First elected to the Senate in 2010, Kelly has distinguished herself as an independent and pragmatic leader who stands up for the people of New Hampshire and works across party lines to find solutions to our nation's biggest challenges. Ranked as one of the most bipartisan senators, Kelly has been widely recognized for her commitment to finding common ground to solve problems and deliver results.
Kelly currently serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Commerce, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committees. She currently chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations.
A fiscal hawk, Kelly has led the fight to cut wasteful spending and pass common sense budget reforms. She has stood on principle to vote against bloated budget bills that have included money for programs we don't need and can't afford. In addition to her support for a Balanced Budget Amendment and a permanent ban on earmarks, she is an outspoken advocate for accountability and transparency in government, and she has authored numerous legislative proposals to eliminate wasteful, duplicative, or fraudulent federal programs across government. To streamline the Pentagon, she successfully passed legislation in the Senate to save over $1 billion in the Department's budget, and passed a measure to keep U.S. tax dollars out of the hands of America's enemies.
Kelly comes from a military family and is a strong supporter of our men and women in uniform and their families. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, she is a leading voice in Congress on national security issues - and has been named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 50 Republicans on international affairs.
In her capacity as Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, Kelly has been a staunch advocate of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Pease Air National Guard Base, and the New Hampshire National Guard. In a major victory for Pease's 157th Air Refueling Wing, she successfully advocated for Pease to receive the Air Force's next generation refueling tanker - the KC-46A. She has also used her position on the subcommittee to ensure that workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard have a robust workload, as well as the modern facilities they need to ensure the Navy continues to possess the most capable, reliable, and safe attack submarine fleet in the world.
Since arriving in the Senate, Kelly has worked to give New Hampshire veterans more choice when it comes to where they access health care. She worked across the aisle to pass breakthrough legislation that gives veterans the option of seeking treatment from a private provider if they reside in a state without a full-service VA medical facility - such as New Hampshire - and live more than 20 miles from the nearest full-service VA hospital. And to help veterans in the North Country access care closer to home, she successfully pushed for the opening of VA clinics in Colebrook and Berlin.
As the wife of a small business owner, Kelly understands that decisions made in Washington have real consequences for New Hampshire's small business economy. As a member of the Small Business and Commerce Committees, Kelly is a strong voice for lower taxes and a simplified tax code. In addition to her efforts to cut unnecessary Washington red tape, she has cosponsored measures to repeal the medical device tax, improve workforce training, and expand opportunities for New Hampshire's small business exporters. She worked to reauthorize small business innovation research programs and has led the fight to protect New Hampshire's Internet retailers from onerous online sales tax requirements.
Dating back to her service as New Hampshire's attorney general, Kelly has a strong record of standing up to protect the environment. She crossed party lines to vote for federal clean air rules that protect New Hampshire's air and water from harmful out-of-state pollutants and to deploy the best available technology to reduce pollution from energy production. She helped pass the Better Buildings Act to encourage greater energy efficiency in commercial buildings, and she has been a strong supporter of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has helped protect thousands of acres in New Hampshire.
Drawing on her background as a prosecutor, Kelly has led bipartisan efforts to stop domestic violence and sexual assault and better protect victims. She helped pass legislation to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the landmark law aimed at preventing domestic and sexual violence and better supporting victims. She has also worked across party lines to crack down on sexual assault in the military, authoring and passing tough reforms to empower victims and punish perpetrators. And to make college campuses safer, she helped introduce the Campus Safety and Accountability Act, which would better protect students and strengthen accountability and transparency for institutions of higher learning.
Kelly has also earned praise for her bipartisan work to address gaps in our nation's mental health system - introducing legislation that would improve mental health first aid training and enhance suicide prevention programs. In recognition of her leadership, she was named the 2014 Legislator of the Year by the National Council for Behavioral Health. She is also working to find policy solutions that will help address New Hampshire's heroin and prescription drug addiction crisis.
Prior to her election to the Senate, Kelly served as the chief of the state's Homicide Unit and Deputy Attorney General before being named in 2004 as New Hampshire's first female Attorney General. First appointed to that position by a Republican governor, she was twice reappointed by a Democratic governor. During her time as Attorney General, she successfully led efforts to secure the first capital murder convictions in New Hampshire in over 60 years - for which the Union Leader newspaper named Kelly "Citizen of the Year" in 2008.
Kelly attended public schools in Nashua, where she was born. She graduated with honors in 1990 from Pennsylvania State University and earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1993 from the Villanova University School of Law.
She is married to Joe Daley, a Nashua native who flew combat missions during the Iraq war. He retired from the Air National Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel.
Kelly and Joe live in Nashua with their two young children, Katherine and Jacob.