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William J. McCoy (Mississippi politician)

William J. McCoy (August 14, 1942 – November 12, 2019) was an American farmer and Democratic politician from Rienzi, Mississippi. He was the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the State of Mississippi.

William J. McCoy
Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives
In office
January 6, 2004 – January 3, 2012
Preceded byTim Ford
Succeeded byPhilip Gunn
Member of the Mississippi House of Representatives
from the 3rd district
In office
January 1980 – January 2012
Preceded by???
Succeeded byTracy Arnold
Personal details
BornAugust 14, 1942
Booneville, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedNovember 12, 2019(2019-11-12) (aged 77)
Tupelo, Mississippi, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materNortheast Mississippi Community College
Mississippi State University


McCoy was born August 14, 1942 in Booneville, attended Northeast Mississippi Junior College, and graduated from Mississippi State University. He has worked as a vocational agriculture teacher and as a loan officer for the Farmers Home Administration, as well as a school auditor for the Mississippi State Department of Audit. He continues as a farmer.[1]

House of RepresentativesEdit

McCoy became a member of the House in 1980, and was elected Speaker in 2004. In 2008, he faced (and beat) a challenge by conservative fellow Democrat, now Republican Jeff Smith of Columbus, who was supported by the Republicans in the House and by Republican governor Haley Barbour.[2]

On May 25, 2011, McCoy announced that he would not seek re-election to the State House.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

McCoy married Edith Leatherwood. He was a Baptist, Freemason, and a member of the Farm Bureau.[1] He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Northeast Mississippi Community College.[4] He died on November 12, 2019 at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was 77 years old.[5]



  1. ^ a b "Representative William J. 'Billy' McCoy (MS)". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 18, 2010.
  2. ^ "McCoy wins 2nd term as Miss. House speaker over GOP vote". The Natchez Democrat. Associated Press. January 9, 2008. Retrieved December 18, 2010.
  3. ^ "Speaker McCoy won't seek re-election" Clarion-Ledger May 25, 2011
  4. ^ "Mississippi House of Representatives William J. McCoy". Mississippi House of Representatives. Retrieved December 18, 2010.
  5. ^ "Billy J. McCoy, former Speaker of House, dies". Daily Journal. Retrieved 12 November 2019.