Barbour Staff Biography & Facts
Haley Reeves Barbour (born October 22, 1947) is an American attorney, politician, and lobbyist who served as the 63rd governor of Mississippi from 2004 to 2012. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1993 to 1997.
Born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, Barbour graduated from the University of Mississippi with undergraduate and law degrees, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Barbour was an active Republican operative during the 1970s and 1980s, and he is often credited with building significant Republican infrastructure in Mississippi during an era when it was still dominated by Southern Democrats. He was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 1982, but lost to incumbent Democrat John C. Stennis.
In 2003, Barbour became the second Republican governor of Mississippi since Reconstruction when he defeated Democratic incumbent Ronnie Musgrove. As governor he oversaw his state's responses to Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the state's two most damaging environmental disasters since the 1927 Mississippi River floods. Barbour was expected to be a candidate for President in 2012, but announced he would not run in April 2011.Since retiring as governor, Barbour has resumed lobbying as a senior partner at BGR Group, which he co-founded in 1991. He has been described as "one of Washington's all-time mega-lobbyists". His clients have often included foreign governments, oil, and tobacco companies. Barbour currently co-chairs the Immigration Task Force at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Barbour was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, where he was raised as the youngest of three sons of Grace LeFlore (née Johnson) and Jeptha Fowlkes Barbour, Jr. Haley's father, a lawyer, died when Barbour was two years old. Barbour's father was a Circuit Judge who had an inmate, Leon Turner, assist him after Judge Barbour became ill. As governor, Haley later gave Turner, who had helped raise him, a posthumous pardon in the closing days of his administration.He enrolled at the University of Mississippi School of Law, receiving a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 1972.
Subsequently, Barbour joined his father's old law firm in Yazoo City. He was also a law partner of his cousin, William H. Barbour Jr., who later became a federal district judge.
Early political career
Barbour soon became prominent within the Republican party running Gerald Ford's 1976 presidential campaign in the Southeast. He also worked on the campaign of former Texas Governor John Connally, who had become a Republican, for president in 1980. In 1982 Barbour was the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate election in Mississippi, but was defeated by longtime incumbent John C. Stennis, a conservative Democrat, 64% to 36%, despite an endorsement by President Ronald Reagan. During the campaign, The New York Times reported that a Barbour aide complained about "coons" at a campaign event. Barbour, embarrassed that the comment was overheard by a reporter, told the aide that he would be "reincarnated as a watermelon and placed at the mercy of blacks" if he continued making racist comments. As of 2022, Barbour is the last Republican to have lost a Senate election in Mississippi.
Barbour later served as a political aide in the Reagan Administration and worked on the 1988 presidential campaign of George H. W. Bush.Before being elected governor of Mississippi, Barbour "had a long career on the national stage" and was "well-known as a Republican operative since the Reagan years".
Barbour has been described as "one of Washington's all-time mega-lobbyists". He "was a wealthy K Street lobbyist for giant corporations such as RJ Reynolds, Philip Morris, Amgen, Microsoft, United Health, Southern Company, and many others." In 1991, Barbour helped found the lobbying group now known as BGR Group, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm, with Ed Rogers, a lawyer who formerly worked in the George H. W. Bush administration. In 1994, Lanny Griffith (also a former Bush administration appointee) joined the firm.
In 1998, Fortune magazine named Barbour Griffith & Rogers as the second-most-powerful lobbying firm in America. In 2001, after the inauguration of George W. Bush, Fortune called it the most powerful. The firm "is employed by several foreign countries, as well as oil and cigarette companies". Its role in advocating on behalf of the tobacco industry has been particularly prominent. BGR also "lobbied on behalf of the Embassy of Mexico in 2001 to promote a bill related to Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This provision would have provided a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the United States, through family connections or job skills, without a requirement that they return to their home country for the requisite 3-10 years. This is what's often referred to as 'amnesty.'" "As part of that work, Barbour's firm arranged meetings and briefings with 'Senators, members of Congress and their staffs, as well as Executive Branch Officials in the White House, National Security Council, State Department, and Immigration & Naturalization Service'. Barbour's firm charged Mexico $35,000 a month, plus expenses."As of 2010, the firm remained one of DC's top 25, but had seen revenues drop both in 2009 and in 2010. As of 2011, Barbour continued to "collect payments from BGR through a blind trust, which was recently valued at $3.3 million".In early 2014, Barbour and his nephew, Henry Barbour, formed a Super PAC named Mississippi Conservatives, which supported the (successful) reelection campaign of Senator Thad Cochran.
In 1993, Barbour became chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). In 1994, during his tenure as RNC chair, Republicans captured both houses of the United States Congress, taking the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. In 1997, Barbour retired from his position as chairman of the RNC.
Governor of Mississippi
After two decades in Washington, D.C., Barbour announced his intention to run for governor of Mississippi in 2003. On August 5, 2003, Barbour won the Republican gubernatorial primary over Canton trial attorney Mitch Tyner. Barbour's campaign manager was his nephew Henry Barbour.
During the campaign, a controversy arose when Barbour chose to speak at the Blackhawk Rally, a fundraiser for the Blackhawk "council school" in Blackhawk, Mississippi. Such "council schools", also referred to in Mississippi lexicon as "academies", were established by the White Citizens' Council movement in reaction to the demands for racial integration by the Civil Rights Movement. The Blackhawk rally was hosted by the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). A photograph of Barbour with CCC members appeared on the CCC webpage, and some commentators and pundits demanded that Barbour ask for his picture to be removed from the site, but Bar.... Discover the Barbour Staff popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Barbour Staff books.