Path to Power
The only child of Morris "Mo" Udall and Patricia "Sam" Emery Udall, Mark Udall was born on July 18, 1950, in Tucson, Arizona. His childhood living room was no stranger to political heavy weights like then-Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who, along with his father and uncle, gave Udall an early schooling in politics. But when his parents divorced in the early 1960s, Udall began to see less of his father.
That changed in 1974 when Udall, a recent graduate from Williams with a B.A. in American civilization, went to work as a field director in New Hampshire for his father's 1976 presidential campaign. Udall moved to Colorado in 1975, taking up a series of odd jobs before beginning work with Outward Bound, a non-profit "offering adventure based, experiential education summer programs for teens." In 1985, Udall would become the executive director of that group, a post he held for 10 years.
Udall is a Westerner both in recreation and politics. An accomplished mountain climber and all around outdoorsmen, he focuses much of his political energy on environmental and energy issues along with national security and the economy.
A well-known liberal, Udall rarely breaks with Democratic leadership, voting with his party 92.9 percent of the time in the 111th Congress. But he has shown an independent streak when it comes to matters important to Colorado; he joined only 35 other House Democrats in voting for a 2005 bill aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration.
With his own position in a powerful political family, perhaps it's no surprise that Udall counts among his closest allies brothers soon-to-be ex- Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.) and Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.). Udall and John Salazar both voted against the bailout and then joined together to campaign for a new $150 billion economic stimulus package in October.
He's joined with John's brother Ken to support a long-term energy plan set forth by a group of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate - the Gang of 10.