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Sen. Mitch McConnell

U.S. Senate Republican Leader, R-Kentucky

Mitch McConnell is the United States Senate Republican Leader. He is the longest-serving Senate Republican Leader in American history, unanimously elected to lead the conference eight times since 2006.

From 2015-2021, McConnell served as Senate Majority Leader. He is only the second Kentuckian to ever be Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate. The first, Senator Alben Barkley, led the Democrats from 1937-1949.

McConnell previously served in leadership as the Majority Whip in the 108th and 109th Congresses and as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 1998 and 2000 election cycles.

McConnell has been praised in numerous media outlets for his consequential Senate leadership. He’s been called “the most important Republican since Ronald Reagan” and “the most conservative leader of either party in the history of the Senate.” A veteran political commentator titled him as the “most effective floor leader in either party I've ever seen.”

In 2015 and 2019, TIME Magazine named McConnell one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

McConnell led a transformation of the federal judiciary in a victory for the rule of law and the Constitution. His consequential decision to follow precedent and keep a Supreme Court vacancy open during the 2016 presidential election gave him the opportunity to confirm three justices as Majority Leader. In four years, he also prioritized the confirmation of 30% of circuit court judges nationwide and a total of 234 lifetime appointments to the federal bench.

First elected to the Senate in 1984, McConnell is Kentucky’s longest-serving senator. He made history that year as the only Republican challenger in the country to defeat an incumbent Democrat and as the first Republican to win a statewide Kentucky race since 1968. On November 3, 2020, he was elected to a record seventh term, winning 117 of the Commonwealth’s 120 counties.

McConnell graduated with honors from the University of Louisville College of Arts and Sciences, where he served as student body president. He also is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was elected president of the Student Bar Association.

McConnell worked as an intern on Capitol Hill for Senator John Sherman Cooper before serving as chief legislative assistant to Senator Marlow Cook and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General to President Gerald Ford.

Before his election to the Senate, he served as judge-executive of Jefferson County, Kentucky from 1978 until he commenced his Senate term on January 3, 1985.

McConnell currently serves as a senior member of the Appropriations, Agriculture, and Rules Committees. He is the proud father of three daughters.

McConnell is married to Secretary Elaine L. Chao, the 18th U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Previously, Secretary Chao served for eight years as President George W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor. She is also a former president of the United Way of America and director of the Peace Corps.

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The Sedona Forum is the McCain Institute’s annual, high-level gathering of national and international leaders held each spring at the Enchantment Resort in the red rock country of Sedona, Arizona. Starting from the assumption of character-driven leadership and core democratic values, The Sedona Forum convenes thought-leaders, decision makers, activists and diverse experts to discuss approaches and solutions to real-world problems.