Barbour campaigns for his party

Published 2:05 pm Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, made a stop at the Picayune Republican Party Headquarters to speak on behalf of his party mates running on Tuesday’s ballot.

After giving a speech about why it is important for attending voters to go out and vote, hopefully for his favorite candidates, he took some time to speak with local media about the state of the economy.

Barbour said Mississippi’s economy was doing fairly well in the three years prior to this past spring, but the state is not immune to the effects of a worldwide market, high gasoline prices and a diminished housing market, all of which are currently taking their toll. Lumberyards and contractors are feeling the effects of the current state of the housing market, Barbour said.

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The state of the economy has had an affect on car makers who have set up, and are setting up, shop in Mississippi. Current Mississippi car maker Nissan has felt the effects of the economy and the economy is forcing soon-to-be Mississippi car maker Toyota to build itsplant more rapidly than planned in order to beat the slump, Barbour said.

In spite of all these things, Barbour believes Mississippi’s economy is still healthy, but will feel some negative effects.

“We just have to realize we’re going to have a slow down,” Barbour said.

One small sign of hope involves the recent decline of the price per gallon of gas. Barbour expects the trend to continue and prices to stay low because the economy is slowing. He said there are usually two ways to reduce the price of gas, reduce demand, as is being done with the slowing economy, and to increase supply.

“I’m for increasing supply,” Barbour said.

For the past 40 years various places in the Gulf of Mexico and in Pacific and Atlantic oceans have been drilled. He said there is still a large reserve in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that could be capable of producing about 2 million barrels of oil per day. A major road block is current Federal regulations restricting the site.

In the long run, Mississippi needs to move to cleaner sources of electricity, such as nuclear power, or cleaner ways to burn coal, such as with CO2 carbon capture, Barbour said. Currently, 50 percent of Mississippi’s electricity comes from coal. He said tjat as long as he is governor, Mississippi will have an energy policy.