After being sworn in as majority leader, Sen. McConnell sat down - WDRB 41 Louisville News

After being sworn in as majority leader, Sen. McConnell sat down with WDRB

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Senator McConnell speaks with WDRB after being sworn in as the Senate Majority Leader. Senator McConnell speaks with WDRB after being sworn in as the Senate Majority Leader.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell is now the majority leader in the U.S. Senate.

McConnell has been working toward becoming majority leader for 30 years. On Jan. 6, 2015, with his wife and children by his side, he was sworn in as the leader of the U.S. Senate by Vice President Joe Biden. 

"I'm grateful for the opportunity I've been given by my Republican colleagues and, obviously, the people of Kentucky to serve them for quite awhile. But really it's not about me, it's about the country and whether or not we can begin to move the country in a different direction." 

Senator McConnell will have a major role in steering that direction and he says he is looking for ways to work with the President.

"I think what the American people say when they elect a divided government is they want us to operate in the political middle and look for things that we agree on," McConnell said.

He also said his first job is to fix a senate that he said was broken by his predecessor, Harry Reid. 

"This is going to be an open and free-wheeling legislative body with a lot of ideas offered and voted on," McConnell said.

Kentucky's Junior Senator Rand Paul said he is counting on that. 

"I take him at his word that he is going to open things up. I think you're gonna see a big change," Sen. Paul said. "I think you're gonna see a night and day difference."

"There's no question that Kentucky benefits mightily from having the person of the hundred of us who sets the agenda," McConnell said. "Regarding Kentucky, the single biggest problem we've had is the war on coal."

It was the sixth time McConnell has been sworn in, but this time he will arguably be the most powerful man on Capitol Hill. Earlier this week, McConnell promised to work with President Obama whenever he can, despite their philosophical differences.

"I heard a lot of discussion about dysfunction in Washington," McConnell said. "I think a lot of people believe that just because you have divided government doesn't mean you don't accomplish anything.

"Both of us came up short," McConnell said. "I had hoped to make him a one-term president, and he had hoped to defeat me last fall. I think what the American people are saying is they want us both to be here, they want us to look for things to agree on and see if we can make some progress for the country."

McConnell is the second Kentuckian to serve as Senate Majority Leader. Democrat Alben Barkley held the job from 1937 to 1947.

The McConnell-led senate has gotten right to work with the first bill filed. That's a bill to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which could be McConnell's first showdown with the President.

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