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Mississippi Capitol hosts funeral of former US Sen. Cochran

The body of former U.S. Senator Thad Cochran lies in state in front of a portrait of him at the Robert C. Khayat Law Center at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. on Sunday, June 2, 2019. Cochran died on Thursday in Oxford. (Bruce Newman/The Oxford Eagle via AP)

JACKSON, Miss. — Flags in Mississippi are flying at half-staff to honor a Republican former U.S. senator who brought billions of dollars to the state.

One funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday in the state Capitol in Jackson, with Republican Gov. Phil Bryant speaking. Cochran will lie in state until that evening in the Capitol rotunda, and the public may visit.

Another service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy will speak. Shelby is a Republican from Alabama. Leahy is a Democrat from Vermont, and he and Cochran traveled the globe together.

“Thad Cochran was a devoted public servant, a lion of the Senate, and one of my dearest friends,” Leahy said in a statement Thursday. “Despite our political differences, I knew Thad held the interests of the people of Mississippi — and the country — close to his heart.”

Cochran, as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, steered billions of dollars to Mississippi for universities, agriculture, and Hurricane Katrina recovery.

In written remarks as he retired from the Senate in March 2018, Cochran said he was particularly thankful for Leahy’s friendship.

“He and I have fought side by side with each other; and sometimes face to face against each other, always with friendship and respect,” wrote Cochran, who was the 10th longest-serving senator in U.S. history.

Cochran was 81 when he died Thursday in a veterans’ nursing home in Oxford, Mississippi. He was the 10th longest-serving U.S. senator in history.

Cochran was elected to the U.S. House in 1972 and to the Senate in 1978, wielding power for several years as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He retired in April 2018.

Cochran was dubbed the “Quiet Persuader” because of his gentlemanly demeanor. He was also known for working across party lines.

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