#164. Leadership – From the Top DownPosted on
If you have read my blogs, then you know that I am a big fan of Mississippi Governor Hailey Barbour. Governor Barbour was elected in 2003, and reelected in 2007. During the Barbour Administration, Mississippi has seen a new increase of more than 50,000 new jobs, and personal income is up nearly 20 percent. His tenure has also seen record funding increases for all three levels of education – K-12, community colleges and universities. In addition, across-the-board reforms in public education have been implemented, including new focus on teacher and school performance, reducing state bureaucracy and strengthening discipline.
In the face of the worst natural disaster in American history – Hurricane Katrina, which struck on August 29, 2005 – Governor Barbour took the lead early on helping Mississippians rebuild and recover. He has worked tirelessly and innovatively with local, state and national leadership to tap into many resources of assistance for the hurricane’s victims.
Another Governor that I have paid close attention to is Indiana’s Governor Mitch Daniels. Governor Daniels approaches political leadership from a business perspective. Having spent more than a decade in senior management at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, Daniels focuses on cost efficiency and empirical measurement. Prior to being elected Governor in 2004, Daniels directed the Office of Management and Budget in the current Bush administration for more than two years.
When Daniels became governor in January 2005, the state’s deficit was $600 million. Within one year of his inauguration, Indiana had a $300 million surplus. Under Daniels, Indiana has improved its business tax climate, attracted a surge of foreign investment, and brought its unemployment rate to the lowest level in six years.
In keeping with his business mindset, Governor Daniels refers to his potential reelection this fall as a “rehiring.”
What has really impressed me about both Governors Barbour and Daniels is that they are not only both providing strong, visionary leadership for their state, but they also are the chief “salesmen” for their states. In both cases they have made domestic and overseas trips to “close the deal” to bring in new high quality jobs. They both have the critical “can do” spirit that is often the difference between success and failure. As a result, both states are headed in the right direction in my opinion.