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Barbour focuses on economic development in campaign stop

By Staff
PICKING AT PEAVEY Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour toured Peavey Electronics Corp.'s headquarters in Meridian on Monday, taking a moment to strum one of the company's world-famous guitars. Barbour, who faces challenger Mitch Tyner in next week's GOP primary, also opened a campaign headquarters in Meridian. Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 29, 2003
Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour and his supporters focused on economic development Monday during a campaign swing through Meridian.
Jim Sweeney, a retired resident from Enterprise, made the trip to Meridian to lend Barbour support at the formal opening of his local campaign headquarters on Fifth Street in downtown Meridian.
Standing beside a small table in the packed campaign headquarters, Sweeney picked up a black-and-gold bumper sticker for his niece that read "Eagles for Haley" customized for University of Southern Mississippi fans, students and alumni.
Stacks of red-and-blue "Rebels for Haley" and maroon-and-gray "Bulldogs for Barbour" bumper stickers also sat on the table, along with literature about Barbour.
Economic development
Sweeney said he thinks Barbour's strongest asset is his ability to expand economic development for Mississippi.
Pelahatchie, in Rankin County, has been a topic of Barbour's campaign since before he officially announced his candidacy in February.
Barbour told his supporters that East Central Mississippi had a good chance of winning a $1 billion Hyundai manufacturing plant last year.
But Barbour said the state lost the project to Alabama because Gov. Ronnie Musgrove insisted on only promoting a Pelahatchie site to the South Korean automaker.
Ready to work
Barbour told the crowd that an effective governor must not only be able to lead, but be ready, willing and able to work with regional leaders.
Barbour also pledged his support in protecting Mississippi military bases and the state's existing and small businesses, which he said is responsible for most of the state's economic growth.
While in Meridian, Barbour toured Peavey Electronics and passed out campaign literature to employees in the corporate headquarters.
Barbour also visited Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center and Rush Foundation Hospital, where he spoke to health care professionals about the need for more tort reform. He said he plans to visit Riley Hospital later.
Getting the vote out
At his headquarters Barbour called for a large voter turnout, not only for the general election on Nov. 4, but for the primary next week.
He said he intends to have a headquarters in every county before the general election, but for now he is concentrating on the larger Republican strongholds.
Ralph Germany of Meridian a retired employee of General Motors Acceptance Corp., was at the headquarters opening. He believes Barbour will win the Republican nomination for governor easily.
A longtime supporter of Republican candidates, Germany is excited about Barbour's chances in the general election.
Here is a look at the race for governor.
Republicans: Haley Barbour, former Republican National Committee chairman, and Mitch Tyner, an attorney from Madison, meet in the Aug. 5 GOP primary.
General election: The GOP nominee is expected to meet incumbent Democrat Ronnie Musgrove and three other third-party candidates in the Nov. 4 general election.
At stake: Mississippi's top elected office, a job that pays $122,160 a year.