Mitch McConnell is an American politician currently serving as the senior Senator from the state of Kentucky. McConnell has held the seat in the United States Senate since 1985, and he has held the role of Senate Majority Leader as well as Senate Minority Leader. He is a member of the Republican party.
|Celebrated Name:||Mitch McConnell|
|Real Name/Full Name:||Addison Mitchell McConnell III|
|Birthdate:||February 20, 1942|
|Height:||5 ft. 9 in.|
|Wife/Spouse||Sherrill Redmon (m. 1968 – 1980), Elaine Chao (1993 – present)|
|Children/Kids:||Three daughters (with Sherrill Redmon): Porter, Eleanor (Elly), Claire|
|Is Mitch McConnell Gay?||No|
|Highest Political Office:||United States Senator: Majority Leader (Current Minority Leader)|
|Colleges Attended:||University of Louisville; University of Louisville College of Law|
|Degrees:||Bachelor of Arts, Political Science; Juris Doctor, University of Louisville College of Law|
|Net Worth in 2021:||$35 million|
Biography: Early Life and Family
Addison Mitchell McConnell III was born on February 20, 1942 in Sheffield, Alabama. His parents were A.M. McConnell (Addison Mitchell II) and Julia Odene Shockley McConnell (McConnell’s mother was commonly known as “Dean” among friends and family).
McConnell spent much of his early life in Athens, Alabama. Here, McConnell’s grandfather and great uncle owned the McConnell Funeral Home. Mitch’s father is named after his father’s brother, who was Addison Mitchell McConnell.
McConnell can trace his roots back to an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War; his ancestor fought with one of the many American militia groups that tackled the trained troops of Great Britain.
When McConnell was just two years of age, he was diagnosed with polio. It paralyzed McConnell’s upper left leg. McConnell has discussed the treatment he received at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, and he relates that his family nearly “went broke” due to the exorbitant costs of his treatment. However, he notes that the quick action of his parents likely prevented McConnell’s likely paralysis had he forgone treatment.
When McConnell was eight, his family moved to Augusta, GA. At the time, McConnell’s father was in the Army and he was stationed at Fort Gordon.
Within six years, McConnell’s family was on the move again; this time to Kentucky. McConnell would attend duPont Manual High School, where he was involved in politics even then. McConnell would lead the school during his junior year as the student council president. He would later graduate from duPont Manual High School, and enroll at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
McConnell was an honor student at the University of Louisville. He would graduate in 1964 from the University as Omicron Delta Kappa (a national leadership society which focused on those with honor grades). At the University of Louisville, McConnell studied political science; he received a Bachelor of Arts in this discipline. McConnell would then successfully apply to the University of Louisville College of Law and earn a Juris Doctor degree.
While McConnell was an undergrad, he was active in the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity as well as school politics. He presided over the Student Council of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville. He graduated with honors. When McConnell was enrolled at the College of Law, he served as the president of the Student Bar Association.
Ironically, during this time, he attended school with intention of practicing law. However, after attending multiple civil rights rallies, including the infamous 1963 March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech. The next year, McConnell would intern under Senator John Sherman Cooper. This internship was the catalyst in McConnell’s decision to run for a position as a United States Senator.
Mitch McConnell has been married twice. His first wife, Sherrill Redmon, is also the mother of his three daughters: Porter, Eleanor (nicknamed Elly), and Claire. Sherrill and Mitch married in 1968 but divorced in 1980.
McConnell is currently married to Elaine Chao. They wed in 1993. Elaine is no stranger to politics; she has served as the Secretary of Labor under then-President George W. Bush and also as the Secretary of Transportation in the Trump Administration.
Mitch McConnell identifies as a Christian and is Southern Baptist by denomination. He shares that he was baptized at the age of eight.
McConnell is known to participate in various forms of activism outside of his Senate seat. In 1997, McConnell founded a legal defense fund organization, the James Madison Center for Free Speech. McConnell was assisted in getting the organization off the ground by former Trump-era Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her husband Richard. The focus of the organization was to protect political expression and act as a counterweight to the American Civil Liberties Union’s campaign finance work.
McConnell underwent triple bypass heart surgery in February 2003 as a result of blocked arteries.
Due to his ability to trace his ancestral roots to the American Revolutionary War, McConnell was inducted into the genealogy group Sons of the American Revolution in 2013.
McConnell is a member of the Board of Selectors of Jefferson Awards for Public Service.
Age, Height, and Weight
McConnell is 79 years of age. He is 5’9″ and weighs 154 pounds.
As of 2018, McConnell was ranked by the OpenSecrets website as “one of the wealthiest members of the United States Senate” having a net worth at that time of over $25 million. The website attributed a notable gain in McConnell’s wealth after the death of Elaine Chao’s mother. McConnell’s father-in-law, James S.C. Chao had given the McConnell’s a gift upon Mrs. Chao’s passing valued at between $5 million and $25 million.
The gift was an inheritance from the Chao family. McConnell’s wife Elaine was a member of the family who ran the Foremost Group. This is a shipping company that owns and operates a fleet of thirty-three ships. To date, Elaine’s younger sister is the CEO of the family.
Today, McConnell and his wife have an estimated net worth of $35 million. McConnell is one of the longest serving Senators, and his wife Elaine has also had a successful career in politics.
McConnell has been voted one of the top influential people by Time magazine.
Career Outside of Politics
McConnell has spent most of his life in politics. He studied law and earned all requirements to practice law. He did work as a legal advisor in some political campaigns, but he only briefly worked privately practicing law. He worked at a Louisville law firm for a few years (Segal, Isenberg, Sales, and Stewart); he also served as an adjunct professor, teaching a night class on political science at his alma mater, the University of Louisville.
Career in Politics
Although McConnell was at risk of being drafted during the Vietnam War, he never served. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve, which has been a point of contention over the years for his political opponents. At the time, those in Reserve units rarely saw combat. However, McConnell would soon prove unfit to serve at any rate. He reported for training at Fort Knox on July 9, 1967, and, by mid-August, McConnell had been diagnosed with optic neuritis. This ultimately led to an honorable discharge due to his eyesight.
Between 1968 and 1970, McConnell was a chief legislative assistant to Senator Marlow Cook. His responsibilities at this position included speech writing as well as constituent services.
In 1970, McConnell returned to his home state of Kentucky to work on the ultimately unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign of Tom Emberton. McConnell decided to run for a spot in the Kentucky legislature, but he was soon disqualified from the race as he did not meet the residency requirements from the position.
In 1974, McConnell would become an Assistant Attorney General as a part of the Ford Administration. Some of his contemporaries at this time included the late Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork.
McConnell won his first political office as a Jefferson County (Kentucky) judge. He would maintain this position between 1977 – 1984.
McConnell was first elected to his current Senate seat in 1984, and he took office in 1985. He was originally reputed as a pragmatic, more moderate Republican; over time, most have begun to paint McConnell as a hard-right Conservative. Some have called McConnell an “obstructionist.”
McConnell has served as the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a group committed to filling any open Senate seats with Republicans. McConnell historically voted to impeach Bill Clinton on February 12, 1999. He has served as the Majority Whip in the Senate as well as the Senate Majority Leader and the Senate Minority Leader.
McConnell is the longest serving Senator from the state of Kentucky. Currently, Rand Paul is the junior Senator from the Bluegrass State. He is only the second Kentuckian to serve in the position of party leader in the Senate (his predecessor from Kentucky was Alben W. Barkley).
The Obama Administration saw much head-to-head combat between Senator McConnell and the President. McConnell has been quoted as promoting a “one-term presidency” for Obama, which did not come to pass. McConnell gained a reputation as an obstructionist chiefly during the Obama years; he is noted for his blocking of Senate votes over raising the debt ceiling, the Affordable Healthcare Act, and economic stimulus packages.