WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDAM) - After serving in the United States Senate for nearly four decades, Sen. Thad Cochran is stepping down, citing health concerns.
Cochran announced his intent to resign Monday in a news release. His resignation will be effective April 1, 2018.
"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," Cochran said. "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. He is the tenth-longest serving senator in U.S. history. He is chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
According to The Associated Press, Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint a temporary replacement to fill in for Cochran until a special election can be held. Cochran's current term runs through 2021.
Several politicians, including Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, issued statements shortly after Cochran's announcement, wishing him well in his retirement.
"Senator Cochran's service to our nation has made the lives of Mississippians better, and his support of our military has made America safer," Reeves said. "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."