November 19, 2007 Rotogram

NEGRITA TO TELL US ABOUT ECUADOR

Rotary Youth Exchange Student Negrita Caicedo is today’s speaker. She’s no stranger because she has attended nearly every Rotary meeting since her arrival from Ecuador in late July. We’re looking forward to learning more about Ecuador, her family, her experiences, and how life and school in Starkville compare with those at home in Ambato, Ecuador.  

STATUS REPORT FROM OCH

Next Monday, fellow Rotarian Sonny Kelly will give us an update on the services and status of Oktibbeha County Hospital.

LAST WEEK AT ROTARY

Attendance: There were 103 members (62 active, 39 exempt, and 2 honorary) members present, and 72 active, 18 exempt, and 8 honorary members missing. Two active members are on leave.

Invocation and Pledge: Jack Wallace.

Visitors and Guests: Visiting Rotarian was Bill Overstreet from Pascagoula. Guests of members were Colleen Thompson of her husband Johnny; Danny O’Driscoll and John Rounsaville of Chris Latimer; Joe Bumgardner of John Robert Arnold; and Sean Owen of Gery Cummings. Club guests were Exchange Students Negrita Caicedo and Maryna Melnik, and Skip Descant of the Commercial Dispatch.

Makeups Reported: Larry Box, Oct. 2 and 23 in Columbus; Gary Chism, Oct. 18 in West Point; Gary D. Jackson, Nov. 7 in Louisville; and Julia Hodges, Nov. 8 on-line.

Meeting Notes: President Ned Browning noted a news report that one of the MRAP vehicles from West Point had been destroyed by a roadside bomb in Iraq and all occupants walked away from it safely.

He announced meetings of the Board of Directors, and the Long Range, Membership/Classification, Grants, and Christmas Float committees.

A TRIBUTE TO VETERANS

Sunday, Nov. 11, was Veterans’ Day, and Jack Wallace gave us a stirring and emotional reminder of the debt we owe to those who have served, who are now serving, and who will serve in the future to protect our nation. He asked Rotarians who are veterans of our nation’s wars to stand and be recognized. He recognized Rotarians’ sons and family members who are currently in the military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He paid tribute to those who will join the military in the future in the continuing fight against terrorism.

In conclusion, Jack quoted a poem from a brigadier general and friend of his, titled “The Final Inspection.”

Rotarians showed their appreciation of Jack’s tribute to veterans with extended applause.

Thank you, Jack, for reminding us of those responsible for providing and protecting the freedoms we enjoy.

A CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

Our Bylaws call for the election of officers for the coming year to be held at the second meeting of December. A slate of officers to be elected is to be presented by the nominating committee (three immediate past presidents) at the first meeting of December.

Nominations are therefore being received today and at next Monday’s meeting for the following officers who will assist President-elect Chip Templeton in leading this club for the Rotary year beginning July 1, 2008.

Vice President/President-elect from the University community.

Secretary – Michelle Amos is in her second term and not eligible for re-election.

Treasurer – Jeff Read is in his second term and not eligible for re-election.

Directors – Four to be elected for 2-year terms. Two each from the business and University communities, one of whom shall have been a member fewer than 5 years; one a member 5 years or more.

Please get nominations to Larry Mullins, (chm); Ed Clynch; or Larry Box no later than Nov. 30. You can refer to your Club Directory to determine eligibility for directors. If you don’t have one, see Michelle Amos.

THE STATEWIDE ELECTION IN RETROSPECT

“The (statewide) election isn’t something that ended last week. There’s going to be crunch time for a long time,” according to Marty Wiseman. After that opening warning, the head of the MSU Stennis Institute, reviewed the election results and explained how he thinks the outcome will impact the state over the next 4 years.

Republicans captured all but one state office, thanks to Gov. Haley Barbour’s campaign. The exception was Democrat incumbent Attorney General Jim Hood who got more votes than anyone else in the election and carried all but 5 of the 82 counties.

“There was not a good voter turnout, but it was a heckuva campaign,” Wiseman said. “Turnout is everything. If you don’t vote, it’s just like a vote against you, especially for Republicans.” He pointed out that Haley Barbour’s campaign for re-election was based on 30 years of strategy. “Haley was the architect of the Republican takeover in the last election.”

Money was a big factor. Barbour raised more than $13 million. His 72-hour blitz utilized the latest computer technology to send personalized phone calls and letters to voters. It sent a committed army of door-to-door volunteers into the field. “The other Republicans were all happy to ride on Haley’s coattails,” Wiseman said.

Gov. Barbour doesn’t just want to win, however. He wants to govern. The state’s 1890 Constitution creates a weak governor who doesn’t get to make executive branch appointments. But “give the rules to Haley Barbour and he’ll figure out a way,” Wiseman said.

He sees potential problems ahead because the governor cannot be reelected. And although the term “lame duck” doesn’t fit Haley Barbour, he’ll likely have a more difficult time with the Legislature. Wiseman pointed out that when the election smoke cleared, the Democrats had not only retained their majority in the House 75 to 47, they had captured the Senate with a 28 to 24 majority (formerly a 27 to 25 GOP majority).

Wiseman says it will be interesting to see how this plays out. However, Barbour is a skilled politician and “he has developed techniques to mobilize the grassroots. He has all the names in his database and it won’t go back in the closet.”

Another reason for the GOP sweep was that so many voters stayed home. Wiseman said that in local elections across the state, Democratic winners outnumbered Republicans 3 to 1. Mississippi has more registered Democrats than Republicans so if everyone went out to vote and there was no Haley Barbour, the outcome would quite likely be significantly different.

He says another possible conflict in Jackson will depend on the outcome of the Speaker’s race and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant’s committee chair appointments. He’ll need to walk a fine line in bipartisanship. But the biggest battle Wiseman expects will be over redistricting (which he labels “the Super Bowl of politics”). “Redistricting could be a war!”

“On election night, Gov. Barbour promised tax cuts. What will be cut?” Wiseman wondered.

“Will the Democrats become organized enough to become effective?” It will be crucial for the party. They have the numbers out there.

“Will the governor be as effective 2 years from now when he’s a lame duck? Legislators will worry about that,” Wiseman responded to a number of questions. He doesn’t know if the cigarette tax will come back up or not – it may get swamped if the Governor tries to revamp the tax code. About the possibility of Barbour being tapped as a vice presidential candidate, Marty just smiled an said, “who knows? Rudy needs some magnolia mouth on that ticket.”

Finally, he bemoaned the sorry 20 percent turnout of Oktibbeha County voters. “It’s hard to figure out when we in the home county of the state’s largest university have so much to gain or lose.”

Bill Parrish introduced the program.

THREE PROPOSED FOR MEMBERSHIP

Three individuals, proposed for membership in Starkville Rotary Club, have been approved by the Membership/Classification Committee and Board of Directors for publication and review by the membership.

Sean Owen, Asst. Prof. in the MSU Center for Education Training & Technology, is proposed by Gery Cummings with the classification “Educational Technology.”

Dennis Truax, Head of the MSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is proposed by Carey Hardin with the classification “Education – Engineering.”

Willliam W. “Ben” Hilbun, with Galloway, Chandler, McKinney Agency, is proposed by Nellah Taylor for the classification “ Insurance.”

If no objections are filed by next Monday, Nov. 26, they will be considered elected to membership

CONDOLENCES

Condolences to Jack and Lynda Forbus and their family. Lynda’s mother, Lillian Rhodes, died last Wednesday. Services were held Saturday morning in Philadelphia, MS.

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