It isn’t news to anyone who has been paying attention the past few years that a growing partisanship is reshaping Mississippi politics.
The traditional alliances and good ol’ boy network that kept the legislative process running for decades has been replaced by Gov. Haley Barbour’s strict party discipline and unyielding focus.
Come hell or high water, the governor sticks to his guns, and he has asserted critical pressure at the right moments to achieve his goals. He has also been a master of using the legislative special session to amplify his constitutionally-weak position.
The state’s business community has rallied behind the governor and played a key role in advancing his programs and priorities. This role for business, industry and economic development professionals must continue. However, it would be a mistake for business interests to become ensnared in petty political fights. Quite simply, the stakes are too high to play games over images and ideological issues emanating from inside the Washington, D.C. Beltway.
Pragmatism and compromise are necessary to insure that we continue to foster a pro-business environment in the Magnolia State. Cutting off dialogue won’t work; cutting deals will.
That said, we encourage every stakeholder in the state’s political process to take a long, hard look at bigger issues and to set greater goals for the common good. Put self-interest aside.
Working together — public and private, urban and rural, House, Senate and CEO — we can build a better Mississippi.