Haley Barbour was sworn in Tuesday for his second term as governor of Mississippi. He said the state as a whole is better than at any other time in history. But he says there is work to be done during the next four years.
The inauguration ceremony was a little more low-key than usual.
"We have record employment, but an unusually large number of our adult citizens choose not to work or seek employment. Our schools are better and being funded in record levels but the drop out rate is still far too high," said Barbour.
In his first term, it was a different set of challenges, tort reform, job creation, budget responsibility, then Katrina hit the coast. But against the odds, Barbour says the state has overcome the devastation. Still, finishing the rebuilding process on the coast is his number one priority.
"This worst natural disaster in the history of our country revealed the spirit and character of the people of Mississippi," Barbour said.
Barbour said the state must move forward together and those in attendance believe Mississippi can do just that.
"The good thing the governor will do is bring people together, have meaningful dialogues and come up with innovative solutions," said Warren Jones, former Mississippi Medicaid director.
"He's honest with everybody," said Elizabeth Hammersmith, a high school student at Harrison Central. "He does what he can and he keeps track with the coast, the Katrina events."
Barbour has a long list of items he plans to address this term: expanding health care, making streets safer, strengthening the family and keeping taxes low, just to name a few.
But according to the Governor, the state is better prepared to accomplish all of that and then some.
"We're moving forward together with powerful results. Together we can expand this progress, build on these successes and seize opportunities previous generations of Mississippians never dreamed of,' said the governor. "Together we can and together we will."
An optimistic addresses, to say the least. But the governor said this will also be a tight budget year for the state legislature.
Barbour cautioned the state that not everything will be funded this year.
Plus, the House re-elected Democrat Billy McCoy as speaker, and he and the governor have not always seen eye to eye on issues affecting the state.