Former US senator, Thad Cochran dead, aged 81

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by Damilola Ismail

Former US senator, Thad Cochran dead at the age of 81. The soft-spoken but powerful Republican who represented Mississippi in Congress for more than four decades has died today, Thursday.

Thad Cochran’s longtime spokesman Chris Gallegos confirmed his death.

“Cochran’s family extends its gratitude for the support shown to the senator by Mississippians over the years,” it said. A cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

Cochran used his influence atop the Appropriations Committee to steer billions to his home state, one of the poorest in the nation, especially after it was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“As Appropriations Chairman, he wielded great influence with abundant grace,” said a statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky.

McConnell added: “Thad will be first remembered as a tireless champion of his fellow Mississippians. He took great pride in keeping promises to the people he represented — ensuring veterans’ access to care, improving educational opportunities, and continuing a record of stellar constituent service for every single Mississippian.”

President Donald Trump tweeted praise of Cochran noting that despite illness he returned to the Senate in 2017 to vote on an Affordable Care Act repeal measure that ultimately failed when former Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona voted against it, stunning the country.

“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!” Trump said.

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Cochran, an Eagle Scout and lawyer, also chaired the Agriculture Committee and was considered widely influential on farm issues.

“He was, without question, one of the most impactful senators in agricultural policy in the last hundred years,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican of Missouri, who also described his former colleague as “a great person to work with and always a gentleman.”

Thad Cochran dead!

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