LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said he intends to run for re-election to his post next year, despite many rumors that claim he would opt-out to prepare for a presidential campaign in 2012.
"I'm absolutely running for re-election," said Jindal, who made the comment after stopping by Chennault International Airport to visit with KPLC.
The governor is in the middle of an annual tour across the state, visiting every parish, touting his administration's jobs record and the importance of preparing Louisiana's children for the future.
Jindal has gotten used to the 2012 speculation, which has followed him ever since he was elected in 2007. For most of his term, Jindal has enjoyed high approval ratings, which recently climbed higher, thanks in large part to the public's positive perception of him following the BP Oil Spill.
"You know there's been a lot of speculation. Will I run for another office? Will I go to Washington D.C.?," said Jindal. "I'm interested in helping lead our state."
ON THE ECONOMY
The governor said his main focus is creating a better economic environment for the state.
Jindal has lead the state's fight against the federal moratorium since it was enacted after the oil spill.
"The federal government has taken a lot of action that's hurt our economy," said Jindal. "For example, this moratorium that could cost Louisiana as much as 20,000 jobs. They've also done things like cap and trade…you add all that up and the federal government has adopted many policies that are hurting our economy."
A lot of challenges await Jindal in the next year. Obviously the moratorium is a top concern. But before the governor runs for re-election next year, he'll have to get through another budget shortfall for 2011-12, the so-called "cliff year," when deeper cuts are expected for the state.
The governor's new budget chief recently asked state agencies to plan for possible cuts of up to 35 percent.
Jindal vows not to raise taxes, but acknowledges the task will be challenging.
ON MSU VS. LSU
On a lighter note, KPLC asked Gov. Jindal about the upcoming McNeese-LSU football game.
The governor refused to offer a score prediction but said, "For many years we got away from playing these games inside the state.
I think it's going to be a great game. I'll leave it to the coaches or the sports forecasters to predict the outcome and the score.
It's always great when you have two Louisiana schools playing."