Gov. Allain will be missed in Mississippi

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, December 4, 2013

You can take the man out of Natchez, but the spirit of Natchez never left former Mississippi Gov. Bill Allain.

The Natchez native, who served as Mississippi governor from 1984 to 1988, died Monday.

Community and state leaders who served with Allain said the man worked hard for all of Mississippi, but had a special place in his heart for Natchez. He was heavily involved in the legislation that helped approve construction of the second bridge over the Mississippi River at Natchez, for instance.

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Allain was the 59th governor in Mississippi history, but the first modern governor eligible to be reelected to a subsequent term after a change in Mississippi law went into effect in the mid-1980s.

Allain, perhaps still rocked by a political attack that accused him of lurid behavior, chose to leave public office after one term.

Eventually the people alleging the lurid behavior changed their stories and Allain, an attorney, carefully chipped away at the allegations by producing evidence to the contrary.

Politically Allain may have been able to win reelection, but it would seem the man simply thought he’d prefer not to have to deal with such political shenanigans any more. Who could blame him?

At the time such scandalous political attacks seemed rare, shocking even. Today such mudslinging seems par for the course. State and federal government might be better off today were it led by people with Allain’s sense of duty and purpose and less political showmen.

In hindsight, we respect the manner in which Allain handled the mudslinging by simply walking away. Perhaps that indicates Allain was a man of higher class than most of those whose politically grimy hands were hurling the accusations. Mississippians will most certainly miss him.