Governors Meet In Biloxi For Regional Conference

The Presidents of three federal reserve banks in the South headed up the first meeting. They spoke about the overall economy of the South.

"The economy in our state and Alabama, are unusually strong, based on our history. A couple of these states, like Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, their economies got stronger earlier than ours. They got out of the low wage jobs maybe ten years before us, but we're fast catching up," said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

Weight loss was the topic of conference's second meeting. Former Arkansas Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was one of the keynote speakers on the importance of fighting obesity.

"Obesity is up 77 percent since 1990. It really is the number one health risk we face. It's pushing diabetes to record levels and costs are making it very difficult for a lot of businesses to survive and provide health insurance," Huckabee said.

On Sunday, leaders from the insurance industry will meet with governors and other officials to discuss the problem of finding available and affordable property insurance, a problem still affecting many south Mississippians nearly 2 years after Katrina.

"We need them to write insurance. I can just tell you, if you can't insure it, you can't finance it. If you can't finance it, you can't build it. People are trying to build back here; they need to have insurance available," Governor Barbour said.

"We will send a message to them. We'd like to work with them, but this is a situation we have to address. Here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and other places across America, large natural disasters will occur. I hope they have an open ear, and we will talk directly to them," said State Auditor and Mississippi Lt. Gov. candidate Phil Bryant.

The conference is being held at the Beau Rivage, and it will wrap up Monday afternoon.