Cindy Hyde-Smith was appointed by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by long-time Senator Thad Cochran, who resigned in April 2018. She took the oath of office on April 9, 2018. With her selection, Hyde-Smith became the first woman to represent Mississippi in Washington, D.C. Prior to her selection, Hyde-Smith was elected to the Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce in 2011. She easily won reelection to that position in 2015.
Before leading the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, Hyde-Smith served 12 years in the Mississippi State Senate, including eight years as chairman of the Agriculture Committee. As a legislator, Hyde-Smith championed policies to promote and protect all facets of the agriculture industry. She fought to protect private property rights, supported tort reform, and earned respect for her advocacy of conservative budget and pro-business initiatives. She has a strong social conservative voting record, and a 100 percent pro-life rating. Hyde-Smith is a lifetime member of the NRA.
As Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, Hyde-Smith worked to ensure fairness and equity in the marketplace and protect Mississippians through sound regulatory practices. She successfully streamlined government regulations to ease the financial burden on Mississippi farmers and small businesses. Her tenure was also highlighted by her efforts to reopen Chinese markets for American beef exports, advocate for country-of-origin food labeling, and ensure the USDA food safety standards for imported catfish. Under her leadership, the agency has been recognized as a “model agency” in terms of effectiveness and budget control. Hyde-Smith held agency spending below 1 percent growth her entire tenure.
Hyde-Smith previously received numerous awards and honors for her work as a legislator and champion of agriculture, including the highest grade for a strong pro-business and fiscally conservative voting record from the Business and Industry Political Education Committee. She was recognized by the Governing Institute as a 2017 Women in Government Leadership Program honoree, and has received the Charles Dick Medal of Merit from the Nation Guard Association of the United States.
Additionally, Hyde-Smith has received the Agriculture Legislator of the Year Award from the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts, the Ambassador Award from the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, the Achievement Award from Delta Council, and the Outstanding Service to Small Farmers Award from Alcorn State University.
Hyde-Smith is a graduate of Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi, and maintains close affiliations with the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, Lincoln County Forestry Association, Lincoln County Livestock Association, and the Mississippi Nursery and Landscape Association.
Hyde-Smith and her husband Mike have a daughter, Anna-Michael. They reside in Brookhaven and are active members of Macedonia Baptist Church. A fifth-generation farming family, the Senator’s family raises beef cattle and are partners in a local stockyard auction market in Brookhaven.