Ronnie Musgrove: Wikis


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Ronnie Musgrove

In office
January 11, 2000 – January 13, 2004
Lieutenant Amy Tuck
Preceded by Kirk Fordice
Succeeded by Haley Barbour

In office
January 16, 1996 – January 11, 2000
Governor Kirk Fordice
Preceded by Eddie Briggs
Succeeded by Amy Tuck

Born July 29, 1956 (1956-07-29) (age 53)
Tocowa, Mississippi
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Melanie Musgrove (1977-2001)
Dr. Melody B. Musgrove (2007-present)
Occupation Attorney, Politician
Religion Southern Baptist
Website Musgrove For Senate

David Ronald "Ronnie" Musgrove (born July 29, 1956) is an American politician who was the Democratic Lieutenant Governor from 1996 to 2000 and the 62nd Governor from 2000 to 2004 of the U.S. state of Mississippi. He was recently defeated by incumbent Senator Roger Wicker for one of Mississippi's seats in the U.S. Senate.


Personal life

A native of Tocowa, Mississippi, Musgrove grew up in the nearby city of Batesville. When Musgrove was seven years old, his father, a road crew worker with the Mississippi Highway Department, caught pneumonia while laboring during a record snowstorm and died. His mother worked at a Fruit of the Loom factory, tended a half-acre garden and raised him and his four siblings by herself.[1]

After attending Northwest Mississippi Community College, the University of Mississippi, Musgrove went to the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he became friends with fellow law student, future Mississippi House of Representatives member and future author John Grisham.[2] Grisham would later campaign for Musgrove in each of his races for Lt. Governor, Governor and U.S. Senate.[3][4]

In 1977 Musgrove married his wife Melanie. In 2001, while he was in office, Musgrove and his wife, Melanie (Ballard), divorced after 24 years of marriage.[5] The results and settlement of the divorce were sealed by the judge at the request of the Musgroves.[6] Musgrove married Dr. Melody Bounds on August 4, 2007[7]. The Musgroves are members of First Baptist Church Jackson. They have four children ranging in age from 19 to 24. [8]

Political career

Before being elected Governor, Musgrove was a two-term state senator and Lieutenant Governor under Kirk Fordice.

Shortly after being elected Lt. Governor, Musgrove was seriously injured in a car accident while traveling on official state business. Musgrove gained national attention a few months later when he was pressed to serve as acting governor after then Gov. Kirk Fordice (a Republican -- and fierce political opponent) nearly died in his own car accident. While serving as acting governor in Fordice's absence, Musgrove was a model of political restraint, limiting his activities to signing proclamations, processing extraditions, declaring weather-related emergencies and making appointments recommended by Fordice's staff. At the time, Musgrove was quoted as saying, "When we're confronted by these types of matters, politics has to be put on the back burner and we have to do the right thing."[9]

In 1998 he chaired the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors.[10]

The 1999 gubernatorial election between Musgrove and Republican Congressman Mike Parker was the closest in Mississippi history.[11] Out of almost three quarters of a million votes cast, Musgrove had won 8,300 more votes than Parker in a four-way election, but fell a fraction of a percentage point short of receiving a majority (as required by the state’s 1890 Constitution). Since neither candidate received a majority of the popular vote, the Mississippi House of Representatives had to select the winner.[12] They chose Musgrove. It was the first time the election of a Mississippi governor was decided by the Legislature.[13]

As Governor, Musgrove served as chair or vice chair of a number of boards and associations, including the National Governor's Association (vice chair), the Southern Regional Education Board (chair), the Southern States Energy Board (chair elect), the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (chair elect) and the Executive Committee for the Democratic Governors Association (vice chair of policy).[14]

As governor, Musgrove presided over what is still considered the largest economic development project in Mississippi history.[15] In August 2000, he launched Advantage Mississippi Initiative (AMI) to create new jobs for the state, which brought in a new Nissan Motor Company production plant.[16][14] Nissan's arrival gave legitimacy to the notion that the Southeastern United States could become an automotive manufacturing leader.[15] Musgrove's AMI economic development package also helped set in motion the mechanics needed to recruit Toyota to Blue Springs.[17]

After losing his bid for re-election in 2003 to Republican challenger Haley Barbour, Musgrove returned to private practice with the law firm of Copeland, Cook, Taylor & Bush, P.A. in Ridgeland, Mississippi. On January 4, 2008, Musgrove confirmed that he would be a candidate for the United States Senate special election in Mississippi in 2008 against Republican candidate Roger Wicker, who was appointed to the position by Governor Haley Barbour when Trent Lott resigned. Musgrove lost to Wicker.

Governor Musgrove is active in volunteerism working with both Habitat for Humanity and Stewpot Community Services.[18] He also teaches classes at his alma mater, the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi, as well as at Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson, Mississippi.

Political views



During his tenure, Musgrove was known as the education governor.[19] The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal noted that Gov. William Winter has said the Adequate Education Program is the most significant piece of education legislation in the state's history. “A lot of politicians played major roles in the passage of the legislation, but Adequate Education would not have passed without the leadership of Musgrove as lieutenant governor.”[20]


In August 2003, Musgrove wrote judge Roy Moore on state letterhead to praise the judge's unconstitutional - as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court - Ten Commandments monument, inviting the judge to display the monument in the Mississippi State Capitol for a week the following month and announcing his intention to encourage other governors to follow suit. Musgrove further wrote, "It would be my honor to host this monument as a symbol of every Mississippian's dedication to the fundamental principles of the Ten Commandments."[21]

In 2001, Musgrove signed legislation requiring the motto "In God We Trust" to be displayed in every public school classroom, as well as the school auditoriums and cafeterias, throughout the state.[22][23]

Gay rights

In 2000, Musgrove signed a bill into law banning same sex couples from adopting children, making Mississippi only the third state having done so. The law also says that Mississippi will not recognize adoptions from other states by same sex couples.[24][25]


Democrat, Musgrove is pro life[citation needed] Democrat, and as Governor signed a bill banning the public funding of abortion, with the exceptions of when the mother's life is in danger, when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or when a fetal malformation is incompatible with the baby being born alive[citation needed].

Mississippi state flag

The state flag features the Confederate Battle Flag prominently. In 2000, the Supreme Court of Mississippi ruled that the Mississippi flag, a source of division among white and black Mississippians, was not official.[26] The court ruled the flag was officially adopted in 1894, but the law designating the state flag was not among those carried forward in a 1906 update of the state code. The judges left the decision to adopt, or not adopt, the flag to the legislative and executive branches.[27] In response to the ruling, Musgrove held a press conference to announce that he had issued an executive order the following day creating a 17-member commission to study the flag. In the executive order, Musgrove also called for continuing the use of the flag until the Legislature had received and reviewed the committee's report. During the press conference, flanked by a U.S. flag and the controversial state flag, Musgrove offered no indication of his opinion on the current flag or any possible future design.[28] The commission eventually came up with a new flag design that replaced the battle flag from the canton with a circular array of twenty stars (Mississippi is the 20th state) on a blue background. As campaigning for the flags began leading up to a referendum, Musgrove did endorse the new flag.[29] A referendum was held in April 2001 to determine whether the new flag would be adopted. The old flag won by a vote of 65% to 35%.[30]


  1. ^ The Sun Herald: Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove known as the education governor
  2. ^ John Grisham Biography
  3. ^ Away down South in Dixie
  4. ^ The Hook: Judge rules Grisham is an Innocent Man in libel case
  5. ^ Parker, Suzi (June 28, 2001). "South scrambles to improve state of unions.(USA)". Christian Science Monitor. 
  6. ^ The Sun Herald: Musgroves ask for sealed divorce
  7. ^ The Clarion-Ledger: Musgrove remarries at small ceremony
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ The New York Times: Governor's Car Accident Has Mississippi Abuzz
  10. ^ Southern Governors' Association 2000 Annual Report bio
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ Ayres, B. Drummond, Jr. (November 4, 1999). "Tight Governor's Race Will Be Decided by Mississippi House of Representatives". New York Times. 
  13. ^ [3]
  14. ^ a b National Governors Association: Mississippi Governor David Ronald "Ronnie" Musgrove
  15. ^ a b The Mississippi Business Journal: Economy, education cornerstones of Musgrove's campaign
  16. ^ Business Wire: Advantage Mississippi Initiative Moves State to Leading Position in Economic Development
  17. ^ Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal: Musgrove's baggage aside, he had his accomplishments
  18. ^ [4]
  19. ^ [5]
  20. ^ [6]
  21. ^ Freedom From Religion Foundation: Mississippi Governor Emulates Moore; Endorses Ten Commandments
  22. ^ People For the American Way: Back to School with the Religious Right
  23. ^ The New York Times: National News Briefs; 'In God We Trust' Motto For Mississippi Schools
  24. ^ CBS News: Mississippi Bans Gay Adoptions; Bans Gay Couples From Adopting Children
  25. ^ Baptist Press: Miss. governor, Baptist layman, signs homosexual adoption ban
  26. ^ Mississippi Division of the United Sons of Confederate Veterans v. Mississippi State Conference of NAACP Branches, 774 So. 2d 388 (Miss. 2000)
  27. ^ Dedman IV, James M. (Fall 2001). "At Daggers Drawn: The Confederate Flag and the School Classroom - A Case Study of a Broken First Amendment Formula". Baylor Law Review 53: 877, 883. 
  28. ^ The Clarion-Ledger: Musgrove creates advisory commission; Future of flag on line
  29. ^ The New York Times: Battle Lines Form Again on the Battle Flag
  30. ^ BBC News: Mississippi keeps Confederate flag

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Eddie Briggs
Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi
January 1996 - January 11, 2000
Succeeded by
Amy Tuck
Preceded by
Kirk Fordice
Governor of Mississippi
January 11, 2000 - January 13, 2004
Succeeded by
Haley Barbour
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dick Molpus
Democratic nominee for Governor of Mississippi
1999, 2003
Succeeded by
John Arthur Eaves
Preceded by
Erik R. Fleming
Democratic nominee for United States Senator from Mississippi
(Class 1)

Succeeded by


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