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Haley Reeves Barbour is a Republican currently serving as the 63rd Governor of Mississippi. Born on October22, 1947, in Mississippi, Barbour is a descendent of the third Governor of Mississippi, Walter Leake. He had graduated from University Of Mississippi School Of Law, and subsequently joined his father’s law firm in Yazoo City. Barbour and his wife, Marsha Dickson, currently reside in the Governor’s Mansion, Mississippi.
Before being elected as Governor, Barbour worked as a lawyer and lobbyist. Barbour has been described as ‘one of Washington’s all time mega lobbyist’. In 1998, Fortune magazine named Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BRG) Group, as the second most powerful lobbying firm in America. BRG was founded by Barbour in 1991.
In 1993, Barbour became the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), where he served till 1997. During this tenure, the RNC captured both houses of the United States Congress, taking the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years.
In 2003, Barbour announced his intension to run for Governor of Mississippi. The same year he won the republican gubernatorial primary over Mitch Tyner. During his 2003 campaign, a controversy arose when Barbour’s picture appeared along with the members of a racist organization called Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). When Barbour was asked to get his picture removed, he refused, saying that his picture is public domain and that he doesn’t care who has it. However, there are other times also, when he has been criticized over racial issues.
Being a governor, Barbour has extended his support to tackle the economic problems faced by the country. He supports farm subsidies, corporate welfare, and eminent domain. Barbour has been strongly identified as a pro-life activist and has worked to tighten abortion laws in his state. He gained national popularity in August 2005 after Mississippi was hit by Hurricane Katrina. Barbour’s response was characterized by a concerted effort at evacuation, tough minded talk on looters and unwillingness to blame the federal government. He was praised by the citizens as a strong leader who can communicate calmly and make important decision with clarity during a crisis situation.
In 2007, he was re-elected as the Governor, but under Mississippi laws he cannot run for Governor again once his term ends. In 2009, Barbour was elected as the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
For quite some time, there lies a speculation that Barbour may run for the Presidential elections in 2012, as Republican nominee. According to one of his advisers,” When he surveys what most Republicans consider to be a weak field, he sees no reason he couldn't easily beat them .He's a better strategist and fundraiser than any other candidate currently considering running—and just as good on television and in debates”.