Turning Louisiana around

October 31, 2007

The Oct. 20 election of Republican Bobby Jindal as the next governor of Louisiana marks a new period for the state in hopes of making positive, long-awaited changes. Jindal, who is also Louisiana’s first non-white governor since Reconstruction, easily won the election taking 54 percent of the votes.

At 36, Jindal is now the youngest sitting governor in the United States and has a rich history of advocating reform and fighting for the rights of others. He stands as a stout pro-life advocate and is a fierce opponent of stem cell research. Jindal has a line of political successes behind him.

The 1991 Brown University alumnus and Rhodes Scholar was appointed secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals in 1996 and rescued Louisiana’s Medicaid program from bankruptcy. Although he inherited a $400 million deficit, Jindal managed to turn the gaping shortage into a $220 million surplus by the end of his tenure.

Aside form his other political successes, Jindal has managed to build a solid connection with Tech in various ways. He visited Tech three times within the past year. Jindal has made a point to form a strong physical presence with Louisiana’s students.

In fact, while serving as president of the UL system, Jindal used Tech’s journalism department as his headquarters. Also, Trey Williams, a 1993 Tech graduate of journalism who also served as editor of The Tech Talk, now serves as Jindal’s communications director.

Jindal’s campaign, which specifically addressed ethics reform, also focused on higher education and keeping students in Louisiana after graduation. Jindal, who served as president of the University of Louisiana system from 1999 to 2001, is no stranger to higher education and its concerns.While in Congress, he authored The College Student Relief Act which will cut interest rates in half for specific student loans. Jindal said, “As former President of the University of Louisiana System, I worked hard to encourage students to continue their education … The cost of higher education continues to rise and has created a situation in which many middle class families cannot realistically afford to send their kinds to college.”

However, while offering our congratulations to Jindal, we here at The Tech Talk would also like to thank former Gov. Kathleen Blanco for her political endeavors and aid in gaining a $23 million grant for Tech research; we will always be grateful to her. Without this grant, it would have been more difficult for Tech to continue succeeding in its research efforts.