SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - After serving four decades in the Senate representing the people of Mississippi, Senator Thad Cochran is stepping down, citing health issues. He leaves as the 10th-longest-serving U.S. senator ever.
"I applaud him for what he has done and I thank him for what he has done," said longtime Republican and coast businessman Dave Dennis. "I wish he'd stay a little longer, but I think every person in the State of Mississippi has benefited from what he his leadership. Every person."
Dennis remembers Senator Cochran walking the streets of the coast in the days after Hurricane Katrina with President Bush and others working to figure out how to help the Gulf Coast recover. Back in Washington, Dennis said Cochran got the job done.
"Senator Cochran is one of the authors of the Go legislation, which had a lot to do with how the Coast was able to initiate its recovery
and its renewal and its rebuilding," said Dennis.
In the halls of the Capitol, Cochran is known as "The Quiet Persuader", a reputation that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said has endeared
him to his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Former Gulfport Mayor George Schloegel said Cochran's strength has been derived from
the people he chose to serve with him.
"He had probably the most diversified staff that we've ever had in the Senate or in Congress. I'm talking about African Americans, females.
Very capable people," said Schloegel.
Harrison County GOP leader Wayne Tisdale said Cochran is irreplaceable.
"Whoever goes up to Washington and is elected to replace him in Washington will have a long road before they get to the position that Thad Cochran's in. As far as who's going to run, I don't have any idea at this point," said Tisdale.