True to his work, he eschewed pointing fingers at Gov. Haley Barbour’s administration or placing blame for the state’s condition.
“They’re not necessarily bad people. They think they’re doing what’s right,” he said. Although he added his belief that many politicians are more concerned with power than helping citizens.
He contrasted himself to Barbour only by saying he would have accepted federal stimulus funds Barbour turned down.
Appearing in his seventh and final city over the three-day weekend, Dupree used the pulpit at Stephen Chapel to preach cooperation as both a way to honor King and solve the state’s problems. But he avoided any blatant campaigning until after his address.
When asked how he would solve the state’s unemployment crisis, he pointed to Hattiesburg’s successes before returning to his theme of cooperation.
“We just had an announcement of a plant coming to Hattiesburg bringing half a billion dollars (in investment). We’re the only city that has increased their employment by 1,000 over the last year. I think that says a lot to what we’ve done in Hattiesburg. And I’m not saying what I’ve done. What we’ve done is a collective effort,” he said. “Anytime you see people with jobs coming up, no one person is responsible. A group of people had to work together. The business community, political and social people.”