With the Mississippi general election as a backdrop, Delta State University’s Fall 2019 Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series will feature former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (2004-12), a Republican, and Democratic strategist Jere Nash, campaign manager for former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus (1988-92). Barbour and Nash’s discussion, “Across the Aisle: Post-Election Reflection and What’s Next,” takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, at 6 PM in the Jobe Hall auditorium on the Delta State campus. The event is free and open to the public.
“The Delta State community looks forward to hosting Gov. Barbour and Mr. Nash to campus for a very timely look-back at, and analysis of, the statewide elections,” said Delta State University President William N. LaForge. “This will certainly be a unique political forum not to be missed.”
Barbour’s decades of Republican credentials began when he dropped out of the University of Mississippi his senior year in 1968 to work on Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. Earning a law degree from Ole Miss in 1973, the Yazoo City native served as executive director of the Mississippi Republican Party from 1973 to 1976. He was the Southeast coordinator for Gerald Ford’s presidential campaign in 1976. In 1985-86, Barbour served as political director in the Reagan White House and then as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1993 to 1997. He advised the presidential campaign of George H. W. Bush in 1988.
In 2003, Barbour became only the second Republican elected governor in Mississippi since 1876. During his two consecutive terms, he earned recognition for comprehensive tort reform, for Toyota’s selection of Blue Springs for an auto assembly plant, and for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Barbour also chaired the Republican Governors Association for two years. He cofounded the lobbying firm BGR, which has offices in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.
Barbour wrote America’s Great Storm: Leading Through Hurricane Katrina with Nash (University Press of Mississippi, 2015).
Democrat Nash coauthored Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, 1976-2008, Second Edition (University Press of Mississippi, 2009; originally published in 2006) and Mississippi Fried Politics: Tall Tales from the Back Rooms (Red/Blue Publications, 2008) with Republican Andy Taggart, an attorney and former chief of staff to Mississippi Gov. Kirk Fordice.
Nash, a native of Greenville and a resident of Jackson, Miss., counts more than 70 legislative campaigns in his career. In addition to serving as campaign manager for Mabus, Nash also was the governor’s director of policy and chief of staff. Nash was chief operating officer of the Jackson-based Stewpot Community Services, which helps low-income people, from 2001 to 2003. He earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech University and a master’s degree in public administration from Louisiana State University.
Delta State President LaForge established the Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series in 2013 upon his inauguration. The first speaker was former Mississippi Gov. William Winter. The most recent, in spring 2019, was business publishing magnate Steve Forbes. Others include former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, former U.S. Comptroller General Charles Bowsher, NCAA President Mark Emmert, and UPS CEO and chairman of the board, David Abney, a Delta State alumnus.