SUNDAY MORNING WITH: Wirt A. Yerger Jr., Businessman, Miss. Republican pioneer, 79, Jackson

In 1962, Time identified you as part of “the new breed” in the Republican Party. How has the GOP in Mississippi changed over the last 47 years?

he party has obviously expanded, but it has the same principles it had in 1956 to 1960: limited government, lower taxes, and individual freedom. I think they called me that because for decades what was called the Republican Party in Mississippi was run out of Washington, D.C., and any candidates were fringe types. But I was young, full of vinegar, believed in our principles and wasn’t afraid to work and make a difference. I guess it’s much easier to be a Republican now, but it still takes organization and work to win as a Republican.

What led you to identify with the Republican Party as a young man at a time when the party was in the minority in the South?