Tom Udall became New Mexico’s 17th United States Senator on January 6, 2009 after two decades of public service as U.S. Representative and New Mexico’s State Attorney General. Throughout his career, Tom has earned a reputation as a principled leader who has the integrity to do what is right for New Mexico and our nation.
Born to Stewart and Lee Udall in Tucson, Arizona on May 18, 1948, Tom’s roots in New Mexico are deep. His grandmother Louise Lee was born in Luna, NM during territorial days and was part of a ranching family in what is now Catron County. Her family used to drive cattle down the White Mountains to the railroad in Magdalena.
In 1970, Tom began attending Prescott College in Arizona, where he earned his undergraduate degree. After receiving his Bachelor of Laws Degree from Cambridge University in 1975, Tom chose to make New Mexico his permanent home. He attended University of New Mexico Law School and graduated in 1977. Tom then served as a Law Clerk to Chief Justice Oliver Seth of the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and became a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s criminal division. As Chief Counsel to the New Mexico Department of Health and Environment, Tom also fought for stronger environmental and health protections.
These experiences helped Tom realize he could personally make a difference for New Mexicans through elected office. In 1990, New Mexicans chose Tom as their Attorney General. Elected with broad support, he fought to protect consumers against fraud and fighting for our state’s most vulnerable citizens. He made fighting DWI and domestic violence a priority and working with the Legislature, enacted tougher laws against offenders. He also worked to protect consumers, especially senior citizens, from rampant telemarketing and other forms of fraud. Additionally, Tom made ethics a trademark issue, increasing transparency in government and prosecuting corrupt politicians, even members of his own party. In 1994, Tom was elected to a second term as Attorney General.
In 1998, Tom was elected to represent the 3rd Congressional District of New Mexico in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the House, Tom wrote and passed legislation to establish a national renewable electricity standard, which would spur the creation of good jobs, reinvigorate our economy, and reduce global warming emissions. He has been a champion of expanding preventive health care. He voted against the Iraq War and continues to call for the responsible redeployment of our troops from Iraq. Tom has also consistently championed tougher ethics laws both as Attorney General and in Congress where he voted to create an independent commission to investigate corruption among members of Congress.
A decade later, Tom Udall was elected and sworn in as New Mexico’s junior senator. In the Senate, he serves on four committees, including the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), the Committee on Indian Affairs, and the Committee on Rules and Administration. Tom’s work on the Commerce Committee focuses on a variety of issues ranging from greater broadband deployment and consumer protection to encouraging innovation and promoting science, and oversight and expansion of the nation’s communications infrastructure. In his role on EPW, Tom continues his important work on energy and environmental issues. On the Indian Affairs Committee, he carries on his longtime mission of helping shape the unique matters concerning Native Americans, including economic development, trust responsibilities, land management, Indian education and health programs. Through the Rules Committee, Tom is working to reform government and Congress to better work for the American people, not the special interests.
Tom is married to Jill Cooper and they have one grown daughter. In Tom’s spare time he enjoys tennis, fly-fishing, mountain climbing and staying involved in his community.