Governors Huddle in Meridian

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Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley met in Meridian Monday afternoon to discuss economic development affecting the twin states. The meeting was private and unpublicized.

Gov. Barbour said the purpose was to work on a joint economic effort with Alabama. EMBDC president Wade Jones, at whose offices the meeting was held, agreed.

"Gov. Barbour and Gov. Riley met in Meridian to discuss opportunities of working together alongside state borders to attract industry to Mississippi and Alabama," said Jones.

"There was an agreement between (former) Gov. Musgrove and Governor Riley and now this is to further commit the agreement between Governor Barbour and Governor Riley," Jones explained.

The EMBDC president said his organization had nothing to do with creating the meeting.

"We're (Meridian) a common site on the border of Mississippi and Alabama. We're central to the two state capitals and it was convenient for them to meet in Meridian," said Jones.

"Much of the meeting was devoted to exploring opportunities to market the two states together. To identify targeted industries that would be well suited to these state borders and to create jobs and new wealth for Mississippi and Alabama," said Jones, who stayed in on the meeting between Barbour and Riley.

"We talked about sites, not only here in Meridian but also in north Mississippi and south Mississippi, and we did discuss sites specific to this region of east Mississippi and west central Alabama," said Jones.

No city or county officials were present nor were they notified of the meeting in advance.