U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer bid farewell on Wednesday after 24 years in office.
In a speech on the Senate floor, the California Democratic senator spoke about a career devoted to liberal causes like women's rights and the environment. She recalled fondly her friendship and working alliance with Republicans like Sen. Jim Inhofe, a crusty conservative from Oklahoma.
With allies like House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi watching, Boxer recalled accomplishments like after-school programs, setting aside California wilderness lands and last year's highway bill.
She said her retirement wasn’t bittersweet, but was instead just “sweet.”
“I look around this chamber and I realize the reason I’m able to leave is because of each of you and your passion to make life better for people and that’s what it’s all about,” she said.
Also saying goodbye was Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a 40-year veteran of Congress. She is the longest serving woman in the Senate. Over three decades in the chamber, she earned a reputation for determination and for forging odd-couple alliances with Republican men like Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and former Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., and racked up an impressive roster of accomplishments.
Another departure: first-term Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., defeated for re-election last month. She spoke with pride of her work on defense issues and on a recent law to combat opioid addiction.