Bobby Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, La. He earned bachelor's degrees in biology and public policy at Brown University and a master's from Oxford University.
Jindal served as president of the University of Louisiana System from 1999 to 2001 and as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals from 1996 to 1998.
He was elected to Congress in 2004 after losing the 2003 governor's race to Democrat Kathleen Blanco. Jindal was elected governor in 2007, becoming Louisiana's first non-white governor since Reconstruction and the nation's first Indian-American chief executive.
Though his family raised him a Hindu, Jindal converted to Catholicism as a teen in a struggle with his parents that he detailed in religious writings for Catholic publications.
He and his wife, Supriya, have three children.
Bobby Jindal was one of a handful of Republican governors seen as possible presidential candidates in 2012.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and radio host Rush Limbaugh tout Jindal for his socially and fiscally conservative views. His profile has risen since his 2007 election, as he appears on cable news shows and travels nationwide raising money for his 2011 re-election bid and for other candidates' campaigns.
Jindal has tapped into an extensive network of Republican fundraising and consulting firms known for their work for GOP candidates and causes around the country. He's assembling the type of campaign organization and connections that reach far beyond his home state — and that could help launch future political campaigns on a national stage.
His out-of-state fundraising was sidetracked for much of 2010 due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and budget troubles in Louisiana. Jindal's nearly daily press conferences about the oil spill, laden with attacks on the response to the spill by President Barack Obama's administration, helped the governor boost his approval ratings and got him high marks for his own response to the spill. A recent poll showed the governor receiving good or excellent ratings from more than 60 percent of voters surveyed.
Jindal's election as governor was historic: The son of Indian immigrants became the first non-white governor in Louisiana since Reconstruction. However, Jindal typically downplays his ethnic background.
He is known for his speedy manner of speech, in which he rattles off statistics and bureaucratic proposals for fixing Louisiana's troubles. Unfortunately for Jindal, he abandoned his normal rapid-fire speaking style on one prominent occasion: his delivery of the 2009 GOP response to President Obama's address to Congress, televised nationwide. Jindal delivered the speech in a leaden, simplistic tone — for which he was ridiculed on late night TV and on numerous Internet parodies.
Jindal was thought to be on Sen. John McCain's list of possible running mates during the 2008 presidential election, and he was offered a prime speaking role at that year's Republican National Convention. He canceled the convention speech when Hurricane Gustav threatened Louisiana's coast.
His overall handling of Gustav and Hurricane Ike, which followed shortly thereafter, earned him praise in a state where government missteps during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 led to former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco's decision not to seek re-election, thus paving the way for Jindal, who had lost to Blanco in 2003.
Jindal's confident, competent presence after those hurricanes helped negate some early stumbles and build on his early successes. Soon after taking office he won legislative approval for changes in Louisiana's ethics laws, toughening financial disclosure and conflict of interest laws. He also successfully backed reductions in state business taxes.
Jindal waffled, however, on a reduction in the state income tax, initially opposing it, then joining his conservative base to support it. The tax break was popular among voters but is now seen as one reason the state has faced major spending cuts.
American Conservative Union Rating: Not rated
Americans for Democratic Action Rating: Not rated
Recent winning percentages for office currently held: 66% (2011), 54% (2007).
(Last updated by Melinda Deslatte on September 3, 2010.)