Republican Haley Barbour is pledging to get Mississippi's economy back on track and restore fiscal stability in state government. Barbour launched his gubernatorial campaign Monday from his hometown of Yazoo City.
The former Republican National Committee chairman and an aide to President Reagan said he is running for governor "because I know we can do better.''
Barbour spoke to about 75 supporters at a stop in Hattiesburg. "We need strong, proven leadership in Jackson to turn us around and get our state back on track," said Barbour. "I'm running for governor because I know we can do better."
Barbour outlined a campaign platform that opposed any new tax increase, controling state spending, support for education and demanding agencies live within their budgets.
"My campaign will be issue-based but it is going to be a grassroots, volunteer-intensive, people-to-people campaign," Barbour said. "Money cannot replace people in politics and we will involve tens of thousands of Mississippians, Democrats and Independents as well as Republican,
in our grassroots effort."
Later in a one-on-one interview with NewsCenter 11, Barbour emphasized the importance he gives to east central Mississippi.
"No Republican has ever won statewide without carrying east Mississippi from about Highway 16 south and East of Interstate 55," he said. "I think I can do well in north Mississippi, particularly northeast Mississippi. But no Republican has ever been elected without winning in this area from say Philadelphia, Meridian and sweeping in an arc across across southeast Mississippi and then on down to the coast."
The lawyer and lobbyist traveled the state for several months last year to gauge public reaction to a gubernatorial campaign. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in Mississippi in 1982.
In prepared remarks, Barbour said "a strong leader will first tell the public the truth about our problems.''
About 200-300 people arrived early in Barbour's hometown of Yazoo City for the announcement at a civic center. A handful braved temperatures in the 30s to wave "Barbour for Governor'' signs outside the building.
In his remarks, Barbour said state government had fallen "from its strongest fiscal condition ever to the worst financial crisis in our state's history.''
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat, is expected to seek reelection.
Barbour will be in Meridian Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. for a news conference at Union Station.