Don Brown seated guest for inaugural festivities

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Don Brown looks out over the crowd from the steps of the Capitol before the inauguration of Haley Barbour as governor.(Melanie Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[1/14/04]JACKSON From about halfway up the Capitol steps, Don Brown, former head of the Warren County Democratic Executive Committee, had a unique seat Tuesday as Haley Barbour became the state’s 63rd governor.

“It was a real honor,” Brown said. “I got to be a part of history.”

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Brown, director of the Warren-Yazoo Mental Health Service and president of the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, was one of Barbour’s seated guests for the inauguration.

During last year’s campaign, Brown’s endorsement of Barbour over Democrat Ronnie Musgrove resulted in him being asked to resign his party posts here.

Brown took it in stride, and said he was phoned by Barbour on election day and thanked for his help. He was also asked to sit among the state and federal officials, family members and party constituents.

“I guess I just grow on him,” Brown said.

That relationship has had other dividends. Barbour, in one of his first major appearances as governor, will be the keynote speaker in Vicksburg at the Chamber’s annual banquet on Jan. 22. Brown’s two-year tenure as chamber president will also end during the Vicksburg Convention Center event.

And it’s no secret that Barbour has about 600 state jobs to fill. Brown would not discuss any specifics but said that he has talked with Barbour about possibly taking a position with the state.

“There’s been some conversations,” Brown said.

Vicksburg’s Jimmy Heidel, the former executive director of the state’s economic development and a member of Barbour’s transition team, said he has also interviewed for a state position, but there have been no announcements from Jackson concerning Heidel.