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Despite bad weather, Bryant set to take office

January 10, 2012

Incoming Gov. Phil Bryant’s swearing-in ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. today on the Mississippi State Capitol’s south steps, weather permitting.

If the morning weather deteriorates, the ceremony could move into the Capitol. After taking the governor’s oath of office, Bryant will officially become the state’s 64th governor, succeeding two-term Republican Gov. Haley Barbour.

On Monday, Bryant’s communication director, Mick Bullock, confirmed the cancellation of the inaugural parade due to the possibility of heavy afternoon rains in Jackson. The parade, Bullock said, is postponed until noon Jan. 21.

The inaugural ball, set from 7:30 p.m. to midnight at the Jackson Convention Center, will continue as planned.

Bullock said Bryant remains upbeat about today’s events despite the parade cancellation and potential for bad weather.

“The man that Gov.-elect Bryant credits for his introduction to politics, former President Ronald Reagan, had to rearrange inaugural activities in 1985 because of bad weather,” Bullock said in a release Monday.

Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum said he is looking forward to attending the inaugural festivities in Jackson.

“It is always an exciting time in our state as we put aside political differences to observe the orderly transfer of power,” he said. “It is also an even more historic occasion this year because we have not had a new governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house all at once since 1976.”

As the new administration takes over in Jackson, Keenum said it is important to continue to stress the importance of higher education to elected officials.

“Not only are we educating our future leaders, we are performing important research and assisting in efforts to create jobs and opportunity in virtually every sector of our state’s economy,” Keenum said. “For every $1 appropriated, MSU returns $3, making investment in higher education a very wise one. I expect to be spending a great deal of time in Jackson sharing that story with our elected leaders during legislative session.”

Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said he and other city officials are looking forward to working the new administration’s guidelines and courses for municipalities. Last week, Wiseman said the city would not send a delegation to the ceremony.

“The city of Starkville, like all cities and counties throughout the state, depends on the state to set a policy course that will help us all advance. We look forward to charting a course into the future with our newly elected leaders at the state level,” Wiseman said.

Last week, Oktibbeha County Administrator Don Posey said members of the board of supervisors would be in Jackson for a supervisors conference and an official inauguration delegation was not planned.

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