Former U.S. House Representative Mike Espy on Monday expressed a "strong intention" to run for a seat in Mississippi after senior Republican Sen. Thad Cochran announced his decision to resign from the post.

The Democrat, who served as secretary of the Department of Agriculture in the cabinet of Bill Clinton, said in a statement, "I just learned of the pending resignation of Sen. Cochran — a person I admire and respect, and who has done so much for Mississippi over his tenure. However, now that he has announced his pending resignation I would like to declare my strong intention to run for the United States Senate (for the Cochran seat)," Mississippi News Now reported.

“It’s been some time since I worked in Washington and I have witnessed with dismay the continuing dysfunction. I have proven that I can work with everyone as long as the goal is a better Mississippi," Espy, who is a private attorney now, said.

Espy served as assistant state attorney general from 1984 to 1985. In December 1986, he was elected to the House of Representatives from Mississippi's second Congressional District, thus becoming the first African-American since Reconstruction to win a congressional seat in the state. He defeated two-term Republican Webb Franklin in the election, the report said.

Espy served in the House of Representatives until 1993 and resigned after he was appointed as the agriculture secretary, a post he held till 1994.

On Aug. 27, 1997, Espy was prosecuted for corruption by independent counsel Donald Smaltz following allegations that he accepted gifts, including sports tickets, lodging, and airfare, from lobbyists. He was later acquitted of all charges.

On Monday, Cochran announced he will resign from the Senate on April 1 owing to health reasons.

"I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge," he said in a statement. "I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle, after which I will formally retire from the U.S. Senate. It has been a great honor to serve the people of Mississippi and our country.  I’ve done my best to make decisions in the best interests of our nation, and my beloved state.  My top concern has always been my constituents in Mississippi.”

He further said, "My hope is by making this announcement now, a smooth transition can be ensured so their voice will continue to be heard in Washington, D.C. My efforts, and those of my staff, to assist them will continue and transfer to my successor."

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant will now choose a temporary replacement to fill Cochran’s seat in the Senate. The election for the seat will be held in November along with the statewide Congressional polls. Though Bryant has not yet named who will be his choice, several names are making the rounds which include Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Bradenton Herald reported.