Rain could reshape plans for Miss. gov inaugural

Published 3:49 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mississippi’s next governor might take his oath of office inside the House chamber rather than outside on the Capitol steps.

Staffers for Gov.-elect Phil Bryant said they will decide late Monday afternoon whether to change some of Tuesday’s inauguration plans if there’s a strong possibility of rain or thunderstorms.

Bryant, 57, of Brandon, is scheduled to take his oath at noon. He will be Mississippi’s 64th governor, succeeding two-term Gov. Haley Barbour, a fellow Republican.

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For weeks, workers have been setting up scaffolding on the Capitol’s south steps, where governors traditionally are sworn in.

Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock said if weather forecasts are unfavorable, the ceremony would be moved inside.

Seating is limited in the House chamber. Bullock said if the ceremony is inside, several large-screen TVs would be set up in other parts of the Capitol so people could watch live even if they can’t see it in person.

The inaugural parade is scheduled to follow at 2 p.m. in downtown Jackson, but Bullock said it might be canceled if the weather looks bad.

“We’re thinking about everybody’s safety,” Bullock said.

Several high school marching bands are set to participate in the parade, as is one from Bryant’s alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi. The parade is also scheduled to feature several elected officials, military units, a Confederate heritage group and beauty queens, including the Mississippi Choctaw princess and Little Miss Rankin County.

The inaugural ball is scheduled that night at the Jackson Convention Center, a few blocks from the Governor’s Mansion.