(The following press release and photo were provided by the Mississippi Governor's office.)
Gov. Phil Bryant announced today that he will appoint Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith to the United States Senate. Commissioner Hyde-Smith will replace Sen. Thad Cochran, who is retiring after nearly 50 years of service to the state of Mississippi.
Commissioner Hyde-Smith’s appointment will be effective on April 2.
“Commissioner Hyde-Smith has worked tirelessly on behalf of the men and women in agriculture, Mississippi’s largest industry and a treasured way of life in our state,” Gov. Bryant said. “Her intellect, compassion, toughness and determination to get things done exemplify everything Mississippi needs in the United States Senate. I know she will continue to faithfully serve every Mississippian in her new role.”
Commissioner Hyde-Smith was elected commissioner of agriculture and commerce by Mississippi voters in November 2011, following a 12-year career as a state senator representing District 39. With her election, Commissioner Hyde-Smith made Mississippi history as the first woman to ever be elected to the statewide position.
“I am truly humbled and honored that Governor Phil Bryant has asked me to serve as your next U.S. Senator. I am eager and excited to get to Washington to begin work on issues that are important to every Mississippian. I am extremely grateful for the work of Senator Thad Cochran. His contributions to the state of Mississippi have been invaluable,” Commissioner Hyde-Smith said.
Elected to the Mississippi State Senate in 1999, Commissioner Hyde-Smith quickly became known as a passionate advocate of farmers and ranchers in Mississippi, serving as chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee for eight years and as an influential member of numerous other committees. She has authored legislation and supported efforts to promote and protect all facets of the agriculture industry, defending private property rights, endorsing right-to-farm legislation, and working to increase country-of-origin labeling requirements.
Commissioner Hyde-Smith successfully advocated for USDA inspection of catfish to ensure food safety and equity in the marketplace and secured funding for investments in infrastructure to generate economic activity. Through her leadership roles as President of the Southern Association of States Departments of Agriculture and the Southern US Trade Association, Commissioner Hyde-Smith has been on the forefront of national and regional issues impacting agriculture. Her service as the Co-chairman of the Agriculture Policy Advisory Council for President Donald Trump has been instrumental in ensuring Mississippi farmers and ranchers a voice during key decision making.
“I hope colleagues will join me in welcoming Cindy Hyde-Smith, who will join us in the Senate in April,” U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said. “Gov. Bryant made an excellent choice to serve the people of Mississippi in the United States Senate. Commissioner Hyde-Smith has had a long outstanding career of public service in Mississippi, first in the state senate and most recently as the first female Commissioner for Agriculture and Commerce. She will also make history here in Washington as Mississippi’s first female U.S. Senator. We’ve got important work to do for the American people and are eager for her to join us here in the Senate.”
Commissioner Hyde-Smith has received numerous awards and honors for her exemplary leadership, including the Distinguished Service Award, Agriculture Legislator of the Year and Agriculture Ambassador of the Year from the Mississippi Farm Bureau and was named a 2017 Women in Leadership Honoree from the Governing Institute.
She is a graduate of Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Commissioner Hyde-Smith and her husband Mike are the proud parents of Anna-Michael, the family’s fifth generation farmer. Together, they raise beef cattle and are partners in Lincoln County Livestock, the local stockyard auction market in Brookhaven, which has held a live cattle auction every Tuesday since 1942. She and her family reside in Brookhaven and are active members of Macedonia Baptist Church.