LAWMAKERS TAKE TIME OUT FROM SWEARING IN TO HONOR BRIGGS
By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – Thursday was a day to honor the victors as statewide elected officials were sworn in during a ceremony in the House chamber.
But one man who did not win in the Nov. 7 general election also was honored in both chambers of the state Capitol.
Lt. Gov. Eddie Briggs was honored on the Senate floor Thursday morning and later in the day during a joint session of the House and Senate where the elected officials were sworn in. Briggs was defeated in the November election by Ronnie Musgrove of Batesville.
“I really enjoyed working with you the last four years,” House Speaker Tim Ford of Tupelo told Briggs during the joint session. “The state is better off because of your service.”
Briggs presided over the Senate for the first week of the session and also presided over the joint session ceremony until Musgrove was sworn in Thursday.
Sen. Steve Seale of Hattiesburg, a Republican like Briggs, introduced a resolution on the Senate floor honoring Briggs. It was passed on a voice vote.
During his speech honoring Briggs, Seale recounted the lieutenant governor’s accomplishments.
“Legislation shepherded by Eddie Briggs provided significant reforms which helped to stimulate the unprecedented business and economic growth Mississippi has experienced over the past four years,” Seale said on the Senate floor.
He also credited Briggs with work to make government more efficient and with the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Program that provides college grants for Mississippi students.
Seale said it was his “honor and pleasure to state my admiration, respect and affection for Lieutenant Governor Briggs.” He asked him to stay involved in the political process.
After Seale’s speech, Briggs received a standing ovation on the Senate floor. He received another standing ovation at the swearing-in ceremony later in the day.
Briggs served two terms in the state Senate before being elected in 1991 as the first Republican lieutenant governor of this century. He said his 12 years of public service was his greatest honor.
Briggs said he plans to continue to visit the state Legislature. He said he immediate plans were to return to Dekalb to practice law and to run his businesses.
“Many times in this (Senate) chamber I have been proud of the leadership and the process,” Briggs said. “This process does not evolve around any one individual.”
But he added, “Always Eddie Briggs will remember the opportunity to meet and work with each one of you.”
Upon finishing his task of handing the gavel over to Musgrove after the swearing-in ceremony, Briggs and his wife, Becky, left the speaker’s podium and the chamber.
It was time for the victors to take over.