In this segment of Veepstakes, we take a look at the Governor from Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. Governor Jindal is seen by many political experts as a future presidential nominee for the Republican Party, and is widely believed to be on Mitt Romney’s shortlist for running mate. Despite being only 41 years old, he has worked in the George W. Bush Administration as an advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and he represented Louisiana’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2005 until 2008, when he was elected Governor of Louisiana. Here is a look at where he stands on the issues that matter most to the tech industry.
Innovation incentives are essential for the tech industry, something Governor Jindal recognized when he signed into law a bill that extended Louisiana’s R&D tax credit for six years. In June 2011, Governor Jindal signed the Digital Media Tax Credit and Technology Commercialization Tax Credit bills, which were designed to encourage tech companies to invest in Louisiana. His efforts to expand tech’s footprint in Louisiana is likely a reason why the state that has the second-fastest growing information sector in the country in terms of job growth. He has also sought to lessen the tax burden on businesses, working to eliminate the tax on business investments in his home state. We hope he feels the same way about reducing our onerous corporate tax rate and moving the U.S. to a competitive territorial tax system.
While Governor Jindal has been tough on illegal immigration, he does support a key priority of the tech community – skilled immigration reform. In his 2010 book, Leadership in Crisis, he wrote of the need to “refocus our legal immigration policy to encourage high-skilled immigrants who embrace American values.” Jindal also believes in education’s ability to improve our nation’s economic future. His mother studied nuclear physics and his father is a civil engineer, so Jindal has first-hand knowledge of the importance of STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math), and has called himself “an enthusiastic advocate for expanding the frontiers of science and technology.” In a 2009 speech, he recognized the need to expand the use of innovative technologies to increase energy security and develop new jobs, stating, "We believe that if we unleash the innovative spirit of our citizens, we can achieve energy independence.”
Jindal was involved in key trade votes during his time in the House of Representatives, voting against the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), but voting for the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement. As Governor of Louisiana, he supported increased trade with China. In 2008, Jindal was the keynote speaker at the U.S.-China Trade Conference, where he said that "We've got many historic relationships, especially with the food exports into China….We're beginning to hear of more interest in investing in Louisiana and we want to build on that.”
Jindal was also ahead of the curve on cybersecurity, issuing a state proclamation in 2010 that designated October as Cyber Security Awareness Month, underlining his desire in Louisiana to “raise awareness about the importance of cyber security and the shared responsibility we all have to improve cyber security preparedness.”
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