To: Republican Leaders
From: Governor Haley Barbour
Re: 2011 Election Outlook in Mississippi
Over the last eight years, Mississippi has made tremendous progress. We inherited a budget mess from the Democrats and now have the State in reasonably good shape financially despite tough economic times. We have made common sense spending cuts and held the line on taxes with significant unallocated reserves available. Education reform, tort reform and strong improvements to our workforce training programs have helped fundamentally strengthen Mississippi for economic growth.
There are many examples of economic development successes, including General Electric Aviation’s new facilities near Ellisville and in Batesville. Toyota chose Mississippi in 2007, and this fall they will roll out the first Corolla from their plant at Blue Springs, which will employ 2000. At the same time six of their suppliers will be fully operational, employing another 2000.
Nissan, now expanding again, got us into the Southern Automotive Manufacturing Zone, and auto manufacturing has become a huge part of our future. Likewise with aerospace, with not only GE Aviation, but EADS’ American Eurocopter and Raytheon; Aurora and Stark Aviation; Rolls Royce, Northrup Grumman, and of course, Stennis Space Center with Lockheed Martin and much more.
The last big manufacturing and resources piece of our economic plan is energy. The Fraser Institute in Canada last month named Mississippi the number one jurisdiction in the world to do energy projects. And we have seen billions upon billions of energy capital investment flow into Mississippi these last several years, including Mississippi Power’s two-and-a-half billion dollar electric generation plant in Kemper County. An energy project will be considered in a special session on Friday that will generate 950 jobs and $600 million dollars in capital investment.
We can have the number one container port on the Gulf of Mexico through our plan for the State Port of Gulfport, we can continue to build on our world-class automotive and aerospace industries; we can be the shipbuilding leader – the composite leader – the steel products leader. We can be first in many more areas.
The next Governor (Phil Bryant!) must and can build on this, but this fall will determine if the State continues to move in a conservative direction that leads to better paying jobs, stronger schools and a brighter future for Mississippi. We have to elect Phil and hold the Governor’s Mansion along with our other statewide offices, help Tate Reeves by maintaining our majority in the State Senate and elect a Republican Speaker of the House. In addition, we need to help Steve Simpson move Jim Hood out of the AG’s office, sustain our majorities at MDOT and the PSC and add to the growing list of Republican local officials at the county courthouses and city halls across the State. And we can do it, just as you elected us eight years ago.
I appreciate your support of this event, because it is helping fund the MRP’s Victory Program, which will focus on winning targeted House and Senate seats and getting out our vote this fall. We only need to gain eight seats in the House for a Republican majority, and we must maintain at least our one seat advantage in the Senate. I can assure you, Phil Bryant would like to have more allies on the House side. If you’d like to further help us maintain our Senate majority and elect a Republican Speaker, please ask Arnie Hederman or Tim Saler at the MRP about which races you could send an extra contribution. This is an excellent way to positively impact public policy making in Mississippi for not a lot of money.
If we motivate and organize our base this fall, we will have much to celebrate. However, I want to remind everyone of 1999 when we were overconfident and in places like DeSoto County our turnout dropped by more than 50% from four years before. I am concerned that in Republican stronghold counties like DeSoto, Rankin and Madison that we run the same risk as 1999. Many of the local races are already decided in the primary and in South Mississippi many people assume Phil has it won already. I know Phil is running hard, but make no mistake the National Democrats are highly motivated to win back the governorship and I expect they will send money and people to affect the race. They don’t have a candidate in Louisiana for governor, so this is the only place to attack Republicans this year.
Marsha and I are grateful for tonight’s honor, but we equally appreciate your support and helping put us in a position to win this fall. Tonight is a big step, but there is more to do. Please, work with the MRP and the campaigns to register voters, expand our lists of targeted voters, host an event for one of our Republican candidates and get out the vote on November 8th. If you would like to help, please call Chairman Arnie Hederman at 601.941.0094 or Tim Saler at the MRP at 601.948.5191.