Mississippi's political season is beginning to heat up. Yazoo City native Haley Barbour Monday came to the Coast to confirm, what everybody already knew. He will be running for governor of Mississippi.
At a late afternoon news conference at Rice Pavilion, he told supporters, that those who label him a Washington insider who has lost touch with his home state, are dead wrong.
"We live in Yazoo City. My two sons graduated from high school in Yazoo City. We were there every weekend unless making a speech somewhere," Barbour said.
He also insists his connection with Washington can only be a plus, since the state gets nearly 40 percent of its budget from federal money.
Barbour has spent more than a year visiting nearly every county in the state. He says, like many Mississippians, he is outraged by the financial situation Mississippi is in.
"To quote the Clarion Ledger, 'the state has spent like a drunken sailor'. I'll tell you what, drunken sailors should be offended by the comparison,'' he said to laughs from his supporters.
Barbour insists a governor should set spending priorities and stick to them. Something he says, Ronnie Musgrove, is not doing.
He also says, as governor, he would never be in favor of the legislature, raising taxes.
"That just amounts to feeding the beast. I am against raising anybody's taxes," Barbour told supporters.
Barbour is a lawyer and Ole Miss grad. He says tort reform will also be on the top of his priority list.
Barbour, insists his campaign will be a grassroots one, with one common theme at every campaign stop.
"The first question we will ask people will be this: Can Mississippi can do better? The answer is obvious, yes we can do better," Barbour said.