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|Jindal dismisses presidential speculation, salutes United Way in Monroe visit|
Gov. Bobby Jindal has no interest in being the Republican presidential nominee in 2012.
At least that's what Jindal said while in Monroe Monday to speak at the United Way. He also was in Monroe to attend a fundraiser for his 2011 re-election campaign. The $5,000-per-person fundraiser was held James Moore's home on River Oaks Drive.
Jindal recently appointed Moore to the LSU Board of Supervisors. Moore is a graduate of then-Northeast Louisiana University.
"I'm not going to be running for president in 2012," Jindal said.
Speculation surfaced in recent weeks over whether Jindal was laying the groundwork to run for president in four years. He has conducted fundraisers in Florida, Washington, D.C., and Iowa, which holds the first Caucus in a presidential election year.
Jindal also weighed in on U.S. Senate race.
Last week, Jindal endorsed Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy, who is challenging Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat.
Jindal dismissed concerns that Landrieu's defeat could spell trouble for Louisiana because of the loss of a senior member of the majority party in the Senate.
Jindal said party positions in Congress should not decide elections.
"You know, things change in Washington," Jindal said. "One day, a party's up; the next day, it's down; and my advice to voters is this: vote for the person you believe will do the best job, the person who represents your values and your beliefs."
In talking about the United Way, Jindal praised the organization's 2-1-1 program.
"2-1-1 is almost like having life insurance or health insurance," Jindal said of the statewide information hotline. "You don't want to have to use it but when you need it, you're glad it's there."
During the recent hurricanes, 2-1-1 proved a vital lifeline for individuals fleeing the paths of the storms as evacuees sought driving directions, shelter information and weather reports.
Jindal said the storms indicated the value of the hotline.
"During these two back-to-back storms this year, we really saw what 2-1-1 could do," Jindal said.
While evacuations were ongoing during Hurricane Gustav, Jindal said the average call volume for 2-1-1 centers went up tenfold.
"They did a phenomenal job," Jindal said.
Jindal credited 2-1-1 as an instrumental part of the state's successful evacuation of 1.9 million citizens, including more than 10,000 medical evacuations from hospitals and nursing homes.
State Sen. Mike Walsworth also applauded 2-1-1. He also said he would ask the Legislature to increase funding for the program so that it could be expanded and improved.
"We want to increase the capacity statewide so they can continue to support the communities we live in," Walsworth said.