Senator Thad Cochran announces his retirement - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Senator Thad Cochran announces his retirement

Thad Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978. As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Senator Cochran has steered many projects and resources into Mississippi. Source: U.S. Senate Thad Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978. As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Senator Cochran has steered many projects and resources into Mississippi. Source: U.S. Senate
Thad Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978. As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Senator Cochran has steered many projects and resources into Mississippi. Source: U.S. Senate Thad Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978. As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Senator Cochran has steered many projects and resources into Mississippi. Source: U.S. Senate
Thad Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978. As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Senator Cochran has steered many projects and resources into Mississippi. Source: U.S. Senate Thad Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978. As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Senator Cochran has steered many projects and resources into Mississippi. Source: U.S. Senate
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -

Thad Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978. As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Senator Cochran has steered many projects and resources into Mississippi.

It's a powerful position that has put this state in prime position for grants, federal programs and economic development.

Senator Cochran is called The Quiet Persuader. For months there has been speculation about his health problems, prompting this response from Governor Phil Bryant in January.

"I hope that people would pray for his health and longevity," said Governor Bryant. "We need Senator Cochran serving there. He's done a great job over these years.”

He was also recognized by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a year ago for a milestone in his political career.

"Last week the senior Senator from Mississippi became the tenth longest serving Senator in United States history," said McConnell. "With over 38 years of service in this body, Senator Thad Cochran has proven himself to be a leader and a statesman."

In a statement Monday, Senator Cochran said, "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."

READ MORE: Thad Cochran to resign from Senate effective April 1

He also says, "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.

Senator Cochran's resignation is set for April 1.

Former 2nd District Congressman and Agriculture Secretary, Mike Espy announced his intention to run for Senator Cochran’s seat.

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