WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMC) – Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) announced his intention to resign from the U.S. Senate effective April 1.
Cochran currently serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
He released this statement Monday announcing his resignation:
“I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge. I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle, after which I will formally retire from the U.S. Senate.
“It has been a great honor to serve the people of Mississippi and our country. I’ve done my best to make decisions in the best interests of our nation, and my beloved state. My top concern has always been my constituents in Mississippi. My hope is by making this announcement now, a smooth transition can be ensured so their voice will continue to be heard in Washington, D.C. My efforts, and those of my staff, to assist them will continue and transfer to my successor.”
Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978, becoming the first Republican in more than 100 years to win a statewide election in Mississippi.
He is the tenth-longest serving Senator in U.S. history and previously served three terms in House of Representatives.
Cochran’s term was supposed to last until 2020. Gov. Phil Bryant will have 10 days from the time Cochran formally resigns to appoint someone to fill the seat.
Bryant released the following statement about Cochran’s pending resignation:
“Today, one of Mississippi’s greatest public servants shared with me his plans to retire. Sen. Thad Cochran’s service ushered in an era of unprecedented influence for our state and will benefit generations to come. He was a leader in Washington and a powerful advocate for every Mississippian. I will always be grateful to Sen. Cochran for his friendship and support during my time of service. Deborah and I wish him and Kay the very best as they begin this new chapter.”
Lt. Governor Tate Reeves released a statement saying:
“Senator Cochran’s service to our nation has made the lives of Mississippians better, and his support of our military has made America safer. He fought relentlessly for Mississippi from helping our farmers get their crops to market to fighting for our citizens after Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the state. He earned and maintained the respect of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle even though he never shied away from a battle to protect his beloved state. Elee and I wish Senator Cochran and his family well as they enter this new chapter.”
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released the following statement regarding Senator Thad Cochran’s retirement announcement:
“Today, the Senate learned that one of our longest-serving colleagues, Senator Thad Cochran, will retire on April 1st to focus on his health and enjoy more time with his family. Thad’s well-earned reputation as a ‘quiet persuader’ has endeared him to all his colleagues. Whatever the issue at hand, his allies and adversaries have always admired his unfailingly even keel, sober expertise, and respectful demeanor.
Thad knows there’s a big difference between making a fuss and making a difference. And the people of Mississippi—and our whole nation—have benefited from his steady determination to do the latter. Senator Cochran’s talents made him chairman of the Appropriations Committee. At this key post, his calm and collegial approach to even the most intense debates have made his broad experience and deep expertise that much more valuable to his colleagues, his constituents, and his country.
His friends here in the Senate are sad to see him leave us. But the Senator leaves behind an outstanding legacy of standing up for all of his constituents – from farmers to historically black colleges and universities to Gulf Coast communities that were reeling after Hurricane Katrina. Senator Cochran departs with our congratulations and gratitude for so many years of honorable and distinguished service, from his time as a Navy officer to nearly four decades in the Senate, and our warmest wishes for his retirement.”