Time to focus on Louisiana

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 2, 2013

Perhaps the state’s worst kept secret has been Gov. Bobby Jindal’s apparent intention for a potential run for president in 2016.
Now Jindal appears intent on making the rest of the country aware of his aspirations. In an attempt to launch his fledging though technically still unofficial campaign, the governor has been hop-skotching the country, racking up frequent flyer miles, becoming a regular on the rubber-chicken circuit and speaking into any available mic.
Jindal’s absenteeism from the governor’s mansion is nothing new as he emerged as a popular go-to GOP spokesperson during the 2011 election, perhaps gaining valuable experience for his own potential shot at the Republican nomination.
Jindal’s ambitions are understandable and commendable, and who among Louisianaians would not like to see one of their own turn 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. into a Cajun bistro? But before seeking the White House, it would behoove the governor to first get his own house in order. Especially with more budget cuts on the way when the Legislature reconvenes in the spring.
Massive budget cuts have decimated the state’s healthcare system and riddled education, especially higher education. The governor’s continued refusal to enact Obamacare is costing the state millions of federal dollars.
The once-thriving LSU Health System has been stripped to the point where clinics have closed and hospitals may be next.
Increased tuition because of budget cuts means fewer students can afford college, even with the TOPS program. Ultimately, an unskilled or uneducated labor force will negatively impact economic development.
And some elements of the governor’s education reform package are facing litigation.
Jindal yearns to be the GOP’s face of the future, if not even the present, but that necessitates a resume of substance and results.
That can only be achieved by spending time in his own office, working through the state’s many ills. Only then will he be ready for prime time.