Barbour agenda can help our area

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, just a few weeks into his campaign, laid out his legislative agenda in a State of the State address Monday that was optimistic but realistic.

The state of the state, he said, &uot;is not as good as it’s going to be.&uot;

Among the most important issues that matter to Mississippi &045;&045; and southwest Mississippi in particular &045;&045; is job creation. Barbour said he wants to improve education and job training for Mississippi’s workers, focusing much of that effort on the community college level. That would be good news for Natchez, which is home to a successful, growing community college campus but also has extensive job training needs as our workers look to adapt to potential new industries.

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Concentrating job training in our area would also make Natchez look more attractive to those potential industries.

In addition, Barbour said he wants a greater focus on tort reform &045;&045; not only stronger medical malpractice lawsuit reform but also reform for lawsuits affecting small businesses.

We in Adams County have seen firsthand the effects of high malpractice awards and other tort issues, and we know how important reforms can be for our future.

Beyond these goals and the others Barbour laid out in his address, he has another challenge: a constitutionally weak governor, he must rely on legislators to pass his agenda.

To do that, Barbour will likely have to compromise on some of his goals, but we hope his attention to these two issues does not go unheeded &045;&045; and we hope he realizes especially how important they are to our region.