Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran resigning April 1

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Republican Thad Cochran of Mississippi, tells The Associated Press he will resign April 1 because of health problems.

The 80-year-old Cochran stayed home for a month last fall with urinary tract infections, returning to Washington in October to give Republicans the majority they needed to pass a budget plan.

Cochran says in a statement Monday that he will fulfill his responsibilities to Mississippi and the Senate “through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle.”

U.S. Senator from Alabama, Richard Shelby, spoke on the resignation of his colleague on Monday.

“Senator Thad Cochran is a good friend and has been an excellent colleague of mine for over three decades.  I wish him and his wife, Kay, well and hope we are able to continue on the wise path he has paved for those governing this great country.  History will reflect Senator Cochran’s legacy of strong leadership throughout an extraordinarily impactful tenure in public office.  He has represented Mississippi with the utmost dignity and respect.”

He was first elected to the Senate in 1978 after serving six years in the House.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint a temporary replacement. Then a special election will be held to fill the rest of the term, through January 2021.