House Speaker Billy McCoy served Mississippi well

It was indeed an honor for me last week to be among those paying tribute to retiring House Speaker Billy McCoy, the battling Democrat from the hills of Northeast Mississippi whose 32-year career significantly shaped the state’s most memorable legislative achievements in the 20th century.

But it was the eight years – especially the last four – as speaker of the Legislature’s lower chamber, for which William J. McCoy will best be remembered in state political history.

The Booneville native, who never lost his hill country twang, nor forgot for a moment his humble background, will be known as the stubby guy who gave meaning to the Democratic label and stood firm in the path of an unprecedented Republican political machine driven by Gov. Haley Barbour.

Bill Minor