Kelly Ayotte

U.S. Senator (2011–2017); Attorney General of New Hampshire (2004–2009)

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Kelly Ayotte was elected to the Senate in 2010, where she was ranked as one of the most bipartisan senators working across party lines to find solutions to our nation’s biggest challenges. During her tenure in the Senate (2011–2017), Ayotte chaired the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations. She also served on the Senate Armed Services, Budget, Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Aging Committees. Ayotte is currently a senior advisor to Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions as well as a member of the boards of News Corp, Caterpillar, and the ONE Campaign, among others.

Ayotte is a leading voice on national security and was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 50 Republicans on national security affairs in the country. She is a strong advocate for our nation’s military readiness and our service men and women. She worked to pass legislation to improve the acquisition process to provide our troops with the resources they need to defend the nation. She fought for budget certainty, and also opposed defense sequestration and helped lead efforts to end it. As chair of the Readiness Subcommittee, she also led efforts to strengthen the infrastructure and workforce at the nation’s public shipyards.

In her role as a member of the Commerce Committee, Senator Ayotte worked to advance policies to encourage private-sector innovation and job creation. She was instrumental in working to pass the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act to establish public-private institutions that leverage investments in industrially relevant manufacturing technologies. She also helped enact provisions of the Manufacturing Universities Act aimed at boosting manufacturing skills training to meet the workforce needs of the high-tech manufacturing sector.

As an advocate for tax reform to increase America’s competitiveness, Senator Ayotte helped pass proposals to reduce and suspend business taxes, such as the medical device tax and internet taxes, and she supported efforts to rein in burdensome federal regulations that discourage investment and innovation. She worked to advance proposals to strengthen transportation infrastructure, boost small business exports, and expand broadband internet access. She also helped lead the effort to extend the Export-Import Bank, allowing U.S. businesses to compete in a global economy.

As chair of the Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee, Ayotte had oversight responsibilities for the Federal Aviation Administration and the nation’s infrastructure related to civil aviation, as well as domestic aviation security and significant portions of the Transportation Security Administration workforce. She worked to enact the FAA reauthorization bill through 2017.

Having seen the effects of heroin and opiate addiction in New Hampshire and across the country, Senator Ayotte took a lead role in passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a national response to improve prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts to stem the tide of addiction. She also worked to address gaps in our nation’s mental health system by passing legislation to improve mental health first-aid training, suicide prevention programs, and treatment of eating disorders. She was named 2013 “Legislator of the Year” by the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Prior to serving in the United States Senate, Ayotte served as New Hampshire’s first female attorney general from 2004 to 2009. First appointed to that position by a Republican governor, she was twice reappointed by a Democratic governor. During her time as attorney general, Ayotte was New Hampshire’s chief legal and law enforcement officer responsible for overseeing all the state’s civil and criminal matters. She has argued before the United States Supreme Court and on many occasions before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. She successfully led efforts to seek justice for the murder of a police officer in the line of duty, securing the first capital murder convictions in New Hampshire in over 60 years, for which the state’s largest newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader, named her “Citizen of the Year” in 2008.

Before serving as attorney general, she was the deputy attorney general and chief of the Homicide Prosecution Unit, New Hampshire’s top murder prosecutor. She also served as legal counsel to Governor Craig Benson. She began her career as a law clerk to the New Hampshire Supreme Court and as an associate in the litigation department of McLane Middleton, New Hampshire’s largest law firm.

Ayotte graduated with honors in 1990 from Pennsylvania State University and earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1993 from Villanova University School of Law. She is married to Joseph Daley, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, who flew combat missions in Iraq. They live in Nashua, New Hampshire, with their two children, Katherine and Jacob.