Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Gubernatorial Election Victory Speech

"If and when people try to throw in amendments designed to derail ethics reform, I will call them out."

delivered 20 October 2007

C-SPAN Off-Site Video of Address

click for pdf


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio.]

Four years ago, I had the privilege of coming and telling you that LSU had beaten Alabama, but that we had lost. Four years later, I'm here to tell you we just took the lead over Auburn -- and we've won.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Louisiana. Folks, I've got an idea. Let's give our homeland, the great state of Louisiana, a fresh start.

I want to thank Mr. Campbell, Mr. Boasso, Mr. Georges -- the other candidates that offered themselves. This is democracy. Let's give them a round of applause for offering themselves for Louisiana. (Thank you. Thank you.) I also spent some time talking today to Governor Blanco. I'm confident we're going to have a smooth transition. I also want to start -- Let's give her a round of applause as well, absolutely.

I want to start -- I want to start by thanking my wife, my best friend, Supriya. Those who know me well realize there's no Bobby without Supriya. We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary two nights ago in that most romantic of places -- the final debate. (I love you, honey.) See folks? I really do have a heart after all.

I also want to thank -- You can see them down here -- I want to thank our wonderful kids, Selia, Shaan -- Slade's actually already in bed right now. They've made a habit -- You can see right now -- They make a habit of crashing press conferences, disrupting events. I think you're going to get to know them all just a little bit better. I suspect the Governor's mansion's about to become a little bit of a playground. I promise you this -- I promise you this: We won't let them color on the walls; don't worry.

I stand here tonight very humbled by your support. It's hard to describe, but I really feel a heavy sense not only of gratitude to all of you, but of responsibility. More than anything, I stand here tonight tremendously excited and exceedingly optimistic about the opportunity to make real change and to turn our state around.
You can never adequately thank everybody, but since I do respect my elders, I want to take just a moment to thank my parents. My Mom and Dad came to this country in pursuit of the American Dream. And -- And guess what happened? They found the American Dream to be alive and well right here in Louisiana. They originally chose Louisiana so that my Mom could study at LSU. By the way, "Geaux Tigers." Let's beat Auburn tonight. My Dad was the first and only child of nine to even go to high school. Like most of you, my parents walked a much harder road than I've ever walked. I want to thank them publicly for their sacrifices for me and for my brother. But let me say this: My parents have seen what I have seen, that in America and here in Louisiana the only barrier to success is your willingness to work hard and play by the rules.
Don't let anyone tell you differently. Don't let anyone talk badly about Louisiana. Those days are officially over. We're serving notice: Louisiana is very soon going to be on the rise. And in recent months many in our nation have gotten the wrong view of Louisiana. A false picture of our state has been painted in many instances. Our state's been depicted as a haven for incompetence and corruption.

Well, we have some of that, just like every other state does. But let me paint for you the real picture of Louisiana. Here's what I've found while visiting with folks in all 64 parishes and every nook and cranny of our state. The people of Louisiana are God-fearing, hard-working, law-abiding, freedom-loving folks who look out for each other. The people of Louisiana are the "salt of the earth."

They've been so good and kind and generous to my family and me. Look, I was born and raised right here in Baton Rouge. But during this campaign I've seen places in Louisiana that you probably couldn't even find on a map. I've been to -- I've been to many of these places multiple times. I spent so much time in North Louisiana, one of the mayors actually made me an honorary citizen. Five minutes later the local tax assessor gave me a bill.
There -- There is a ton of work to be done in Baton Rouge. I will devote myself to it fully. But also know this: I'm going to be a Governor who travels the state relentlessly. One -- One thing -- One thing I know for sure, you can get a distorted view sitting in the halls of government. Things start to look different. The lobbyists begin to look larger and the people begin to look smaller. Reality becomes distorted. I've seen it in Congress as well. I'm not going to let that happen to me. I'm not going to be taken captive by the government crowd in Baton Rouge.

Today, we begin a new chapter in the history of Louisiana. I've said throughout the campaign that there are two entities that have the most to fear from us winning this election: one is corruption and the other is incompetence. If you happen to see either of them, let them know the party is over.
I don't want to mislead anyone -- this ain't going to be easy. I can't do this by myself. While I can't do it alone, together we can do anything that we set our minds to. Now I know some of you were looking for a little bit of time off, but in many ways our battle has just begun. I suspect that some of those who oppose making big changes in Louisiana government will try to mount a counter-offensive. And some who've been feeding at the trough may not go quietly, but that is up to them. They can either go quietly or they can go loudly, but either way they will go.

Starting today, every citizen of Louisiana has equal access to state Government. Who you know will no longer be more important than what you know. But before we can change the direction of our state, we all have to change our current mindset. We have to defeat cynicism. We have to stop saying: "Oh, politics is always corrupt; there's nothing we can do to straighten out that mess in Baton Rouge." Sadly, those words roll right off the tongue. We've all become accustomed to thinking that we really can't do anything about the corruption and incompetence in state government.

We just can't think that way anymore. I'm asking you to believe that we can turn our state around. I'm asking you to give Louisiana another chance. I'm asking you to believe in the greatness of our people. I'm not just asking you to give me a chance, I'm asking you to give yourself a chance. I'm asking you to give us a chance. I'm asking you once again to believe in Louisiana.
This won't happen overnight. This won't happen overnight. I certainly can't promise you that you'll never again see incompetence or corruption in Louisiana. But I can promise you this: When they rear their heads, they will not be tolerated; no excuses will be accepted. I also can't promise you that I won't make any mistakes. In fact, as Supriya can testify, I can pretty much promise you that I will. But I can also promise you this: When I make mistakes, I'll  own up to them; I'll learn from them; I won't be afraid to change course.

As I promised in the campaign, right after I'm sworn in, I'm going to notify the legislature that I'll be calling them in for a special session to pass real ethics reform with real teeth. It is my intention to work closely with the legislature, and I'm looking forward to it. But please understand this: I'm not going to take "no" for an answer on reforming our ethics laws. Real ethics reform -- Real ethics reform is not simply campaign rhetoric. It is the lynchpin for change, for regaining the confidence of the voters, for turning our state around. If and when folks try to stop it, I will call them out. If -- If and when people try to throw in amendments designed to derail ethics reform, I will call them out.
And I'm going to need your help. Ethics reform is the first step in winning the public trust. It is the first step to unlocking our future. It is the first step to growing our economy and bringing great jobs to Louisiana. Before we can create real economic growth, we must show the voters and the entire country that we are serious about changing our reputation. We can do it. We must do it -- (Thank you. Thank you.)

Now look, I do have a major announcement to make: "The campaign is over." Now -- Now it is time for a fresh start. At times it was a rough campaign. There were a lot of charges and counter-charges thrown out there. It's over. I bear no ill will to anyone. To all those out there who didn't vote for me tonight, I'm asking for your support as well. This campaign is now in the past. I'm not interested in fixing anything in the past. As of this moment, I'm only looking at the future.

This is a time for us to pull together. Republicans, Democrats, Independents -- we're all Louisianians first. North or South -- we're all Louisianians first. Rural, suburban, small town, big city -- we're all Louisianians first. The time for partisan politics is behind us. This is not my victory tonight. This is our victory tonight.

The people of Louisiana have spoken, and they've spoken very loudly. They're ready for a fresh start. There's never been before a clearer mandate for change in our state. This is our time. Many have said that the eyes of the nation will be on us. And while that's true, and that's nice to know, that's not what motivates us.  Our motivation is pride in our state, pride in our homeland. Our motivation is building great jobs and careers for our kids and for their kids. Our motivation is the firm and unyielding belief that Louisiana can be the greatest place in the world to not only chase the American Dream, but in fact to actually catch it.

I want to thank God for the many blessings He's bestowed upon me and on all of us. And I want to serve notice on the rest of the country: Keep your eyes on Louisiana. Everyone in the country has helped us in our time of need, and we are very grateful, and we still need help. But please know this: We're simply not going to just try to rebuild. We'll have no part of such a small goal. We're setting our sights much higher. We're getting ready to take off in Louisiana.
Just like all Americans, you can't keep us down. From our schools, which have failed too many children for too long:

We can change. We must change. We will change.

To our government, which has been too corrupt:

We can change. We must change. We will change.

And our business climate, which has been too weak:

We can change. We must change. We will change.

This state -- This state wants change, and I've got one more message tonight: If you're a business looking at expansion, and especially if you're a young person trying to decide where you will make your home, change is not just on the way: Change begins tonight!

Good night, and may God richly bless you. God bless you.

Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

or "Louisianans"

Page Updated: 12/19/23

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