Mississippi appoints its first-ever female US senator

2018-03-22 15:13

Washington - Mississippi sent a woman to represent the state in the US Congress for the first time ever on Wednesday - and it took an appointment by the southern state's governor to get her there.

When Cindy Hyde-Smith, currently the state's agriculture commissioner, is sworn in as a Republican senator next month, her presence will increase the number of women in the upper chamber of Congress to 23, a new record.

"We made history today," Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said on Twitter in announcing the appointment.

Hyde-Smith, 58, replaces veteran Republican Thad Cochran, who said he will retire due to health issues on April 1 at age 80.

The White House may not be thrilled with the appointment. According to the Clarion Ledger newspaper, sources close to the governor said Bryant spoke with a White House advisor who expressed concern about the appointment.

Hyde-Smith, a former state senator, began her term in the legislature as a Democrat but switched to the Republican Party in 2010.

She will need to run for election in November if she wishes to keep her seat.

The appointment leaves Vermont as the last US state that has never elected or appointed a woman to Congress.

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