Barbour proving leadership with Katrina recovery effort

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

Since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in late August,Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has proved to be the epitome ofleadership, in stark contrast to Louisiana Gov. KathleenBlanco.

That leadership continued last week as Barbour, accompanied byMississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale, traveled toWashington to press Congress for the money necessary to rebuild andrevitalize our state. While the $33.8 billion relief package soughtby Mississippi officials is certainly no pocket change, it is but adrop in the bucket compared to Louisiana’s pie-in-the-sky attemptto grab all it can under the guise of hurricane relief.

Although Louisiana has not submitted an official request forhurricane relief to Congress, officials, including Blanco and U.S.Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, have hammered together a $250billion request. Barbour says — and rightly so — that Louisiana’sinflated request has left a bad taste in Congress’ mouth. In lightof our western neighbor’s foot-dragging and outlandish desires, ourgovernor has asked the federal government to consider Mississippi’sneeds separate from Louisiana’s — an unprecedented move that seemsentirely appropriate.

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“We just feel like the pace is such that it would make sense inthis case,” Barbour told reporters last week, and we wholeheartedlyconcur.

Barbour has shown leadership since Katrina’s landfall Aug. 28and continues to do so today. Thanks, in part, to the governor,Mississippi appears to be handling its recovery efforts responsiblyand with an eye toward saving money.