Tom Udall has earned a reputation as a principled leader who has the integrity to do what is right for New Mexico and our nation. Tom began serving as United States Senator in 2009, after two decades of public service as U.S. Representative and New Mexico's State Attorney General. He was re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014, and is now New Mexico's senior senator.
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, New Mexico, 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.
Tom earned his undergraduate degree at Prescott College and obtained a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Cambridge University in 1975. He graduated from the University of New Mexico Law School 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, he also fought for stronger environmental and health protections.
These experiences helped Tom realize he could personally make a difference for the people of New Mexico through elected office. In 1990, Tom was elected New Mexico Attorney General. He made fighting DWI and domestic violence a priority. Working with the Legislature on both sides of the aisle, he pushed for tougher laws against offenders. Tom also fought to protect consumers, especially senior citizens, from rampant telemarketing and other forms of fraud. Additionally, he 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, he 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. While in the House, Tom co-founded the Congressional International Conservation Caucus, which is now the second largest caucus in the U.S. Congress. He serves as the co-chair of the caucus in the Senate.
As a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, Tom has a voice in federal funding for departments, agencies and other programs. With its labs, military bases and public lands, New Mexico has a large federal presence. Tom is committed to defending New Mexico through the appropriations process and to working for a balanced fiscal policy that will address our nation's debt and invest in long-term economic growth.
As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Tom is charged with congressional oversight of U.S. operations and programs beyond our borders, aiming to keep America safe, promote democracy and foster international development and conservation. Tom's work on the Commerce Committee focuses on a variety of issues ranging from greater broadband deployment and consumer protection to oversight and expansion of the nation's communications infrastructure, including in underserved rural communities. On the Indian Affairs Committee, he carries on his longtime mission of responding to the priority concerns of 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, continuing his commitment to a more open, transparent government that can work together to get things done for the American people.
In the Senate, Tom continues to be a strong advocate for the hardworking families of New Mexico, for a clean energy economy and the environment, for affordable and accessible health care, and for our nation's veterans. He has also been a leader in the fight for campaign finance reform and for making government more accountable to the American people, not special interests.
Tom is married to Jill Cooper, who is a former attorney and a long-time advocate for the arts. They have one grown daughter, Amanda, and live in Santa Fe.