Mabus on Politics, Barbour

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

There are only five living ex-governors of Mississippi: Bill Waller, William Winter, Bill Allain, Ray Mabus and Kirk Fordice. Three members of that elite group shared their thoughts on the recent election and Mississippi's future.

Ray Mabus met with Newscenter 11 at his home in Ridgeland. He served as governor from 1988 until 1992. He was asked about the 2003 election.

"I think it’s been proven that negative ads work and that's unfortunate," said Mabus.

The former Democrat governor said Haley Barbour may find his overall experience with the Mississippi Legislature to be rough going.

"It doesn't matter who the governor is. He or she is going to have a hard time with the legislature," Mabus said.

"I think he's going to find out it's not Washington," said Mabus of Barbour, considered by some to be one of the country's finest political salesmen. "Just because he proposes it doesn't mean that all the Republicans are going to line up for it and that all the Democrats are going to line up against it. You're going to have a lot more executive legislative gee-hawing going on than the partisanship."

However, Mabus said there is usually a "sweetheart period" for most new governors.

"First session, whatever he asks for will probably be enacted because he just got himself elected governor and I think that they recognize that," said Mabus. "Usually you get one or two signature programs through that first year. It gets harder as the years go by."

The former governor is a single parent with two daughters, ages 11 and 13. He said their future is of great concern to him.

"I hope that we have some substantial progress four years from now, eight years from now, so this is going to be a good place for them to stay," said Mabus. "I want to be able to visit my grandchildren close at home and not have to go somewhere else to do that."

Next, former Gov. Bill Waller shares his opinion on what he believes are Mississippi's greatest problems.


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