• Keyden Smith-Herold

Remembering the Remarkable Lives of Senators Richard Lugar and Thad Cochran

United States Senators Thad Cochran (Left) and Richard Lugar (Right) | Photo: Douglas Graham, Roll Call

Recently, the United States has lost two remarkable men of public service. Former U.S. Senator from Indiana Richard Lugar passed away on April 28th, 2019 at the age of 87. Just yesterday, former U.S. Senator from Mississippi Thad Cochran passed away at the age of 81.

Senator Richard Lugar

Richard Lugar Official Senate Portrait

Senator Lugar was born on April 4th, 1932 in Indianapolis, Indiana. While growing up, he attended the public-school system in his hometown. Shortly after gaining the rank of Eagle Scout, he graduated first in his class from Shortridge High School. Four years later, he once again graduated first in his class from Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

Lugar then went on as a Rhodes Scholar to study at The University of Oxford’s Pembroke College in the United Kingdom. He graduated in 1956 with both a Bachelor and Master of Arts degree in politics, philosophy, and economics.

Later that year, he married Charlene Smeltzer. The two went on to have four sons and thirteen grandchildren. From 1957-1960, Lugar served in the U.S. Navy, ultimately becoming an intelligence briefer for Adm. Arleigh Burke, the chief of Naval operations. From 1968 to 1975, he served as the mayor of Indianapolis, where he helped to make the city an economic powerhouse on the national stage.

In 1976, he was elected to the U.S. Senate where he would become the longest serving Senator from the state of Indiana. Throughout his 36 years in the upper chamber, he would serve as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (‘85-’86) and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

Additionally, much of his work in the Senate included increasing “U.S. efforts to improve global food security and domestic nutrition, and he was a champion for effective foreign assistance programs.”

On April 19th, 1995, Lugar officially announced his bid for the White House. He eventually dropped out of the Republican primaries, due to low support.

In 2000, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the Nunn-Lugar act (1991) which attempted to reduce the amount of Soviet nuclear weapons and other tools of mass destruction.

A few years later in 2009, he authored the Lugar-Casey Global Food Security bill which “sought to make long-term global agricultural productivity and rural development a top U.S. development priority”.

Shortly after losing his primary bid for a seventh term, Sen. Lugar was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. He is a man known to have worked effectively on both sides of the aisle and was a champion of the people. His advice for life is greatly important: "Be honest. Maintain your integrity. Tell the truth."

Senator Thad Cochran

Thad Cochran Official Senate Portrait

Thad Cochran was born on December 7th, 1937 in Pontotoc, Mississippi. While growing up, Cochran gained the rank of Eagle Scout and soon graduated as a valedictorian from Byram High School close to Jackson, MS.

He went on to receive a bachelor’s in psychology and a minor in Political Science from the University of Mississippi in 1959. After graduation, Cochran served two years in the U.S. Navy, and then received his law degree (J.D.) from his undergraduate school in 1965.

In 1972, Cochran ran as a Republican to fill Democratic Rep. Charles H. Griffin’s seat in the House. He won and served in the lower chamber from 1973-1978. In order to relax and wind down while in the House, he often played the piano in his office, earning the nickname “Gentleman Thad”.

In 1978, Democratic six-term Senator James Eastland retired, making his seat vacant. Cochran ran for his seat and won, making him the first Republican Mississippi Senator since Reconstruction.

Throughout his time in the upper chamber (1978-2018), Cochran served as the Chairman of both the Senate Appropriations Committee, and its Subcommittee on Defense. He also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ethics Committee, the Labor and Human Resources Committee, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.

He also led the cause to allocate more than $87 billion in federal assistance to the Gulf Coast states (including Mississippi) severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. After the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010, Cochran helped create the ‘RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act’, which allocated resources to create recovery programs for the Gulf Coast States.

Senator Cochran was a strong and principled conservative, always fighting for traditional values and morals. However, he was able to reach across the aisle when need be. We as Americans should remember his words about our great country: “We have to make sure that we are a force for peace and stability in the world, and that we're prepared to defend freedom and the security of the American people.”


Keyden Smith-Herold is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Analytical. Contact him: info@dailyanalytical.com