Kentucky became the 15th state to join the Union on February 4, 1791. Kentucky’s first two senators, John Brown and John Edwards, took office on June 18, 1792. Kentucky’s longest-serving senators include Wendell Ford (1974-1999) and Mitch McConnell (1985-present). Among those who rose to leadership positions are John Brown and John Pope, both of whom served as the Senate’s president pro tempore, and Alben Barkley and Mitch McConnell, both of whom served as party floor leaders. As vice president, Barkley and John C. Breckinridge became the Senate’s constitutional president, or presiding officer.