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Mississippi's Barbour to Lead Southern Governor's Association
2006-2007 Officers Named at Recent Annual Meeting

From: Office of the Governor     8/14/06  GCN

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has been selected by his Southern colleagues to lead the nonpartisan Southern Governors' Association for the next year.

Governor Barbour, who was named SGA chairman at the group's recent annual meeting in New Orleans, said his Chairman's Initiative will focus on cultural and heritage tourism, which he sees as a growing element of the tourism sector.

"Southern states have a unique opportunity to develop even greater strengths in the important area of cultural and heritage tourism," Governor Barbour said. "Southerners have always felt a special affection for what we call a sense of place and our culture and heritage are important parts of it. I am especially interested in developing civil rights and blues music attractions that help tell the South's important story to tourists from all over the world."

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III was named SGA First Vice Chairman, and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine was named Second Vice Chairman. Governor Manchin will serve as First Vice Chairman through SGA's 2007 annual meeting, slated to take place on the Mississippi Coast in Biloxi. At the conclusion of that meeting, Manchin will assume the chairmanship of the organization and serve in that position through the 2008 annual meeting, which he will host at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.

Governor Barbour included Southern musical heritage among the interests of cultural and heritage tourism. "These are the sounds that shaped the nation and blazed a trail for music," he said.

Mississippi's tourism marketing highlights the state as "The Birthplace of America's Music" and the state has produced many of the world's most renowned musical artists.

Tupelo, in the northeast, is where Elvis Presley was born. From humble beginnings in a two-room shotgun styled house that was his childhood home. Elvis grew to become one of the legends of the music industry and was known as "The King of Rock and Roll."

Meridian is home to "The Father of Country Music," Jimmie Rodgers, whose title is recognized by the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Delta is the birthplace of blues music. This flat fertile area, along the Mississippi River is rich cotton, catfish and music. The Mississippi Delta is the place where more than 100 blues musicians and singers - including B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Charlie Patton and "The King of the Delta Blues," Robert Johnson, - launched their careers.

"Historically, the Southern Governors' Association has been a key driver of the issues important to this diverse region, and the SGA's leadership role continues to be strong in guiding policy that is critical to the region's growth," Governor Manchin stated. "I look forward to serving and continuing to work closely with my fellow Southern Governors to support and stimulate new economic growth throughout the South."

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, SGA Second Vice Chairman for the 2006-2007 term, will serve as the organization's chairman during its 75th Anniversary in 2009.  This diamond anniversary event is tentatively slated for Williamsburg, VA.

"As the country's very first, and largest, regional governors' association, the SGA is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in addressing the many important issues that confront all Americans in the 21st century," Governor Kaine said.  "I am honored to have been given this opportunity to work closely with my fellow Southern Governors to support the continuing expansion of our region's dynamic economic growth, vitality and influence in the months and years to come."                                                              


For more information about SGA, visit www.southerngovernors.com.

About the Southern Governors' Association:

Founded in 1934, the Southern Governors' Association (SGA) is the oldest and historically largest of the regional governors' associations. The mission of SGA is to support the work of the governors by providing a bipartisan, regional forum to help shape and implement national policy and to solve state and regional problems.  The association's membership is comprised of the governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia.
 

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