Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, in her farewell address on the Senate floor, has thanked the people of the state for the "extraordinary opportunity" to serve them.
Ayotte, elected in 2010, was defeated in November by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan in a very close race.
Ayotte spoke Wednesday about issues of great importance to her, including improving services for veterans, strengthening the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, dealing with the "devastating epidemic" of heroin and opioid abuse, opposing plans to empty and close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and focusing on the national debt.
She received tributes from many of her colleagues from both parties for her work on the Armed Services Committee. Fellow New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, praised her dedication to projects such as a new aerial refueling tanker for the state.