CATEGORY: Governor

AUTHOR: BOBBY

HED:Fordice to decide about delivering address

By Bobby Harrison

Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON - Gov. Kirk Fordice, still recovering from a Nov. 5 automobile wreck, will decide this weekend whether to deliver his State of the State address to the Legislature Tuesday.

The speech is tentatively set for noon Tuesday in the House of Representatives chamber at the state Capitol. But Heath Hall, a spokesman for the governor, said Fordice will not make a final decision on whether to deliver the speech until after meeting with doctors this weekend.

"Although the governor's treating physician has certified him fit for duty, the staff doesn't want to push him too quickly," Hall said.

The State of the State speech normally is given early in the legislative session. The current session began Tuesday.

If the 62-year-old Fordice does deliver the speech, it will be his first public appearance since his wreck on I-55 about 15 miles north of Grenada. The governor was traveling by himself when his car left the interstate, flipped and caught fire. He had told security officers who normally travel with him that he wanted to be alone on that day. His activities on that day still are not completely known.

The wreck left him in intensive care at the University Medical Center in Jackson. He had severely bruised vital organs, broken bones and a nearly severed ear.

Fordice was discharged from the hospital Nov. 30 and has been recovering at the Governor's Mansion. He resumed his gubernatorial duties Dec. 17.

Hall said the governor is working about three hours per day. Hall also said the governor still plans to meet with the media "in the near future."

A delegation of six legislators visited Fordice Tuesday on the opening day of the session. They said the governor looked "surprisingly" fit.

If Fordice does deliver the speech, it will be his sixth State of the State address. There is no law requiring the governor to give a State of the State speech.

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