Published on October 18th, 2022 | by University of Mississippi0
Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, U.S. Senator Trent Lott Call for Citizen Leadership
Bipartisanship is key to “moving Mississippi forward,” former officials say
Stating that government effectiveness depends upon the people’s input, former Governor Haley Barbour and retired U.S. Senator Trent Lott challenged listeners Thursday, October 13, 2022 at the University of Mississippi to become united in facing society’s challenges.
Barbour and Lott led the “Moving Mississippi Forward” discussion at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. The hourlong public forum, attended by about 100 people, was co-sponsored by the university’s Trent Lott Leadership Institute and Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence.
“We can make this country better by reaching across the aisles,” Barbour said. “We are a divided country, but my mother always said that crises usually bring out the best in people.
“That sort of attitude today can go a long, long way toward easing the polarity that is dividing our nation.”
Real leadership, such as that being produced at Ole Miss, can overcome the problems of the present, Lott said.
“Ole Miss has been at the center of developing leaders for well over a century,” he said. “I believe that good leaders become even better leaders when they learn from each other and from history.”
Barbour praised Lott as an example of great leadership.
“Senator Lott and Senator Tom Daschel reached across the aisles to get things done,” he said. “Times may have changed, but we can still do that now.”
Communication and chemistry are essential tools for leaders, Lott said.
“One of the most important tools of leadership is communication,” he said. “We also need to take time to develop relationships with one another. Effective leaders listen to one another and then do whatever is best for the people.”
Both speakers shared memories of their own involvement in state and federal government.
“The reason that we were able to accomplish so much was because we chose to be bipartisan,” Lott said.
“After 9/11, the conservative Republicans supported recovery efforts initiated by the liberal Democrats. Following Hurricane Katrina, the liberal Democrats supported recovery efforts led by the conservative Republicans. That’s the way it works.”
While Americans generally don’t like change, they are good at it when necessary, Barbour said.
“We are better at adapting to change than any other nation in the world,” he said. “Our ability to adapt is where our hope for a better future lies.”
Noting that division poses challenges to moving forward, Lott observed that people on both sides of the aisle are making a difference. He also emphasized that advances in technology will play a major role in global advancement.
“We shall see a change,” he said. “What’s happening in technology is a mind-boggling, worldwide thing. It’s coming and it’s going to be amazing.
“Together, we will make life on Earth a better place.”
By Edwin B. Smith