Probably the biggest story in 2003 was the election of Haley Barbour as Mississippi's next governor. Barbour a seasoned Washington politico and insider toppled incumbent Democrat Ronnie Musgrove.
The one story that sticks in people's mind around here is the Lockheed Martin shootings. On July 8, Doug Williams opened fire on co-workers, killing six and injuring nine others before then committing suicide. His actions reverberated around the world.
There were of course the scandals. Attorney Paul Minor, Justice Oliver Diaz Junior, and several others were indicted on fraud charges. The trial will begin in March. In Alabama, former Chief Justice Roy Moore lost his job over the Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama Judicial building.
It was also a big year for the economy in 2003. Alabama residents said no to Governor Bob Riley's tax plan, leaving the state with a huge deficit. Mississippi said goodbye to WorldCom in April. The one-time telecommunications giant, trying to escape both the largest ever U.S. ever bankruptcy and biggest accounting fraud, moved its headquarters to Ashburn, Virginia.
There was some good news on the economic front. The auto industry officially came to Mississippi in May with the opening of Nissan's assembly plant, and the Burlington Plant in Stonewall reopens with a new name, Warmcaft.
Probably the biggest story of the year was the War in Iraq. The National Guard and reserve units were called to duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ten Mississippi soldiers have died thus far in the war.
And on a happy note, WTOK celebrated 50 years of broadcasting, something we look forward to doing in the new year to come.
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