
In his acceptance speech for governor, Jindal paid tribute to his parents, who came to Louisiana to attend graduate school.
"My mom and dad came to this country in pursuit of the American dream," Jindal said. "And guess what happened? They found the American dream to be alive and well right here in Louisiana."
In New Delhi, Jindal family members celebrated news of his victory Sunday with traditional Punjabi folk dancing, firecrackers and a large array of sweets, cousin Harinder Jindal said.
Jindal is perceived as a bright politician with lots of ideas and bureaucratic experience, said Wayne Parent, a political science professor at Louisiana State University. It's yet to be seen, however, whether Jindal can effectively unite a largely partisan Legislature, Parent said.
Contributing: The Associated Press