Timmy Teepell is lanky, like a basketball player. He laughs easily and loudly and favors faded jeans and scuffed cowboy boots. He sports a shaved head and a goatee so closely trimmed it almost looks like five o’clock shadow.
He guided Bobby Jindal through two landslide congressional elections, orchestrated Jindal’s historic gubernatorial victory, and on Jan. 14 he becomes Jindal’s chief of staff.
It was not a job Teepell planned for.
After junior high, his parents pulled him and his three brothers out of school and started teaching them at home. Those four years of home-schooling were the last formal education Teepell received. At 18, he opted to forego college and moved to Washington, D.C., to start working in politics—first as a fundraiser, then as head of a conservative political action committee, a campaign worker, a staffer for the Republican National Committee, and finally for Jindal.
Chief of staff for Gov. Bobby Jindal
Hometown: Baton Rouge
“I learned a lot in the work world that I wouldn’t have learned as a political science major,” Teepell says. One thing he learned was the value of the work ethic his parents instilled in him.
“When you don’t have a college education you can’t afford to fail at any job,” he says. “I realized I had to work twice as hard as anyone else to be successful.”
He’s now one of Jindal’s most trusted advisors, and arguably the second most powerful man in the state.
“The election showed that people believe we can change the state. In fact, they are demanding that we change the state,” he says.
Teepell says he’ll help Jindal do just that.
“He clearly has the full confidence of the governor-elect, and that will be critical to his success in the job. The biggest challenge is moving from campaigning to governing, as the goal changes from winning to doing what’s best for the entire state. —Andy Kopplin, Teepell’s predecessor under Govs. Blanco and Foster
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