A prosecutor at heart, Kelly was the first woman to serve as the state's Attorney General. Appointed to that position in 2004 by a Republican governor, she was twice reappointed by a Democratic governor. In her first bid for public office, she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 with 60 percent of the vote. In the Senate, Kelly served on the Armed Services, Budget, Commerce, and Small Business Committees. She served as the Ranking Member - top Republican - on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support.
As Attorney General, Kelly worked with law enforcement officials statewide to protect New Hampshire citizens - helping to distinguish the state as the safest state in the nation. She fought to pass tough new laws cracking down on sexual and Internet predators, particularly those who target children. And strongly committed to honesty in government, she held public officials accountable - regardless of their position or political affiliation.
For successfully leading efforts to secure the first capital murder convictions in the state in over 60 years, the Union Leader newspaper named Ayotte "Citizen of the Year" in 2008. She also has been recognized by Business NH Magazine as one of the ten most powerful leaders in New Hampshire, and New Hampshire Magazine listed her as one of the state's remarkable women. Before Kelly's five years as Attorney General, she held positions as the Deputy Attorney General and the Chief of the Homicide Unit. Among her achievements as the state's top murder prosecutor, she secured convictions for two defendants who had been charged with brutally killing two Dartmouth College professors.
Born in Nashua, Kelly attended public schools there. 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. After completing her legal education, Kelly returned to New Hampshire and served for one year as a law clerk to state Supreme Court Associate Justice Sherman Horton (now retired). She is married to Joe Daley, a Nashua native who flew combat missions during the Iraq war and recently retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Air National Guard. She helped him launch a landscaping and snow removal company, which provides her with a firsthand understanding of how decisions made in Washington impact small businesses.