Sen. Thad Cochran to resign effective April 1

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMC) - Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) announced his intention to resign from the U.S. Senate effective April 1.

Cochran currently serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

He released this statement Monday announcing his resignation:

"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.

Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978, becoming 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 and previously served three terms in House of Representatives.

Cochran's term was supposed to last until 2020. Gov. Phil Bryant will have 10 days from the time Cochran formally resigns to appoint someone to fill the seat.

Bryant released the following statement about Cochran's pending resignation:

"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."

Lt. Governor Tate Reeves released a statement saying:

"Senator Cochran’s service to our nation has made the lives of Mississippians better, and his support of our military has made America safer. 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."

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released the following statement regarding Senator Thad Cochran's retirement announcement:

"Today, the Senate learned that one of our longest-serving colleagues, Senator Thad Cochran, will retire on April 1st to focus on his health and enjoy more time with his family. Thad's well-earned reputation as a 'quiet persuader' has endeared him to all his colleagues. Whatever the issue at hand, his allies and adversaries have always admired his unfailingly even keel, sober expertise, and respectful demeanor.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.