He stood at the podium for the last time as Mississippi governor, the same place on the Neshoba County Fairgrounds, where eight years ago he first stood campaigning for votes to become governor.
Now, the signs, reading "Thanks Haley" say it all.
"For years I wanted to make a speech at the fair that was nothing but jokes," said Governor Haley Barbour.
Standing before supports waving their signs of gratitude, Barbour outlined the state's achievements under his watch from bringing in large manufactures to increasing per capita income. But looking back over his two terms as governor, Barbour says Hurricane Katrina and the state's response will surely be what his administration becomes know for.
"People all over the United States and all over the world look at the response of Mississippians who weren't whining and moping. They didn't have their hand out. They weren't looking for somebody to blame," said Barbour. "They got knocked flat and got up the next day and hitched up their britches and went to work and we had a government that worked."
Barbour says he even plans to put the crisis in his own words, literally, with an eventual book.
"Not as a political book but more as a crisis leadership in the mega disaster," said Barbour.
On the economic development front, Barbour says Mississippi is in a position to thrive and it's up to the next governor to make sure the state does just that. Barbour points to the Gulf Coast as a major indication of what Mississippi can do.
"I think 25 years from now people will look back and see the port of Gulfport, the new rebuilt port of Gulfport will be the biggest economic development project in state history," said Barbour.
Once out of office, Barbour says he plans to make his rounds delivering speeches and staying intuned with the Republican Party, but at this point it's one step at a time, since he still has a state to lead.
"I've got six more months of being governor and we're going to be serious about it," said Barbour.
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:13 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:13:14 GMT
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