Former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran dies at 81


FILE – In this April 16, 2009 file photo, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., tells a business audience he believes a free enterprise system and the values of hard work and self-reliance will help the American economy recover during the annual meeting of the Mississippi Economic Council, the state chamber of commerce, in Jackson, Miss. […]

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MISSISSIPPI — Former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) died at 81 years old Thursday morning in Oxford, according to a release from current Mississippi U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Cochran represented Mississippi in Congress for more than 45 years. He resigned from the Senate in April 2018 due to health concerns. That seat is now occupied by Hyde-Smith.

The release says the Cochran family thanks Mississippians for the support they’ve received over the years Cochran was in Congress.

“Mississippi and our nation have lost a true statesman in Thad Cochran,” said Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. “He was a legend in the United States Senate where he worked tirelessly to move his state and country forward. He was our longest serving senator, and his influence can be felt in every corner of Mississippi. Whether it was fighting for resources during the dark days following Hurricane Katrina on the Coast or being a zealous advocate for farmers in the Delta, he dedicated himself to serving all Mississippians. The Quiet Persuader dominated Mississippi politics for nearly half a century, and he did so by being a gentleman. Senator Cochran has left a legacy of public service that should serve as an inspiration for all Americans. I am requesting that flags be flown at half-staff in Mississippi. Deborah and I are praying for the Cochran family during this difficult time.”

“Senator Thad Cochran is a giant in our state and in our country—a statesman through and through,” said Lt. Governor Tate Reeves in a released statement. “Anyone who had the privilege of spending time with him knows that his wit and wisdom were unmatched. Elee and I are praying for Kay and the entire Cochran family today. He is at the same time a legend and a truly decent, good man—rare in our line of work. Void of ego and full of life, with friends in every corner of our state. He will always be remembered and sorely missed.”

“Thad Cochran was one of the most respected voices in Congress during his 45 years of service. He took me under his wing when I was elected to the Senate and his mentorship was unmatched and invaluable,” added Senator John Boozman. “I learned a great deal from him and take tremendous pride in our joint efforts to help the entire Delta region. Senator Cochran was a trusted neighbor and tremendous friend to Arkansas. I join with countless others in expressing my condolences to his loved ones and the people of Mississippi, who knew Thad Cochran to be an incredibly effective legislator and public servant. I will always remain grateful for his legacy and more importantly, his friendship and counsel.”

“Mississippi has suffered a tremendous loss today.  Senator Thad Cochran was an incredible leader and a most respected member of the United States Senate.  My colleagues who served with him consistently speak of him with such high regard.  So many have said to me that he was truly their favorite Senator and friend.  He treated everyone with distinction, and had a caring and concerned heart for his constituents and the state he so dearly loved. Mississippi is a better place because of his leadership that was guided by wisdom and faith.  One of my most cherished moments, which I will hold in my heart forever, is playing God Bless America on the piano while he sang it in his Senate office on his last day there,” said Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.


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