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Gov. Barbour Calls For Civil Rights Museum

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 11 Jan 2011 08:41am | comments
Governor Haley Barbour delivers his State of the State address.

Governor Haley Barbour's final State of the State address meets with praise from both political parties. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the speech also included a call for the construction of a Civil Rights Museum.

Governor Haley Barbour spent much of the early part of his Tuesday speech re-capping his previous 7 years, highlighting what he considers his achievements.

One of the loudest applause lines of the night came towards the end of the speech when Governor Barbour urged the legislature to approve a new Civil Rights Museum in downtown Jackson.

"The Civil Rights struggle is an important part of our history. Millions of people are interested in learning more about it. People from around the world would flock to see the museum and learn more about the movement," Barbour said.

Representative George Flaggs of Vicksburg says the announcement shows that the Governor understands the importance of reflecting on the state's racial history.

"That is one of the things that unites us and not divides us. When we can come together with a common understanding of Civil Rights and at the same time learn from the mistakes of the past, and at the same time, leave the state better than we found it," Flaggs said.

Senator Hillman Frazier of Jackson served on the original museum commission four years ago and was pleased to hear the museum revived.

"(He) alluded to the new Civil Right museum that he talked about early in his career, that a compromise has been reached in terms of location and it is time to go forward with that now," Frazier said.

Barbour, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, used his speech to criticize a number of the laws passed by the Obama administration. US Congressman Greg Harper was glad Barbour used the speech to layout his presidential credentials.

"You know when Katrina came through, he was the only one that looked presidential, let's say, during all that disaster and the follow up. I just hope he is going to be running for president one day. He is a great guy," Harper said.

Barbour also announced that he will use his discretionary funds to pay for a trooper school.

That school could add around 60 new troopers to Mississippi roads and was a decision that Public Safety Commissioner Steven Simpson went to the speech hoping to hear.

"The Governor is going to dedicate 7.2-million dollars towards a trooper school, which we have been advocating for several years. But especially in the last year to replenish the ranks of state troopers," Simpson said.

Barbour also announced plans to use a Medicaid surplus to expand at-home and community care. He also called on lawmakers to expand the charter school and duel enrollment programs.

This is Barbour's final state of the state address since he cannot run again, and at least a half a dozen candidates have already announced plans to run to replace him.

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Governor Haley Barbour delivers his State of the State address.


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