NAACP says Governor Barbour isn't doing enough - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

NAACP says Governor Barbour isn't doing enough

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Meggan Gray – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The threat of oil has now also garnered the attention of the NAACP.  The national president and CEO of the organization toured parts of South Mississippi and Louisiana Monday. Benjamin Jealous said he's concerned with how our state is handling the crisis so far.

"We're here because we know with our experience from Katrina, that people don't always get helped in the same way," Jealous said.

The national NAACP president wanted to see firsthand the impact the oil is having on the Gulf, particularly the people whose livelihoods may be in jeopardy.

"And so we're here to meet with the Vietnamese shrimpers," Jealous said.  "We're here to meet with the people who work in the tourism industry, to really understand at this point what they see their needs as being so when we're back in Washington we can fight for them."

Jealous said our state needs more national attention, and he believes Governor Haley Barbour is to blame for that.

"For weeks we've been expecting the governor would come out and say more and ask for more help, actually meet with our president when he's here. You know, he's come down here three times, and each time, Mr. Barbour has refused to meet with him."

President Obama's most recent visit came Friday, when he was in Louisiana to meet with governors of the gulf states. But, Governor Barbour's office said the governor wasn't able to attend because he was in New York on business.  Jealous called that unacceptable.

"I'm sorry, but when the president comes to your state and the people in your state are sort of facing this sort of danger to their livelihood people are facing here, you come down to meet with him and you figure out how to help them. That's what Jindal has done. That's what Barbour hasn't done."

Jealous met with leaders in Biloxi to ask how he could help with oil response efforts.  He told them he intends to make sure BP is held accountable for all losses.

WLOX News asked Governor Barbour's office to comment on the NAACP's criticism. Spokesman Dan Turner said the governor has spoken to the president on numerous occasions.

"Reading anything into Governor Barbour not traveling to Louisiana would be a grievous assumption," Turner said. "The lines of communication between President Obama and Governor Barbour concerning the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the resulting oil spill have been, and continue to be, wide open."

Monday afternoon, the head of the NAACP traveled to Terrobonne Parish, Louisiana, to see what he could do to help residents there.

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