Our Town Philadelphia: Founder's Square and Free Speech

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

Gov. Haley Barbour was among the political speakers at the Neshoba County Fair Thursday. He was interrupted by shouting spectator.

In the middle of the calm fair atmosphere, Thursday's political speaking turned dramatic as a woman interrupted the governor's speech and began yelling the name 'Adrienne Klasky' over and over.

"You know, one of the great things about our country is we get to have free speech," said Barbour from the podium. "And even somebody like this has a right to stand up and say she disagrees with something that the governor does."

Klasky is the woman killed in 1989 by her ex-husband, Michael Graham, who Barbour this month released from prison. Graham was a trusty at the governor's mansion up until his release.

Barbour has since received criticism from people across the state. But with the outburst fresh on his mind, Barbour maintains he doesn't regret his decision.

"If he continues to behave and perform as he has for the last 20 years while he's in the penal system, then he's going to get a second chance," said Barbour. "I do a lot of things people don't like, thousands of things that people don't like. But part of our system is governors make decisions. And in this case I made a decision that I feel comfortable with."

It wasn't until the end of his speech that Barbour mentioned the ongoing Medicaid debate. With Medicaid cuts looming, Barbour now says he's working with the Center for Medicaid Services to formulate different cuts that aren't as harmful to the system. A detailed announcement on that is expected in the next few days.

"And when these cuts come out, I think it will be obvious to everybody why they're so much more preferable to what the Division of Medicaid proposed earlier in July," the governor said.

However, across founder's square House Democrats questioned the need for cuts.

"This is the first time he's cut in five years," said Rep. Cecil Brown. "We've had deficits in Medicaid for four years; he has not made a cut. We have offered other solutions."

Also speaking were third congressional district candidates, Republican Gregg Harper and and Democrat Joel Gill. And like most speeches at the fair, the economy took center stage.


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