At a Glance
- Career History: Senate Majority Whip (2003 to 2007); Chair of the Senate Rules Committee (1999 to 2003); Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (1997 to 2001)
- Birthday: February 20, 1942
- Hometown: Louisville, Ky.
- Alma Mater: University of Louisville, B.A., 1964; University of Kentucky, J.D., 1967
- Spouse: Elaine Chao
- Religion: Baptist
- DC Office: 361-A Russell Senate Office Building, 202-224-2541
- State Office: Bowling Green, 270-781-1673; Ft. Wright, 859-578-0188; Lexington, 859-224-8286; London, 606-864-2026; Louisville, 502-582-6304; Paducah, 270-442-4554
- Web site
Path to Power
Growing up in Alabama before moving to Kentucky when he was 13, McConnell was stricken with polio at the age of 2. His mother took him to the same doctors who were treating Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and learned a physical therapy routine that she administered three times a week. The doctors told her to make sure McConnell didn't walk until he was 4 years old, which saved him from extensive permanent damage.
After serving as student body president in high school and college and class president in law school, McConnell moved to Washington D.C., where he interned for Sen. John Sherman Cooper (R-Ky.) and worked for Sen. Marlow W. Cook (R-Ky.) before being appointed deputy assistant attorney general in the Ford administration.
McConnell is certainly a conservative senator, but he takes pride in being a backroom dealmaker who knows how to compromise. "Mitch McConnell understands the Senate," Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has said.
McConnell keeps the Republican Party in line without ruling with an iron fist, often using filibusters and other tactics to stall legislation Republicans oppose. He voted with the Republican Party 92.2 percent of the time during the 110th Congress.
McConnell is a good friend of President George W. Bush. His wife, Elaine L. Chao, was Bush's Labor secretary. McConnell also works closely with other top Senate GOP leaders like Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).
McConnell's former chief of staff in his leadership office is Kyle Simmons, a former lobbyist and deputy political director in the 2000 Bush presidential campaign. Hunter Bates, McConnell's chief of staff from 1997 to 2002, works for the lobbying firm Bates Capitol Group.