Barbour Announces Pre-Inauguration Receptions

Gov.-elect Haley Barbour and his wife, Marsha, are taking some inaugural activities outside the capital city before his Jan. 13 swearing in. Barbour said Monday that he plans receptions Jan. 8 in his hometown of Yazoo City, Jan. 9 in Southaven and Tupelo and Jan. 10 in Meridian and Biloxi.

The Republican had strong showings in all those areas when he defeated Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in the Nov. 4 election. The theme of inaugural activities is "Mississippi's Moment.''

"I want people to know that we are going to seize the moment they have offered,'' Barbour said.

Other preinaugural activities include a worship service, a musical gala and a reception for local elected officials. Several inaugural activities are free and open to the public. All will be paid by private donors, but Barbour said the budget for the activities has not been set. Published reports last week said $1 million to $1.5 million would be sought.

Announcements about entertainment will be made later. Barbour said some Republican governors have said they'd like to attend. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, who each traveled to Mississippi twice to stump for Barbour during the campaign, are not being invited, Barbour said.

One of the four co-chairmen for the inaugural committee is Bank of Yazoo City president Griffin Norquist, one of Barbour's childhood friends.

"I always wanted to be social chairman for the state of Mississippi,'' Norquist joked Monday. Barbour on Wednesday will announce a job-creation summit that he plans to hold in mid-December.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)