05.30.19

Comment Of Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy On The Passing Of Senator Thad Cochran

Thad Cochran was a devoted public servant, a lion of the Senate, and one of my dearest friends. Despite our political differences, I knew Thad held the interests of the people of Mississippi – and the country – close to his heart.

We were close partners through the years on the Agriculture Committee, which we both chaired. Our friendship was a driving force behind our work as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, forging bipartisan agreement in an increasingly partisan Congress.

We visited farms together in Vermont – where he expressed amazement at the cold seasonal temperatures – and in Mississippi, and we led Senate delegations to the Middle East, former Eastern Bloc nations, and other regions. We worked together to champion the Farm To School Act, which connects young children to local agriculture and fresh, healthy food.

Thad described our relationship best in his farewell address: “He and I have fought side by side with each other; and sometimes face to face against each other, always with friendship and respect.”

Thad’s legacy will live on in programs like the Cochran Fellowship Program. He was an American patriot, and a model of what we can be as a Senate and as a country, and I have never had a closer friend in the Senate. Today Marcelle and I are grieving with Kay, his children and his grandchildren. And we will miss our friend dearly.

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