"Mississippi's Giant House Party" in full swing - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

"Mississippi's Giant House Party" in full swing

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By Ashley Conroy - email

NESHOBA COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - It's the 121st year Neshoba County has celebrated the state's biggest house party.

Though 2010 isn't an election year, state elected officials had plenty to talk about Thursday.

Governor Haley Barbour was the highlight of the event as he addressed issues facing Mississippi today including the coastal crisis.

"I believe our greatest asset is our spirit," said Governor Barbour.

Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant opened with a "hello" and announced his enthusiasm for joining a day at the fair.

"Hello Neshoba County!  Hello Mississippi!  I am so excited to be here!" said Bryant.

Aside from the excitement, more serious issues were brought to the table including Bryant's initiative to change Mississippi budgeting through a Texas model called "Smart Budget Act," an effort that passed the state senate but failed in the house earlier this year.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has been an advocate of the voter identification initiative and discussed how several cases of voter fraud have been identified since he entered office.

Hosemann also addressed the need for an early education program.  He said the 30-percent     drop-out rate in the Magnolia State is "unacceptable."

"There's not one five-year-old child that comes to school, that says I don't want to graduate from high school, and we can't fail them," said Hosemann.

These politicians remained coy about announcing a candidacy for a higher office, including Governor Barbour who's name has been thrown out as a potential presidential candidate.

For those who attended the fair, the spirit of the event remained alive.

"The people that live here, they love these cabins.  It's just wonderful," said fair-goer and   long-time political fundraiser, Billy Monger.

"It's just a can-do attitude.  It's an attitude where I come from in Texas, and I'm proud to say I live here now," said fair-goer and political enthusiast Sara Williams.

"My favorite thing about the fair?  It's the people," said fair-goer Gary Harkins.

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