U.S. Senators pay tribute to retiring Senator Thad Cochran

U.S. Senators pay tribute to retiring Senator Thad Cochran
(Photo Source: WLOX)

An end of an era is coming soon in the nation's capital.

Senators paid tribute to Sen. Thad Cochran who leaves office on April 1, as the longest serving current member of Congress.

"I'm optimistic about the future of our great nation," said Cochran.

Speaking on the Senate floor where he's served since 1978 Thad Cochran's remarks were brief. One by one, for more than an hour, his colleagues saluted his work.

"Every single one of us has been treated to a first rate example of honorable service," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Cochran and Vermont's Patrick Leahy are the longest serving members of the Senate. The two worked closely on a number of bills."Thad has stood by his values, he brings substance, not sound bites to the upper chamber," Sen. Leahy said. 

The work Cochran did after Hurricane Katrina, reaching across the aisle to help rebuild the Coast was saluted.

"I remember after Katrina with the devastation. Thad came over to me and talked to me about the needs for so much, including a a rail line that was somewhat controversial in the southern part of his state. He really convinced me that it was desperately needed and I voted for it," said Sen. Chuck Schumer. 

For the last 11 years, Cochran has been joined in the Senate by Mississippi's Roger Wicker, who said the impacts of Cochran's service will be felt in the state for years to come.

"What abides is the legacy that he's left of being a quiet persuader, of being a person of accomplishment, of being a gentleman who has made this country and its citizens better off," Sen. Wicker said.

On Thursday, Sen. Thad Cochran's office released the following farewell statement which was submitted to the Congressional record:

Mr. President, I appreciate the opportunity to express my deep gratitude for the honor given to me by the people of Mississippi to represent them in Washington.

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