BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - In 1968, a young State Representative from Biloxi was preparing to go to Jackson for his first legislative session. In 1980, Tommy Gollott was elected to the Mississippi Senate, representing people in Harrison County.
Flash forward to January 2010. Senator Gollott is heading to Jackson for what he knows will be a legislative showdown over the state's budget.
"At the present time, we're in dire straits," Gollott said on the eve of the 2010 legislative session.
"We need to tighten our belts and that's what we're going to do. The state is hundreds of millions of dollars short."
The gavel falls at noon Tuesday and the curtain rises on the 2010 session. Governor Haley Barbour has promised deep spending cuts and veteran lawmakers like Tommy Gollott realize the situation is critical.
"We must look at every agency and see where we can save money," Gollott said.