Thad Cochran

113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Thad Cochran


Biographical Information

Thad Cochran was born December 7, 1937, in Pontotoc, Mississippi. He is the son of William Holmes Cochran and Emma Grace Cochran, who were educators in Pontotoc, Tippah, and Hinds Counties.

Cochran was strongly influenced by his parents’ careers in education. He and his brother, Nielson, were immersed in academic environments even at young ages. They spent summers at the University of Mississippi as their parents earned Masters Degrees, and also lived at Blue Mountain College where their parents were members of the faculty.

In 1946, the Cochrans moved to the Byram community of Hinds County near Jackson. There was much time devoted to sports, music, the Boy Scouts, and church activities. Thad became an Eagle Scout and helped establish a new scout troop at Spring Ridge Methodist Church. He served as its first Junior Assistant Scout Master.

At Byram High School, Cochran earned varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball, and tennis. He gave a piano and voice recital his senior year and was class valedictorian. He was also a member of the 4-H Club and Daniel Memorial Baptist Church.

During junior and senior high school, Cochran worked in a variety of after school and weekend jobs. His first regular job was at Gunn’s Dairy Bar where he was a “car hop.” He clerked at Nicholson’s Grocery store, cleared right-of-way for Deviney Construction Company, and helped his father and brother on the family’s cattle farm near Utica.In 1955, Thad enrolled in the school of liberal arts at the University of Mississippi. He earned a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in political science.

In 1972, Cochran was elected United States Congressman for the Fourth District which included twelve counties in southwest Mississippi. He was appointed to the Public Works and Transportation Committee, which had jurisdiction over economic development, transportation, and flood control.

As a Member of Congress, Cochran also served on a Republican task force to study the energy crisis, and he contributed to the writing of a report that was published in book form by the House Republican Conference. He was appointed later to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and the Select Committee on Ethics which wrote a new ethics code for Members of Congress.

After winning re-election to the House in 1974, Cochran was elected by his colleagues to represent the southern states on the House Republican Policy Committee. He was re-elected to the House of Representatives again in 1976. In both of his races for re-election, he received over 70 percent of the votes.

In 1978, Cochran was elected to the United States Senate, becoming the first Republican in more than 100 years to win a statewide election in Mississippi. He has since been re-elected six times and is currently serving his seventh term in office.

Cochran is a member of Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. He married Rose Clayton in 1964. She passed away in 2014 after a lengthy illness. They  have two children and three grandchildren. In 2015, Cochran married Kay Bowen Webber.