Today, Governor Haley Barbour was endorsed by former Governor Bill Waller (D), Former Secretary of Agriculture and Congressman Mike Espy (D), Former Lieutenant Governor Brad Dye (D), and Moss Point Mayor Xavier Bishop (D) at a press conference in the Mississippi State Capitol Rotunda.

They were joined by a bipartisan, biracial group of elected officials and community leaders including: Commissioner of Insurance George Dale (D), former Lieutenant Governor Eddie Briggs (R), Mayor Bruce Burney of Ackerman (I), Mayor Jerry Latch of Corinth (D), Mayor Greg Mitchell of Picayune (D), Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler of Madison (R), Mayor Jimmy Foster of Pearl (R), Mayor Rosemarie Aultman of Clinton (R), Ben Williams, Wil Colom, Elayne Hayes Anthony, Reverend Ronnie Crudup, Leroy Walker, Eugene McLemore, Ken Redding, Bishop James Black, Frank Dixon, George Irby, and Socrates Garrett. A transcript of the press conference follows below:

Mississippians For Barbour – Endorsement Press Conference

October 17, 2007 10:00 a.m. – Mississippi State Capitol Rotunda

Governor Barbour: Thank you. Thank you. Welcome. I’m not going to do any introductions, but you’re going to hear from: Governor Bill Waller, Secretary of Agriculture and Congressman Mike Espy, Lieutenant Governor Brad Dye and Mayor Xavier Bishop of Moss Point. Governor Waller.

Bill Waller, Sr.: Governor, Mrs. Barbour, ladies and gentleman. I’m happy to be here today to endorse the best governor that we have ever had. And I want to say to you sincerely this morning that I have watched this administration move our state forward. We have created for ourselves for the first time in one hundred years a good state image, a reputation that’s well known nationally and internationally. Our state’s on the move. We are in overdrive. We are moving faster than we ever have and I am urging all of my friends and fellow Mississippians to get behind Haley Barbour for Governor and let’s give him four more years.

Mike Espy: Good Morning. I’m Mike Espy and you may know that I am a Democrat. But I’ve got to tell you. In the past, I confess to you that I have a preference for voting for candidates of that persuasion, but today I’m announcing that I’m going a different way. I’m doing it for a very, very good reason. We’ve got to do what’s best for Mississippi and in this case it has to be the person over the party. So I’m stepping outside of the strictures of partisan boundaries and I am telling you that I really do intend to vote for Haley Barbour to succeed himself as our next Governor of the great state of Mississippi. I’m doing it, I think for all the right reasons. First of all he called me. He called me and asked me for my support personally and you may overlook that, you might laugh at that, but it’s very important in the state as diverse as ours to know that the Governor knows he has to reach out to bring support over to his side. If I might say particularly to those of us who happen to be African Americans and I am proud of that. The second reason is really that the Espy family and the Barbour family have known each other in Yazoo City, we’re from Yazoo City, he’s my homeboy. We have worked together for generations. So I am here representing my family and saying that we are standing with Governor Barbour. But you can wipe those two reasons away and just focus on the third reason. And the third reason that I am doing it is actually the most important reason that any incumbent ought to be reelected to any office and that’s the fact that he’s done a good job. I mean, I have watched. I have watched what’s gone on and I think that Governor Haley Barbour exemplifies what I like to call the three test of leadership. The first is competence. You know it comes up in Mississippi. More people happen to be working. I’m so proud, as you are to be a Mississippian these days seeing automotive companies coming to North Mississippi and I like what I see in East Mississippi and I know that the Governor is working on other projects in Southwest Mississippi and that’s a good thing. Second it’s character. Now, I don’t agree with everything that he’s done, but I know that he believes what he believes in and he stands up for what he believes in, but not so much that he won’t open to the ideas of others. So I am standing here today saying that I am proud of him, I admire the principles that he exemplifies and I know that we can work with this man. And the last reason that I’m doing it also is that he has capacity. We have so much more to do in the state of Mississippi; I don’t know how anybody could do it in just four years. He’s got a golden rolodex. It’s a good thing to have someone in the position as Governor who has influence in Washington; that is not a bad thing guys. And I know that he has exercised that on behalf of all Mississippians and I am proud of that. And for all of those reasons and more I am here to say that I’m stepping outside today the boundaries of the confines of partisan politics. I think there has to be the issue of the people over the party in this particularly one and I am telling you that I’m going to vote for Governor Haley Barbour and I want to encourage you to do that as well. It’s the best thing for Mississippi and I believe the right thing for Mississippi. Thank you.

Brad Dye: Four years ago I supported Haley for Governor. I had high expectations for him and I have not been disappointed. He has given this state tremendous leadership in some difficult times. I have been very impressed on how he has handled his self with the Mississippi legislature. As you’ve seen, he gets his way and that’s the way it should be he’s the Governor of the state. I am here to endorse him again and I look forward to four more progressive years of strong conservative leadership from Haley Barbour. He and Marsha give our state the type of leadership and the type of exposure that is so good for our people. Haley, best of luck and I know you’re gonna win for all of these people supporting you. Marsha, y’all have a good campaign.

Xavier Bishop: Good morning. I would like to begin by first stating that I’m not here today as a Democrat, I’m here as a statesman, and nor am I here as an African American, but I am here as a Mississippian. And finally I am not here today as a public leader, I’m here as a public servant. My time in office thus far has pretty much been defined by Hurricane Katrina. You see I took office two months before the hurricane hit. Now, Governor Barbour formed the commission to rebuild the Gulf Coast and for me that was the perfect example of managing through a crisis. He reached across the political isle to ask Mr. Barksdale to head the commission. And the expertise that was brought to the coast, the architects, the designers, the planners enables us to start to vision what we wanted the Gulf Coast to become. Next, the Governor went about the task of procuring funds to help make that vision a reality. The Gulf Coast continues to be in transition, we are focused on the future because of the leadership of Governor Haley Barbour. Continuity and leadership is important during transition and that is why that I am here today to support Governor Barbour. And so it is a pleasure and it is an honor to introduce to you our Governor and our next Governor Haley Barbour.

Governor Barbour: It’s an honor for Marsha and me and a great delight to have this bipartisan, biracial group of some of Mississippi’s great leaders to endorse my reelection. I am very, very grateful for their support, whether it be former Governor or Lieutenant Governors, congressmen, members of the President’s cabinet or pastors, business leaders, mayors, current state elected officials. I am very grateful for this and my one pledge to this group is for the next four years, Marsha and I will do everything we can to earn this endorsement and to respect the fact that you have shared your reputation with us and we will conduct ourselves in a way that’ll make you proud and glad that you did that. Thank you very much for your endorsement and if some of y’all would like to ask some of these folks some questions feel free. Thank you

Governor Haley Barbour Press Release