Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. (born February 20, 1942) is the senior United States Senator from Kentucky. He was chosen by his Republican colleagues as the Minority Leader in November 2006, making him the top-ranking Republican in the 110th Congress, which convened January 3, 2007. He is an advocate of conservative principles, receiving a perfect score from the American Conservative Union in 2006. McConnell won re-election in 2008 against Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford.
McConnell was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama to Julia (née Shockley) and Addison Mitchell McConnell. His official U.S.
Senate Web site biography omits his Alabama birthplace, stating that he was "Born on February 20, 1942, and raised in south Louisville". McConnell was raised in southern Louisville, Kentucky, where he attended the duPont Manual High School, and in 1964 he graduated with honors from the University of Louisville. He was student body president and a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. He graduated in 1967 from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was elected the president of the Student Bar Association.
Career prior to the Senate
In March 1967, during his final semester of law school, McConnell gained experience on Capitol Hill as an intern under Senator John Sherman Cooper, later as an assistant to Senator Marlow Cook, and was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General under President Gerald R. Ford.
From 1978 until his election to the Senate, he was the Jefferson County Judge/Executive, the top political office in Jefferson County, which includes Louisville.
Allegations of corruption
In its 2009 report, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named McConnell one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress, stating that "Sen. McConnell's ethics issues stem primarily from (1) earmarks he inserted into legislation for clients of his former chief of staff in exchange for campaign contributions and (2) the misuse of his nonprofit McConnell Center for Political Leadership at the University of Louisville." McConnell was also included in the group's report in 2007 and 2008.
McConnell is a member of the Baptist Church. His first wife was Sherrill Redmon, who is now director of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Archives at Smith College; later divorced, they have three daughters, Elly, Claire, and Porter. His second wife, whom he married in 1993, is Elaine Chao, the former Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush.