I'm Kelly Ayotte, the newly-elected senator from New Hampshire.
The arrival of a new year brings a renewed sense of optimism and purpose -- an opportunity to take stock of the year just passed while looking forward to the promise of new beginnings.
For Republicans, the start of the 112th Congress on Wednesday will mark the opening of a new chapter for our country and our party. We're keenly aware that the American people are relying on us to change business as usual in Washington -- and we're well-positioned to do just that.
In the House, 87 new Republican members are set to make John Boehner the next Speaker -- putting Republicans in charge of the chamber. And in the Senate, 13 new Republican senators will give us greater say in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The American people sent us to Congress with clear instructions: make government smaller, not bigger. And stop spending money we don't have on programs that aren't working.
It's now our responsibility to carry out the will of the people.
Americans across the country have been taking time to declare their New Year's resolutions. It's an opportunity to clarify goals and make productive plans for the future.
Republicans headed to Washington are participating in a similar exercise. As we prepare to start the hard work of governing, we're doubling our commitment to the principles on which we were elected. These resolutions, reaffirmed at the beginning of a new year, are intended to illuminate the path forward for our country.
Job one is to stop wasteful Washington spending. As the mother of two children, I'm like parents across the country who worry that our nearly $14 trillion debt threatens America's economic future and our children's future.
To ensure generations to come have even more opportunities than we've had, Congress must get serious about meaningful debt reduction.
This isn't a Republican problem or a Democrat problem -- it's an American problem that will require tough decision-making from both parties. Republicans are ready to lead that fight.
Creating the conditions necessary for businesses to add well-paying, sustainable jobs also tops our agenda. With millions of Americans unemployed or underemployed, we must work quickly to jump-start our economy.
The successful Republican effort to prevent any income tax hikes on families and small businesses over the next two years was an important first step.
Coming from a small-business family, I've seen firsthand that risk-taking American entrepreneurs -- not the government -- create good jobs. We need to harness common-sense, pro-growth policies to get our economy moving again. By getting Washington out of the way, we can unleash the American entrepreneurial spirit that has made our country the most innovative in the world.
Finally, and most important, America must remain vigilant in the face of continuing threats from terrorists and rogue states. Just over one year since the Christmas Day bomber's failed attempt to bring down a jetliner, we're reminded that we continue to live in a dangerous world. My husband is an Iraq war veteran and a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard.
As a military spouse, I personally understand the sacrifices that our servicemen and women make to keep us safe. In 2011, we resolve to stand firm with our troops as they continue the war against terrorist networks around the globe.
The challenges we face are great. But so is the resolve of the American people to face these challenges head-on. America is the greatest nation on Earth -- and we must fight to keep alive her promise.
Thank you for listening. Happy New Year and may God bless America.