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Cochran announces he will step down April 1st

photo courtesy Telesouth Communications, Inc.

After months of speculation, U.S. Senator Thad Cochran has announced that he will step down, effective April 1st.  His announcement comes just days after the qualifying deadline, meaning Governor Bryant must appoint a temporary replacement.

Many of the rumors surrounding Cochran as of late have centered around the health of the 80-year-old Senator. Cochran addressed his health in his official statement which was released this afternoon, and expressed his hope for a smooth transition.

“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 has served in the Senate since 1978 and became 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. His term in the Senate was proceeded by three terms in the House of Representatives.

Governor Bryant released a statement following Cochran’s announcement and thanked the long-time Senator for his work in Washington on behalf of the state of Mississippi.

“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,” Bryant said.

Cochran currently serves as the chairman of the Senate appropriations committee, where he works closely with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

“Thad knows there’s a big difference between making a fuss and making a difference,” McConnell said. “And the people of Mississippi—and our whole nation—have benefitted 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.”

A special election will be held to elect someone to serve out the remainder of Cochran’s term which is through 2021.

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