WASHINGTON (WGHP) — Sen. Richard Burr, of Winston-Salem, said his goodbyes Wednesday from the floor of the United States Senate in Washington, D.C.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Burr thanked the voters of North Carolina who have supported him for 28 years through eight elections and expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve and make a difference for his state and country.

“Thirty years ago, I was a businessman with a happy family in Winston Salem, North Carolina, who decided things in Washington, D.C. weren’t working exactly right,” he said. “So I decided to run for Congress in an effort to help make that change for the better.”

He lost his first race for a U.S. House seat in 1992 before being elected to Congress in 1994.

In 2005, he was elected to the Senate.

“When I decided to run for the Senate, little did I know how grueling the campaign would be,” Burr said. “Running a statewide race against Erskine Bowles was never going to be easy. Erskine had experience, money and a built-in network. I had a lot of energy and determination to win. Our campaign was downright civil compared to what we’ve seen in recent years. And after the election, Erskin and I became lifetime longtime friends.”

He has served on various committees, including as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in which role he led the Senate investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.

“I’d also like to offer my deepest thanks and proud affection for the men and women of the intelligence community,” Burr said. “From the junior analysts to the station chiefs in D.C. and around the world. The thing that has always stood out is their love of country, their commitment to mission to keep American people safe and our country secure. It’s easy to focus on their so-called intelligence failures, which are more actually policy failures, and we don’t get to talk about their successes, but that’s what enables them to keep doing the work they do successfully to keep us safe. It’s a rare opportunity to praise them for a job well done. So, to all of them, thank you.”

In his farewell speech, Burr spoke of the many friends he has made during his time in Congress, and reflected on his time as a member of the 1994 “Class of Change” that helped create a new Republican majority in Congress. He also thanked his family for their love and support over the years.

Burr’s retirement will take effect at the end of his current term in 2023, when Republican Ted Budd will take on the seat after a hard-won battle against Democrat Cheri Beasley.