By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
BILOXI – Haley Barbour, who has less than six months remaining as Mississippi’s governor, said Friday he might become an author after leaving office.
Speaking at the Mississippi Press Association annual convention, Barbour said in response to a question, “I said I would never write a book because I would have to tell the truth about friends,” but he added, “I may write a book about crisis management – centered around Katrina.”
Barbour has faced several crisis situations during his two terms – ranging from the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, to the Gulf oil spill last summer to numerous deadly tornadoes, such as the one that hit Smithville in Monroe County in April, to Mississippi River flooding.
Barbour, who took his name out of consideration this past April for the 2012 presidential race, said, “I don’t expect to ever run for anything else. But I am not going to retire.”
During the speech, the Republican governor highlighted his economic development record and particularly the Port of Gulfport, which was closed after Katrina because of substantial damage. He said when the new and improved port reopens later this decade, it could do more than any previous project in the state to boost economic development.
He said it is important for the governor to develop a vision for the state. He said the 174-member Legislature cannot develop the vision because it cannot speak with one voice.
“That responsibility is the governor’s,” he said.
He said the state has about 40,000 less people working than at its peak employment before the national economic downturn.
Still, he said, he believes the state is on the right path.
“One of the hardest things in Mississippi is to get people to understand how far forward we can go in a short period of time,” he said. “… The biggest problem is when we underestimate ourselves.”