Bobby Jindal, America's Most Transformational Governor

You may have heard his name mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate, but if you don’t know anything more about Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, you should.

Governor Jindal is leading a revolution of conservative reform in Louisiana. He is the most transformational young governor in America today. The principles that motivate his Louisiana Revolution are the same pro-innovation, pro-competition, anti-bureaucracy and anti- big government principles that I urge each week in this newsletter – the same principles that are so desperately needed in Washington, D.C.

For those of you who don’t yet know him, I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to Governor Bobby Jindal. And for those of you already familiar with this rising reformer, read on. You may just learn one more reason why Bobby Jindal is a reformer to watch, regardless of whether or not he gets a spot on the 2008 presidential ticket.

In Six Months, Jindal Has Accomplished More Than Most Do In a Lifetime

The first thing to know about Governor Jindal is that he has been in office as governor for just six months.

Six months.

And in just six months he’s accomplished more than most elected officials accomplish in a lifetime.

Governor Jindal has built his impressive record of conservative reform through an innovative, aggressive leadership that should be required learning for officials in Washington, D.C.

He didn’t wait for the Democratic controlled Louisiana legislature to come to him. He went to it, calling two historic special sessions before the regular session of the legislature even had a chance to begin.

“A New Day Louisiana, a New Day!”

In the first special session back in March, Governor Jindal began his reform agenda where it had to begin: fixing the culture of corruption and cronyism that has long dominated Louisiana politics and damaged Louisiana’s economy.

The ethics reforms won by Governor Jindal catapulted Louisiana from a state with one of the lowest rankings to among the states with the highest ethics standards.

Thanks to Bobby Jindal, today Louisiana ranks as the number one state in financial disclosure requirements of its elected officials. And this new transparency and accountability in government is having real world results.

New financial disclosure requirements for public officials that went into effect last week have prompted mass resignations from state boards and commissions.

Said one Louisiana voter: “I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m kinda liking the fact that this is resulting in ‘out with the old and in with the new.’ … A new day Louisiana, a new day!”

Jindal’s Louisiana: A Place to Work, Invest and Raise a Family

In yet another special session of the legislature and the regular session which ended just last week, Governor Jindal has built a spectacularly impressive record of accomplishment for the people of Louisiana.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Six Major Tax Cuts worth more than $500 million, including eliminating taxes on business and capital investment and the largest personal tax cut in the history of the state – a $300 million reduction in personal income taxes, worth up to $500 for an individual and $1,000 for a family.
  • Governor Jindal brought about a Transformation of Job Creation and Retraining. He completely eliminated the Department of Labor and passed a guarantee for employers that Louisiana educational institutions will train its workforce to meet their needs, and if they fail, they will retrain workers for free.
  • He created $10 million in Opportunity Scholarships so 1,500 poor children in New Orleans can escape failing public schools.
  • Jindal led the passage of The Health Care Consumers Right to Know Act, creating transparency of cost and quality for the first time in Louisiana’s health care system.
  • Bobby Jindal expanded the number of charter schools in Louisiana from 42 to 100.
  • He passed legislation cracking down on child molesters and also passed a resolution calling for the creation of involuntary civil commitment of sexually violent predators to keep them confined for treatment after they complete their prison terms.

Louisiana’s Third Bond Rating Boost in a Week

All this, and Governor Bobby Jindal is just getting started. Just last week he vetoed $9 million dollars in pet projects and pork barrel spending in the legislature’s budget – another area in which this 37-year-old governor is showing the way to Washington.

Not coincidentally, Jindal also announced that for the third time last week, Louisiana’s bond rating had been raised by a major credit rating agency.

“The World Needs More Bobby Jindals”

The Governor was also in the news because he vetoed a bill that the legislature passed doubling members’ current salary and guaranteeing future pay raises. Jindal had previously said he wouldn’t oppose the pay hike, but he came to the conclusion that it was incompatible with his reform agenda.

His earlier comments, the Governor admits, were a “mistake,” one that he chose to correct by vetoing the bill. And Jindal’s correction has cemented his reputation as a principled conservative reformer.

Here’s how one would-be opponent of Jindal’s put it:

Dear Governor Jindal: I wanted to leave you a quick note that I plan to withdraw my recall petition effective tomorrow (July 03, 2008). I filed the recall petition about an hour before you announced your veto. After researching your record, your goals, and your vision for Louisiana, the only conclusion I could come to is that the world needs more Bobby Jindals.

“The world needs more Bobby Jindals.” I couldn’t agree more.

Celebrating Independence Day in Baghdad

This photo and video say it all. 1215 servicemen and women re-enlisting in a July 4 ceremony presided over by General Petraeus in a former Saddam Hussein palace. This is twice the number of re-enlistments from a similar ceremony last year.

When I shared this photo with my Days of Infamy co-author, historian William Forstchen, he had this emotional reaction:

    Lump in throat time. … I suspect it is not the largest single re-enlistment in American history. In the spring of 1864, tens of thousands of Union volunteers, who had signed up for three years service in 1861 were up for discharge.

    They had served with honor and distinction, they had every honorable reason to take their discharges and go home, but if they did so, the cause of the Union would be in jeopardy. They knew with utter certainty what awaited them if they signed up again … and what might be lost if they did not. Over 30,000 of them reenlisted … that action, as much as any other, saved the Union.

    The young men and women in this photo show the spirit of the volunteer soldiers of our nation. I believe that hovering near them are the spirits of so many who gave the last full measure of devotion and now whisper, “Thank you soldier, God bless you, and well done.”

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S. — Last week I told you about my visit to First Baptist Atlanta, where I spoke to about 6,000 parishioners about the threats to American civilization from within and without. You can view my speech here

P.P.S. — I’ve written a lot about increasing drilling for oil in our American Solutions “Drill Here, Drill New, Pay Less” campaign but I want to also point out how one restaurant chain is powering its operations entirely through wind energy. The Austin Grill is based in the Washington, D.C. area, but they get their energy from wind farms in West Virginia. A Center for Health Transformation staffer, Michelle Stein, ate at Austin Grill this weekend and thought that was quite clever.