The crowd was large and the weather was perfect as Haley Barbour was sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ed Pittman Tuesday. Early in his acceptance speech, he made it plain his administration was going to be non-partisan and bi-racial.
"As elected officials we serve not as Republicans or Democrats, but as public servants, whose fellow Mississippians have elected us to move our state forward," said Barbour. "We're not here to represent black or white, rural or urban, north Mississippi or south Mississippi. Let me say to you, my job is to represent the hundreds of thousands of people who voted for Gov. Musgrove, just as much as it is to represent the ones who voted for me and I am committed to that proposition."
"Every one of us who ran for office last year knows job creation is our most urgent need. We heard from voters about job losses. Often we met with people who had lost their jobs or were afraid of losing their jobs. In their eyes we saw genuine fear for their families future. Those grim circumstances still speak to me and my response is that job creation will be the first immediate goal of my administration," said Barbour.
"This is the moment to lift our horizons for Mississippi. I envision a Mississippi of growth, hope and prosperity, a state that not only produces more and better paying jobs for our working people but a home that raises up the prospects of all our people and elevates our respect for all our people," Barbour said. "I not only envision Mississippi in new larger dimensions. I expect it."
After the ceremony, Newscenter 11 asked former Gov. Musgrove about his future plans.
"What I'm going to do is that I'm going to teach on a part-time basis over the next several months, maybe longer," Musgrove said. "I'm going to teach at the University of Mississippi and then after that I'll do some other things as well."
Former Gov. Kirk Fordice was obviously happy but when we asked about the state's apparent move toward conservatism, his words showed he really hasn't changed much since leaving office.
"I don't think there's been any turnaround at all. It's just that a hard rock conservative like me can expect daily insults from the liberal media and that's what I got and I went right ahead and did my job anyway," said Fordice.
Now formalities have ended. It's back to work for the new governor and legislature as they attempt to solve the problems facing Mississippi.