Barbour says he’s optimistic about future of Mississippi

By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal

PHILADELPHIA – Gov. Haley Barbour, speaking to several hundred people watching from inside and around the Founders Square Pavilion, turned into cheerleader-in-chief Thursday at the Neshoba County Fair.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated much of south Mississippi in 2005, Barbour told the crowd, “We showed the world the kind of people you are, the kind of people you want to work with … the kind of people who will put the right things first.”
Barbour, who cannot seek a third term as governor in 2011 and who is rumored as a GOP presidential candidate in 2012, said “what makes me more optimistic than anything is the attitude of Mississippians.”
The governor, concluding the second day of the annual political speakings at the fair, said Mississippi overcame Katrina and will do the same with the BP oil leak and the national recession.
Barbour’s comments lacked as many attacks on the national Democratic leadership as some of the speeches given earlier in the day by other Republican officeholders.
The governor did tout new companies that have located in the state, such as Toyota, which is set to open next year in Blue Springs. He said another economic development project could be announced today in north Mississippi.
After the speech, the governor said a special session is possible in August. If one is called, he said, it wouldn’t be “for any other reason than jobs creation.”
The governor also called on the leaders of the Mississippi Band of Choctaws to allow the entire tribe to vote on their plan to locate an $18 million casino development on tribal land in Jones County.
Barbour referred to the planned Jones County casino as “a slot parlor” on a county road that lacked adequate infrastructure.
Barbour said his job is to look out for “the best interests of all Mississippians. I can tell you a slot parlor … is not in the best interest of any Mississippians.”

Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or bobby.harrison@djournal.com.