Chester Trent Lott was born in Grenada, Mississippi, on October 9, 1941, the child of a farmer-turned-shipyard worker and a teacher.
He attended public schools in his hometown of Pascagoula before attending the University of Mississippi. He was elected president of his Sigma Nu fraternity and was a varsity cheerleader, and went to earn both his bachelor's degree in public affairs, in 1963, and his law degree in, 1967, from the univeristy.
After law school, he at first joined a law firm in Pascagoula, but soon took a job on Capitol Hill as an administrative assistant to Democratic Congressman Bill Colmer. He has spent the rest of his career there.
Lott served on Colmer's staff until the congressman retired in 1972, allowing Lott to run for his seat as a Republican. Lott won and Mississippi's 5th district went on to reelect him seven times. For his last four terms in the House, Lott served as minority whip.
He won election to the Senate in 1988 and has been sent back to the Senate twice more by Mississippi voters, in 1994 and 2000, winning his last race with 66 percent of the vote. He attained his first Senate leadership post — that of Republican whip — in 1995, and succeeded Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas as Majority Leader in 1996 when Dole quit to run for president. Lott does his committee work on the Commerce, Science and Transportation; Finance; and Rules and Administration Committees.
Across his entire career, Lott has maintained a very conservative voting record. He holds a rating of 96 percent from the American Conservative Union and 0 percent from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action. During his most recent campaign, the insurance and oil and gas industries donated the most money to Lott.
Lott is a Southern Baptist and a member of the Freemasons, in which he holds the high honor of the Grand Cross. He and his wife, the former Patricia Thompson, still live in Pascagoula. They have two grown children, Chester Trent, Jr. and Tyler Elizabeth.