HOUSTON – Senatorial candidate Thad Cochran (R-Miss) stopped in Houston Friday to visit with employees at Franklin Corporation and discussed immigration, events unfolding in the Middle East and the need for Republicans to vote for him this fall.
Cochran was at Franklin for about an hour Thursday and chatted with employees about issues and shook hands at the largest furniture factory in Chickasaw County at more than 1,200 employees.
Cochran was late getting off the bus as he was being updated on President Barack Obama’s announcement that he was seeking military options to combat a growing threat from the Islamic State in Syria.
“We need to be very cautious and make sure what we do serves the nation’s national security interests,” said Cochran. “The first priority – one of my first priorities — is to keep America safe.”
Cochran said American interests abroad often require them to exert force and send service men and women into harms way.
“Sometimes we can work with others and sometimes we can’t,” said Cochran. “We need to look at our options and be consistent.
“Sometimes those decisions make people in this world mad at us,” he added. “That is why Congress and the President need to work together in making those decisions.”
Cochran serves as vice chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and has long record of funding military programs and supporting bases and military contracts with Mississippi businesses.
President Obama also said last week he planned to take steps to improve the U.S. immigration system following a flood of migrant children from central America crossing the U.S. Border with Mexico.
Cochran said the immigration issue may be the most serious and toughest issue the nation faces.
“I do think we need to do something to improve security at the U.S. Border,” said Cochran. “It is one of the biggest and largest unguarded boarders in the world.
“Our border patrol and immigration officers do a good job, but more needs to be done,” Cochran added. “I will add that I don’t think we have the total numbers on this issue, how it affects us economically and how it affects social services.”
Cochran faces Democrat Travis Childers of Booneville and perennial candidate Shawn O’Hara, who is running on the Reform Party ticket, for the Nov. 4 U.S. Senate ballot.
Cochran narrowly defeated Republican challenger and Tea Party favorite State Sen. Chris McDaniel in the June 24 party primary and said Thursday the party needs to unite in November.
“You can depend on me to do the right thing,” Cochran said. “We need to do the things that will help our economy recover and make our nation safer.”
Cochran’s campaign bus stopped in Houston as part of a sweep of the state that started early last week on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and worked its way to Northeast Mississippi this past weekend. The campaign swing saw eight stops Thursday, with a trip to the Mississippi State/Southern Mississippi football game in Starkville on Saturday.
Cochran, 76, was born in Pontotoc and graduated from Ole Miss in 1959 and entered the Navy. He graduated from the School of Law at the University of Mississippi in 1961 and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972. In 1978 he was elected to the U.S. Senate and has served as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference; chairman of the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; and chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
Cochran is a member of Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson. He and his wife Rose have two children and three grandchildren.