Former Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi passed away on May 30, leaving an impressive conservation legacy in his wake. Sen. Cochran was a devoted public servant who respectfully crossed party lines to advance policies he knew would be beneficial not only for his home state of Mississippi but for the entire United States.
In the early 2000s, Cochran led the Senate Agriculture Committee and championed forest and wetland conservation in multiple farm bills. After two years he left his leadership role in the Agriculture Committee and resumed as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which he presided over from 2005 to 2007 and again in 2015 until 2018 when he resigned.
He was always a fearless leader for Mississippi and his constituents. He coauthored the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act to help Gulf Coast states get resources to restore the health of fish and wildlife habitat and the local outdoor recreation economy after the devastation from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He also did the following:
- Introduced the Mississippi Wilderness Act, which was the first legislation that protected public lands within the state;
- Helped establish national wildlife refuges during his tenure on the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission;
- Developed the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, providing private landowners with technical and financial assistance in enhancing fish and wildlife habitat.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers offers our condolences to former Sen. Cochran’s family and loved ones. His service and leadership on advancing meaningful conservation policies will be long remembered.