Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, made his final speech to the Senate Thursday.

Stevens, who was convicted last month of corruption, said he treasured every moment of the 40 years he spent representing Alaska.  

The 85-year-old lawmaker, who received a standing ovation after his speech, said he can envision the day when he will no longer be associated with the events that have tainted his years in office.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid praised Stevens for his seven terms in office, but characterized the recent events involving the lawmaker as "deeply unfortunate."
Stevens conceded Wednesday after results from the November 4 race showed that he was about 3,700 votes behind his Democratic opponent Mark Begich.

Stevens, who turned 85 this week, was convicted of lying about gifts he received from an oil contractor.  He has served in the Senate since 1968.

Stevens' loss moves Senate Democrats within two seats of the 60-seat majority they need to pass bills over Republican procedural hurdles.  Senate races are still undecided in the states of Georgia and Minnesota.

In other Congressional news, House Democrat Harry Waxman, who is known for championing environmental causes, will take over the chairmanship of the powerful House of Representative's Energy and Commerce Committee.

The California democrat won the post in a close vote of 137-to-122.  He will replace John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat who is known for his support of the automotive industry. 

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.