Mitch McConnell is an American politician serving as Kentucky’s senior United States senator and as Senate Majority Leader.
McConnell is the second Kentuckian to lead his party in the Senate, the longest-serving U.S. senator for Kentucky in history, and the longest-serving leader of U.S. Senate Republicans in history.
- Full name: Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr.
- Profession: American politician, United States Senator
- Born: 20 February 1942 (age 78 years), Sheffield, Alabama, United States
- Party: Republican Party
- Previous offices: Jefferson County Judge/Executive (1977–1984), United States Assistant Attorney General (1975–1975)
- Spouse: Elaine Chao (m. 1993), Sherrill Redmon (m. 1968–1980)
- Children: Elly McConnell, Porter McConnell, Claire McConnell
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About Mitch McConnell
McConnell was born on 20 February 1942 in Sheffield, Alabama, United States. To Addison Mitchell McConnell, Sr. (1917-1990) and Julia Odene “Dean” (née Shockley) McConnell (1919-1993).
McConnell was born in Sheffield, Alabama, and grew up in nearby Athens, Alabama.
He is of Scots-Irish and English descent. One of his early ancestors fought on the American side in the American Revolutionary War.
In 1944, at the age of two, McConnell’s upper left leg was paralyzed by a polio attack.
He received treatment at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation.
The treatment potentially saved him from being disabled for the rest of his life. McConnell stated that his family “almost went broke” because of costs related to his illness.
In 1950, when he was eight, McConnell moved with his family from Athens to Augusta, Georgia where his father, who was in the Army, was stationed at Fort Gordon.
In 1956, his family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he attended duPont Manual High School.
McConnell was elected student council president at his high school during his junior year.
He graduated with honours from the University of Louisville with a B.A. in political science in 1964.
He was president of the Student Council of the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.
McConnell attended the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the “I Have a Dream” speech.
In 1964, at the age of 22, he interned with Senator John Sherman Cooper. He has stated his time with Cooper inspired him to run for the Senate later in life.
In 1967, McConnell graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was president of the Student Bar Association.
In March 1967, shortly before the expiration of his educational draft deferment upon graduation from law school, McConnell enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve as a private at Louisville, Kentucky.
This was a coveted position because the Reserve units were mostly kept out of combat during the Vietnam War.
His first day of training at Fort Knox, Kentucky was July 9, 1967, two days after taking the bar exam, and his last day was August 15, 1967.
Shortly after his arrival, he was diagnosed with optic neuritis and was deemed medically unfit for military service.
After five weeks at Fort Knox, he was honourably discharged. His brief time in service has repeatedly been put at issue by his political opponents during his electoral campaigns.
From 1968 to 1970, McConnell worked as an aide to Senator Marlow Cook in Washington, D.C., managing a legislative department consisting of five members as well as assisting with speech writing and constituent services.
In 1971, McConnell returned from Washington, D.C., to Louisville, KY where he worked for Tom Emberton’s candidacy for Governor of Kentucky, which was unsuccessful.
McConnell attempted to run for a seat in the state legislature but was disqualified because he did not meet the residency requirements for the office.
He then went to work for a law firm for a few years. During the same time period, he taught a night class on political science at the University of Louisville.
In October 1974, McConnell returned to Washington, D.C. to fill a position as Deputy Assistant Attorney General under President Gerald R.
Ford, where he worked alongside Robert Bork, Laurence Silberman, and Antonin Scalia.
In 1977, McConnell was elected the Jefferson County Judge/Executive, which was the top political office in Jefferson County, Kentucky at the time.
He was re-elected in 1981 and occupied this office until his election to the U.S. Senate in 1984.
McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984 and has been re-elected five times since.
During the 1998 and 2000 election cycles, he was chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
McConnell was elected as Majority Whip in the 108th Congress and was re-elected to the post in 2004.
In November 2006, he was elected Senate Minority Leader; he held that post until 2015, when Republicans took control of the Senate and he became Senate Majority Leader.
McConnell was known as a pragmatist and a moderate Republican early in his political career but shifted to the right over time.
He led opposition to stricter campaign finance laws, culminating in the Supreme Court ruling that partially overturned the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold) in 2009.
During the Obama administration, McConnell worked to withhold Republican support for major presidential initiatives, made frequent use of the filibuster, and blocked many of Obama’s judicial nominees, including Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
Under McConnell’s leadership of the Senate, Obama saw the fewest judicial nominees confirmed in the final two years of a presidency since 1951–52.
During the Trump administration, Senate Republicans, under McConnell’s leadership, broke records on the number of judicial nominees confirmed; among those nominees were Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh who were confirmed to the Supreme Court.
McConnell was included in the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world in 2015.