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Profile of Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico


Profile of Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico

Photo Courtesy of the Office of Rep. Tom Udall

Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico:

On November 4, 2008, Tom Udall was elected U.S. Senator from New Mexico, taking over the seat vacated by retiring incumbent Republican Sen. Pete Domenici.

He hails from a family famed for strong support of the environment, and is a passionate champion of wilderness areas, wildlife and all pro-environmentalism issues.

Tom will be joined in the Senate by his cousin, Mark Udall, who was elected on the same day as U.S. Senator from Colorado

Tom Udall in the House of Representatives:

Prior to his election to the Senate, Tom Udall was a five-term Congressman from New Mexico, and the former state Attorney General for eight years. Udall voted against the Iraq War in 2002, and urges withdrawal of U.S. troops as soon as practicable.

100% Rating from League of Conservation Voters:

Tom Udall hails from a family with a multi-generational tradition of strong devotion to environmental causes. (See below for more.) As a result, Rep. Udall was rated 97% or better by the League of Conservation Voters for four of his five Congressional terms, and 100% in 2008.

He's an avid supporter of wilderness areas and wildlife, and strongly opposed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas. Udall shepherded through Congress the 2005 Ojito Wilderness Act, which created 11,000 new acres of protected lands in New Mexico.

Tom Udall on the Issues:

Rep. Tom Udall voted NO in 2002 on the Iraq War, and continues to oppose it. He advocates withdrawing U.S. troops as soon as practicable.

Udall counts among his highest legislative priorities as expanding health care services, additional funding for public education, and repealing certain sections of the Patriot act.

Udall's voting record is rated 100% pro-choice by NARAL, and 93% pro-civil rights by the ACLU, 97% pro-affirmative-action by the NAACP and a D- by the NRA. He voted NO on free trade agreements with Singapore, Chile, Peru and Central American nations (CAFTA).

Senate Committees in the 112th Congress, 2011-2012:

  • Foreign Relations Committee
  • Environment & Public Works Committee
  • Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee
  • Indian Affairs Committee
  • Rules & Administration Committee
  • Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • Caucus on International Narcotics Control

Tom Udall before Congress:

  • Law Clerk to Chief Justice Oliver Seth of the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals - 1977 to 1978
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney for New Mexico - 1978 to 1981
  • Chief Counsel to New Mexico Health & Environmental Dep't
  • Miller Law firm, parter (Santa Fe, Albuquerque)
  • Attorney General, State of New Mexico - 1990 to 1998
Tom Udall unsuccessfully ran twice for Congress, in 1982 and 1988, before winning New Mexico's 3rd District seat in 1998. As State Attorney General, Udall antagonized the oil & gas, nuclear and tobacco industries with his pro-environment, pro-public health agenda.

Personal Data:

  • Birth - May 18, 1948 in Tucson, Arizona, one of six children born to Stewart and Ermalee Udall
  • Education - B.A., Prescott College in Arizona, 1970; Bachelor of Law, Cambridge University in Great Britain, 1975; J.D., University of New Mexico, 1977.
  • Family - Married to Jill Cooper, an attorney. One stepdaughter, Amanda Cooper, and her husband, James Noel, head of the state Judicial Standards Commission
  • Faith - Christian. Raised Mormon, but no longer an active member.
Jill Cooper served as secretary of the New Mexico Cultural Affairs Department. Amanda Cooper was deputy campaign manager for Bill Richardson.

Stewart Udall, Father of Tom Udall:

Stewart Udall was a three-term Congressman from Arizona, from 1955 to 1960, and served as Secretary of the Interior under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, from 1961 to 1969. Udall, at Interior, oversaw the enactment of significant U.S. environmental legislation including:
  • Clear Air, Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts and Amendments
  • The Wilderness Act of 1964
  • The Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966
  • The Land and Water Conservation Act of 1965
  • The Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965
  • The National Trail System Act of 1968
  • TheWild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.

Morris Udall, Uncle, and Cousins, Rep. Mark Udall and Sen. Gordon Smith:

Morris Udall (1922-1998), brother of Stewart Udall, served as Congressman from Arizona for 30 years, from 1961 to 1991. Often referred to as a liberal conscience of Congress, Udall was a passionate supporter of environmental causes, and also championed campaign finance reform. He authored the Alaska National Interest Lands Act of 1980.

First cousin, Mark Udall, son of Morris, is a Congressman from Colorado, and is also running for the Senate in 2008. Second cousin Sen. Gordon Smith, is a moderate Republican from Oregon, running for reelection in 2008.

Memorable Quotes:

On the Importance of Environmental Laws

"New Mexico is a state that had very few criminal penalties on the books that dealt with environmental laws before I became attorney general. We've really pushed for having criminal penalties in place dealing with air quality, water quality, hazardous waste.

"I think most people understand that in aggravated environmental abuse we're talking about criminal laws and those people ought to be prosecuted and probably ought to serve some jail time."

---- Interview with the New Mexico Business Journal, October 1993

On Family Ties

"No doubt about it, blood is thicker than water."

---- Per Congressional Quarterly, December 17, 2007

On Public Service

"For me this is about service rather than ambition. We've always had a tradition in our family that goes way back through grandfathers and great grandfathers of fine public service, of serving the public. My grandfather used to say that if we don't have good people in public service the scoundrels will take over and you'll get second class leadership.

"And I always talked to my constituents about that and say, 'This may look unattractive, this public service, but it's very, very important for some of the best and brightest to get into this because we want to have first class leadership all the way from running our country to running our states and local government.' "

---- MyDD interview, December 4, 2007

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