2012 Potential Republican Candidates Part 4

Today, we’ll profile three current governors: Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Mitch Daniels of Indiana. This will be a rather long post due to having three profiles.

Piyush Amrit “Bobby” Jindal is the 55th and current Governor of Louisiana and formerly a member of the United States House of Governor Bobby JindalRepresentatives. Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 10, 1971, to Amar and Raj Jindal, who came to the United States as immigrants from Punjab, India.

Jindal was one of 50 students nationwide admitted to the elite PLME program at Brown University, guaranteeing him a place in medical school. He was interested in public policy. Jindal also completed a second major in biology. He graduated in 1991 at the age of 20, with honors in both majors.

Jindal was named a member of the 1992 USA Today All-USA Academic Team. He studied at New College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. He received an M.Litt. degree in political science with an emphasis in health policy from the University of Oxford in 1994 for his thesis “A needs-based approach to health care”. He turned down an offer to study for a D.Phil. in politics, but instead joined the consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

In 1997, Jindal married Supriya Jolly who was born in New Delhi, India and moved to Baton Rouge with her parents when she was four years old. Supriya Jindal earned a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and an M.B.A. degree from Tulane University. She will receive a Ph.D. in marketing at Louisiana State University when she successfully completes her dissertation. They have three children: Selia Elizabeth, Shaan Robert, and Slade Ryan. Jindal was raised in a Hindu household, but converted to Christianity while in high school. During his first year at Brown University, he was received into the Catholic Church. His family attends weekly Mass at Saint Aloysius Parish in Baton Rouge.

In 1993 U.S. Representative Jim McCrery (whom Jindal had worked for as a summer intern) introduced him to Governor Mike Foster. In 1996 Foster appointed Jindal as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, an agency that represented about 40 percent of the state budget and employed over 12,000 people. Jindal was the youngest ever Secretary of the DHH at 25. During his tenure, Louisiana’s Medicaid program went from bankruptcy with a $400 million deficit into three years of surpluses totaling $220 million. Under Jindal’s term, Louisiana nationally rose to third place in child healthcare screenings, with child immunizations rising, and introduced new and expanded services for the elderly and the disabled. In 1998, Jindal was appointed executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, a 17-member panel charged with devising plans to reform Medicare.

In 1999 Jindal volunteered his time to study how Louisiana might use its $4.4 billion share of the tobacco settlement. In that same year, at only 28 years of age, Jindal was appointed to become the youngest-ever president of the University of Louisiana System, the nation’s 16th largest system of higher education with over 80,000 students per year. In March 2001 he was nominated to be Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation. He was later unanimously confirmed by a vote of the United States Senate and began serving on July 9, 2001. In that position, he served as the principal policy advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He resigned from that post on February 21, 2003, to return to Louisiana and run for the House of Representatives. He was elected to Congress for Louisiana’s 1st congressional district, elected in 2004. Jindal was re-elected to the House in the 2006 election with 88% of the vote. He is the second Indian-American elected to Congress.

On October 20, 2007, Jindal was elected governor of Louisiana, winning a four-way race with 54.2% of the vote. At age 36, Jindal became the youngest current governor in the United States. He is the first elected non-white Governor of Louisiana and the first Indian-American governor in the country. In 2008, Governor Jindal was ranked one of the nation’s most popular governors with an approval rating of 77%.

Jindal has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the 2012 presidential election. On December 10, 2008, Jindal indicated that he would likely not run for president in 2012, saying he will focus on his re-election in 2011 and that this would make transitioning to a national campaign difficult, though he later attempted to leave himself open to the opportunity to change his mind in the future – he did not rule out a possible 2012 presidential bid. Speculation increased when Republicans chose Jindal to deliver the response to President Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress.

His web site is: http://www.bobbyjindal.com/

Governor Chris ChristieChristopher James “Chris” Christie (born September 6, 1962) is the 55th and current Governor of New Jersey. He was born September 6, 1962 in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Bill Christie and Sondra Grasso Christie. Upon his election to the governorship in November 2009, Christie became the first Republican to win a statewide election in New Jersey in 12 years. Christie, an attorney, previously served as United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. He resides in Mendham, New Jersey, having chosen not to move his family into Drumthwacket, the official governor’s mansion.

He was raised in Livingston, graduating from Livingston High School. Christie graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1984 and Seton Hall University School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 1987. Christie was admitted to the Bar of the State of New Jersey and the Bar of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, in December 1987.

In 1986, Christie married Mary Pat Foster, a fellow student at the University of Delaware. After marriage they shared a one-room apartment in Summit, New Jersey. Mary Pat Christie pursued a career in investment banking, eventually working at the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald. She left the firm in 2001 following the September 11th attacks, only recently returning to work part-time. They have four children. Christie is of Irish and Sicilian descent.

In 1987, Christie joined the law firm of Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci of Cranford, New Jersey. In 1993, he was named a partner in the firm. Christie specialized in securities law, appellate practice, election law, and government affairs. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association and was a member of the Election Law Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

He was elected a freeholder in Morris County in 1994 but was defeated in a primary after one term. On December 7, 2001, Christie was nominated to be the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on December 20, 2001, and sworn into office on January 17, 2002. He served with distinction until 2008.

On January 8, 2009, Christie filed papers to run for governor. In the primary on June 2, Christie won the Republican nomination with 55% of the vote, defeating conservative opponents Steve Lonegan and Rick Merkt. On November 3, Christie defeated the incumbent governor Jon Corzine by a margin of 48.5% to 44.9%, with 5.8% of the vote going to independent candidate Chris Daggett.

Christie took office as Governor of New Jersey on January 19, 2010. On February 9, 2010, he signed Executive Order No. 12, which placed a 90-day freeze on the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) and established the Housing Opportunity Task Force to examine the State’s affordable housing laws, constitutional obligations, and the effectiveness of the current framework.

On February 11, 2010, Christie signed Executive Order No. 14, which declared a “state of fiscal emergency exists in the State of New Jersey” due to the projected $2.2 billion budget deficit for the current fiscal year (FY 2010). In a speech before a special joint session of the New Jersey Legislature on the same day, Christie addressed the budget deficit and revealed a list of fiscal solutions to close the gap. The cuts included withholding $475 million in State aid to more than 500 school districts, forcing them to spend their surpluses instead. State subsidies to NJ Transit, higher education, and hospitals were also cut. Christie also suspended funding for the Department of the Public Advocate and called for its elimination. Some Democrats criticized Christie for not first consulting them on his budget cuts and for circumventing the Legislature’s role in the budget process.

On August 25, 2010 it was announced that New Jersey had lost out on $400 million in federal Race To The Top education grants due to a clerical error in the application by a midlevel official.

On numerous occasions Christie has stated that he will not run for the presidency but his high poll numbers are impressive.

His web site is: http://www.state.nj.us/governor/

Mitchell Elias “Mitch” Daniels, Jr., (born April 7, 1949) is the 49th and current Governor of Indiana. He was born April 7, 1949 in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, to Dorothy Mae (née Wilkes) and Mitchell Elias Daniels, Sr., spending his early childhood years in Governor Mitch DanielsPennsylvania, Tennessee, and Georgia. The Daniels family moved to Indiana from Pennsylvania in 1959 while he was still in grade school. His paternal grandparents were Christian immigrants from Syria. Daniels has been honored by the Arab-American Institute with the 2011 Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service.

In 1971, Daniels earned a Bachelor’s degree with Honors from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and, in 1979, a Juris Doctor with Honors from Georgetown University Law Center.

Daniels had his first experience in politics while still a teenager when, in 1968, he worked on the unsuccessful campaign of William Ruckelshaus for the U.S. Senate. While in college, he interned in the office of then-Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar. In 1971, Daniels worked on Lugar’s re-election campaign and then joined his mayoral staff. Within three years, he became Lugar’s principal assistant. After Lugar was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976, Daniels followed him to Washington, D.C., as Administrative Assistant. Daniels served as Chief of Staff during Lugar’s first term (1977–82); and, during this time, he met Cheri Herman, who was working for the National Park Service. The two married in 1978 and had four daughters; they divorced in 1993 and remarried in 1997.

In 1983, when Lugar was elected Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Daniels was appointed its Executive Director. Serving in that position (1983–84), he played a major role in keeping the GOP in control of the Senate. Daniels was also manager of three successful re-election campaigns for Lugar. In August 1985, Daniels became chief political advisor and liaison to President Ronald Reagan.

In 1987, Daniels returned to Indiana as President and CEO of the Hudson Institute, a conservative think-tank. In 1990, Daniels left the Hudson Institute to accept a position at Eli Lilly and Company. He was first promoted to President of North American Operations (1993–97) and then to Senior Vice President for Corporate Strategy and Policy (1997–2001).

Daniels’ decision to run for governor came as a surprise to his Party’s leadership, and he was initially considered a dark horse. He was challenged in the Primary Election by conservative activist and lobbyist Eric Miller, whom he easily defeated. His campaign platform focused on cutting the State budget and privatizing public agencies. He began his first four-year term as Indiana’s Governor on January 10, 2005, and was elected to his second term by an 18-point margin on November 4, 2008. Upon becoming Governor, Daniels pressed for a series of changes that brought him into conflict with both Republicans and Democrats. During his first year in office, he proposed a number of tax increases, budget cuts, and privatization plans to balance the budget. Because of the opposition led by the Republican Speaker of the House, only two of the new taxes were approved. Support for a switch to Daylight Saving Time, the privatization of the Indiana Toll Road, and the closure of many license branches brought him into conflict with Democrats; and, in 2005, his approval ratings dropped to 42%. In 2007, he began pressing for constitutional changes to cap State property taxes at 1-3% of value. The caps were approved by the Indiana General Assembly as statute, and the resulting drop in revenue was offset by an increase in the State sales tax. His support for the property tax limits, and its subsequent adoption, helped raise his popularity and secure his re-election bid. His second term saw a major drop in State revenues, leading to major spending cuts to maintain a balanced budget.

Although Daniels had claimed to be reluctant to seek higher office, many media outlets, have speculated that Daniels may be in position to seek the Republican nomination for President in 2012. Speculators have cited Daniels’ record of reforming government, reducing taxes, balancing the budget, and connecting with voters in Indiana. However, Daniels has expressed some positions that have ruffled feathers within the far-right social conservative wing of the Republican Party. He “has called for a ‘truce’, for instance, on social issues, and expressed a willingness to consider tax increases to rectify a budget deficit.”

His web site is: http://mymanmitch.com/

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