William Allain

William Alexander "Bill" Allain (February 14, 1928 – December 2, 2013) was an American politician who held office as the 59th Governor of Mississippi as a Democrat from 1984 to 1988.[1]

William Allain
William Allain.png
Allain at the University of Mississippi, 1950
59th Governor of Mississippi
In office
January 10, 1984 – January 12, 1988
LieutenantBrad Dye
Preceded byWilliam Winter
Succeeded byRay Mabus
36th Attorney General of Mississippi
In office
January 22, 1980 – January 10, 1984
GovernorWilliam Winter
Preceded byA. F. Summer
Succeeded byEdwin L. Pittman
Personal details
Born(1928-02-14)February 14, 1928
Washington, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedDecember 2, 2013(2013-12-02) (aged 85)
Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.
Resting placeNatchez City Cemetery
Natchez, Mississippi
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materUniversity of Notre Dame
University of Mississippi, Oxford
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1950-1953
Battles/warsKorean War


He was born in Washington in Adams County near Natchez, Mississippi. He attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and received his law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law at Oxford.[2] Allain served in the United States Army infantry in the Korean War.[2] A Catholic,[3] he was a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.[2] After the war, he practiced law in Natchez, Mississippi, until his appointment as assistant state attorney general in 1962.

Allain was elected state attorney general in 1979, having defeated the Republican State Senator Charles W. Pickering of Laurel. Allain earned a reputation as a consumer advocate. He fought utility rate increases and stopped the storage of nuclear waste in Mississippi. State labor president Claude Ramsay sought to broker an agreement between Democratic Party presidential candidate Walter F. Mondale and Allain when the latter sought a veto over the federal storage of nuclear waste in Mississippi as a condition for his political support of Mondale.[4]

He also fought the powerful Mississippi Legislature, which for decades had diluted executive branch power by appointing legislators to executive department boards and commissions. The Mississippi Supreme Court, at Allain's insistence, struck the practice as a violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers. The resulting decision, Allain v. Alexander, is sometimes referred to as "Mississippi's Marbury vs. Madison," after the landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court which delineated the powers of the three branches of the federal government. Allain's efforts strengthened the Mississippi executive and streamlined Mississippi's political processes. Allain as governor instituted a legal panel to study the possibility of re-writing the 1890 Bourbon state constitution and created an administrative task force of state agency heads to reduce the use of illegal drugs. He was unsuccessful in the former and successful in the later case, particularly in the interdiction and seizure of almost a ton of cocaine.[5][6]

In 1983, while Allain was running for governor against Republican candidate Leon Bramlett of Clarksdale, private detective Rex Armistead, formerly with the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, helped to spread rumors that Allain had sexual intercourse with two African-American male transvestites.[7][8][9] Allain denied the charges.[8] The transvestites went on the record with a lie detector but in 1984 claimed they had never met Allain and had been paid for their testimony.[7][10]

Allain died December 2, 2013, in Jackson, Mississippi.[11][12]


  1. ^ David Sansing (January 2004). "William A. Allain: Fifty-eighth Governor of Mississippi: 1984-1988". Mississippi Historical Society. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c John Howard, Men Like That: A Southern Queer History, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1999, pp. 286–287
  3. ^ "Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1983-1988 - Marie Marmo Mullaney - Google Books". Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  4. ^ Cawthon, Raad. "Allain's behavior befuddles Democrats". The Clarion Ledger. August 24, 1984. p. 3B.
  5. ^ State of Mississippi. (December 1986) A draft of a new constitution for the State of Mississippi. Constitutional Study Committee. Mississippi Department of Archives and History call no. 342.02/C7585 p 3
  6. ^ State of Mississippi. (1986) Governor's Alliance against drugs. Report on Phase 1: Task Force Hearings. Report to Governor Bill Allain. MDAH call no. 101GA.7:198601 p 28
  7. ^ a b John Howard, Men Like That: A Southern Queer History, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1999, pp. 281–297
  8. ^ a b Andersen, Kurt (1983-11-21). ""Elections '83; A Winning Round", ''Time'' magazine''". Time.com. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  9. ^ Warren Johansson, William A. Percy, Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence, Routledge, 1994, p. 156 [1]
  10. ^ "Transvestites withdraw allegations", Rock Hill Herald
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ Wagster, Emily (2004-06-29). "JACKSON, Miss.: Former Mississippi Gov. Bill Allain dies at 85 | Politics". The Sun Herald. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
Legal offices
Preceded by
A. F. Summer
Attorney General of Mississippi
January 22, 1980–January 10, 1984
Succeeded by
Edwin L. Pittman
Party political offices
Preceded by
William Winter
Democratic nominee for Governor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
Ray Mabus
Political offices
Preceded by
William Winter
Governor of Mississippi
January 10, 1984–January 12, 1988
Succeeded by
Ray Mabus