Episode 190. Senator Mitch McConnell – United States Senator (1984-Present) Senate Majority Leader (2015-2021)
Mitch McConnell has served as U.S. Senate majority leader since 2015. He is only the second Kentuckian to serve as majority leader in the Senate; the first, Alben Barkley, led the Democrats from 1937 to 1947.
Mitch has been called “the most conservative leader of either party in the history of the Senate.” He has also earned a reputation as a “master tactician” for permanently locking in critical tax relief for working families and small businesses and putting the most significant spending reduction legislation in a generation. In 2015, TIME Magazine named him one of its 100 Most Influential People.
Since Republicans took charge of the Senate in 2015, Mitch has worked to restore the legislative process by empowering committees and individual senators. As a result, the Senate has attained several significant legislative accomplishments under his leadership: from replacing No Child Left Behind with the most effective K-12 education reforms in years to pass a major overhaul of America’s outdated energy policies to taking action on America’s growing opioid and heroin epidemic. (For more on the Republican Senate’s accomplishments, click HERE.)
Mitch previously served as the Republican Leader in the 110th through 113th Congresses, a position he was unanimously elected to by his colleagues every two years since 2006. He also served as the majority whip during the 108th and 109th Congresses and as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 1998 and 2000 election cycles.
TIME Magazine named him one of the
100 Most Influential People in the World
Mitch is Kentucky’s longest-serving senator. First elected to the Senate in 1984, he made history that year as the only Republican challenger in the country to defeat a Democrat incumbent and as the first Republican to win a statewide Kentucky race in nearly two decades. He was elected to a record sixth term in 2014 with broad support from across the commonwealth, winning 110 of Kentucky’s 120 counties.
He has long been the Senate’s leading voice for increased freedom and reconciliation in Burma and in protecting Americans’ First Amendment rights to free speech here at home.
Mitch currently serves as a senior member of the Appropriations, Agriculture, and Rules Committees.
Before his election to the U.S. Senate, Mitch served as county judge-executive of Kentucky’s Jefferson County, as deputy assistant attorney general to President Gerald Ford, as a chief legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Marlow Cook, and as an intern on Capitol Hill to Senator John Sherman Cooper.
Mitch was born in Sheffield, Alabama, in 1942 and moved to Louisville, Kentucky, with his family at the age of 13. He graduated with honors from the University of Louisville. He is also a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was elected president of the Student Bar Association.
He is the proud father of three daughters.
Mitch McConnell is married to the Honorable Elaine L. Chao, who served for eight years as President George W. Bush’s secretary of labor. Secretary Chao is a former president of the United Way of America and director of the Peace Corps.