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Hall could decide to run for governor in 2003

By By Terry R. Cassreino/The Meridian Star
Dec. 8, 2001
State Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall said Friday he could be a Republican candidate for governor in 2003.
Hall, who represents a 13-county area of central Mississippi including Lauderdale County  on the three-member Mississippi Transportation Commission, said key Republicans already have approached him about a possible run.
Hall's comments came Friday during an hour-long meeting with The Meridian Star editorial board. He discussed several topics including transportation policy, highway construction and politics.
Hall said the Mississippi Department of Transportation is funding several projects in East Mississippi. One, he said, is $892,000 in renovations to the Mississippi Welcome Center on Interstate 20/59 just west of the Alabama state line.
The conversation, however, inevitably turned to politics.
Hall has been a longtime fixture in state politics, having served six terms in the Legislature before former Gov. Kirk Fordice named him in April 1999 to fill an open seat on the Transportation Commission.
At that time, Hall was a member of the state Senate. There, he served on a number of committees and chaired the powerful, budget-writing Senate Appropriations Committee.
Even though Hall has never run for statewide office, he did consider waging a campaign for lieutenant governor in the mid-1990s. Instead, he chose to run for re-election to the state Senate.
With the governor's office up for election in 2003, state GOP leaders already are searching for a viable candidate to challenge incumbent Democrat Ronnie Musgrove or any other Democratic contender.
Besides Hall, other Republican names mentioned include state Auditor Phil Bryant, Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith, former National GOP Chairman Haley Barbour, and even U.S. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott.
Terry R. Cassreino is assistant managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3232, or e-mail
Coming Monday: State Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall says Lauderdale County and East Mississippi are in line for major highway projects. Read his comments in Monday's edition of The Meridian Star.