BILOXI — The national president and CEO of the NAACP said yesterday that Gov. Haley Barbour is doing too little to help the state as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill threatens people’s livelihoods.
Benjamin Todd Jealous met with shrimpers and others yesterday in Biloxi. He told WLOX-TV that it was unacceptable for the Republican Barbour to skip in-person meetings during President Barack Obama’s recent trips to South Louisiana.
“I’m sorry, but when the president comes to your state and the people in your state are sort of facing this sort of danger to their livelihood people are facing here, you come down to meet with him and you figure out how to help them,” Jealous said. “That’s what Jindal has done. That’s what Barbour hasn’t done.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist met with Democrat Obama in Louisiana last Friday. Barbour was in New York on a state trip and attended a business groundbreaking in Mississippi May 28 when Obama also went to Louisiana. Spokeswoman Laura Hipp said Barbour regularly takes part in oil-spill conference calls with the president and other governors.
Jindal, Riley and Barbour are Republicans. Crist announced in April that he’s leaving the Republican Party to run as an independent for the U.S. Senate.
Jealous lived in Jackson in the 1990s and was managing editor of the Jackson Advocate, a weekly newspaper. He became president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 2008.
He said he visited southern Mississippi yesterday because he wanted to see what kind of impact the oil spill might have on people’s economic future.
“We’re here because we know with our experience from Katrina, that people don’t always get helped in the same way,” Jealous said.
He also planned to visit Louisiana’s Terrebonne Parish.