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Cochran served Mississippi well

Former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran died Thursday after a long life and long career in Washington.

Cochran, who was 81, served seven terms in the Senate. He also served in the House.

Cochran was the first Republican since Reconstruction to win statewide office in Mississippi when he won the Senate seat in 1978.

The senator was not shy about bringing money back to Mississippi, using his seniority to direct billions to his home state. He helped steer more than $100 billion to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

Cochran served as Appropriations Committee chairman multiple times, and used the position to benefit Mississippi. Earmarks may be frowned upon now, but there is no denying Cochran’s use of them resulted in billions for Mississippi that likely would not have ended up here.

Cochran was remembered fondly by friends and colleagues Thursday.

“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,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.

“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,” President Trump wrote on Twitter.

“He was, without question, one of the most impactful senators in agricultural policy in the last hundred years,” said Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said.

“When I became a member of the Senate, Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran was who I watched,” tweeted Georgia GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson. “He taught me and so many others a great deal about effective service in the U.S. Senate.”

Cochran will long be remembered as a champion of Mississippi.