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Reaction to the death of former US Sen. Thad Cochran

May 30, 2019
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An American flag flies at half-staff for former Mississippi U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, outside the Thad Cochran United States Courthouse, named in his honor last year, in downtown Jackson, Miss., Thursday, May 30, 2019. Cochran died early Thursday morning, in Oxford, according to his former congressional office. He was 81. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
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An American flag flies at half-staff for former Mississippi U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, outside the Thad Cochran United States Courthouse, named in his honor last year, in downtown Jackson, Miss., Thursday, May 30, 2019. Cochran died early Thursday morning, in Oxford, according to his former congressional office. He was 81. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Reaction to the death of longtime Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi:

REPUBLICAN FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:

“Laura and I are saddened that Thad Cochran has moved on. He was a gentleman Senator. He was a patriot who represented Mississippians with class and honor. Thad served our country for more than 50 years in the Navy, the House, and the Senate, and he did so ably and amiably. Laura and I are grateful for Thad Cochran’s life and friendship, and we send our condolences to his family and the people of Mississippi.”

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, ON TWITTER:

“Very sad to hear the news on the passing of my friend, Senator Thad Cochran. He was a real Senator with incredible values — even flew back to Senate from Mississippi for important Healthcare Vote when he was desperately ill. Thad never let our Country (or me) down!”

REPUBLICAN MISSISSIPPI GOV. PHIL BRYANT:

“He was one of our longest serving senators, 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.”

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT MARK E. KEENUM, COCHRAN’S FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF:

“He was truly a statesman and a man of the highest integrity. He provided extraordinary leadership and walked with giants, yet remained humble and true to his Mississippi roots. ... He taught me how to respect people, how to listen, how to make decisions based on facts and then to move forward.”

REPUBLICAN U.S. SEN. ROGER WICKER OF MISSISSIPPI:

“The American economy is experiencing historic growth today in no small part because of the foundations laid by Thad Cochran. Our nation’s military is stronger, groundbreaking federal research continues to advance, our citizens are healthier, and rural and agricultural communities from the Mississippi Delta all across this country are more vibrant.”

REPUBLICAN U.S. SEN. CINDY HYDE-SMITH OF MISSISSIPPI, COCHRAN’S SUCCESSOR:

“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. ... 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.”

DEMOCRATIC U.S. SEN. PATRICK LEAHY OF VERMONT, VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE:

“We were close partners through the years on the Agriculture Committee, which we both chaired. Our friendship was a driving force behind our work as chairman and vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, forging bipartisan agreement in an increasingly partisan Congress. ... Thad described our relationship best in his farewell address: ‘He and I have fought side by side with each other; and sometimes face to face against each other, always with friendship and respect.’”

REPUBLICAN U.S. SEN. RICHARD SHELBY OF ALABAMA, CURRENT CHAIRMAN OF THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE:

“Today we lost a great legislator, Senator Thad Cochran, the last true southern gentleman and a loyal patriot. Thad was a colleague of mine for over three decades in the Senate, and I am honored to say he was also a close personal friend. I will always fondly remember the years we spent working together. He served our nation with the utmost dignity and respect. Not only was he one of the leading pioneers of the Republican Party within his state, but he was a true hero to the people of Mississippi.”

DEMOCRATIC U.S. REP. BENNIE THOMPSON OF MISSISSIPPI:

“He was an excellent public servant who understood the necessity of diversity and inclusion. Cochran’s talents will be missed by all Mississippians.”

FORMER U.S. REP. GREGG HARPER, A MISSISSIPPI REPUBLICAN:

“He was the greatest ambassador for Mississippi that I have ever known. ... He taught me the importance of working in a bipartisan manner if you wanted to accomplish great things. He was my friend and mentor, and he made me a better member of Congress.”

REPUBLICAN U.S. REP MICHAEL GUEST OF MISSISSIPPI:

“Mississippi benefited greatly from Sen. Cochran’s leadership as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and his legislative abilities. We will continue to enjoy the benefits of his tenure for generations to come.”

REPUBLICAN U.S. REP. TRENT KELLY OF MISSISSIPPI:

“Sen. Cochran distinguished himself in service to our nation as a member of the United States Navy and as a U.S. representative and U.S. senator. He served our great state of Mississippi and exemplified what it means to be a faithful public servant and impactful leader.”

REPUBLICAN U.S. REP. STEVEN PALAZZO OF MISSISSIPPI:

“Sen. Cochran never forgot where he came from. The State of Mississippi remained his priority. When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Sen. Cochran made sure we received the disaster relief needed to rebuild.”

REPUBLICAN MISSISSIPPI LT. GOV. TATE REEVES:

“Anyone who had the privilege of spending time with him knows that his wit and wisdom were unmatched. ... He is at the same time a legend and a truly decent, good man — rare in our line of work.”

REPUBLICAN MISSISSIPPI SECRETARY OF STATE DELBERT HOSEMANN:

“His life’s work is imprinted on each of us through his leadership in education, agriculture, hurricane relief, and his calm approach to the major issues impacting our state and our country.”

REPUBLICAN MISSISSIPPI INSURANCE COMMISSIONER MIKE CHANEY:

“His passing is the end of an era.”

MISSISSIPPI REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN LUCIEN SMITH:

“Our state has lost a giant but has gained so much through his years in public service. ... He worked diligently, never seeking recognition for his efforts yet earning it despite his humility.”

REPUBLICAN STATE SEN. CHRIS McDANIEL, FORMER POLITICAL ADVERSARY:

“I grew up admiring him as a towering political figure and a gentleman. Although our political differences became apparent, my respect for him remains unchanged. If Heaven has a Senate, I trust Mississippi now holds a key chairmanship.”

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