Mark Udall (D-CO-Senator)

Mark Udall Colorado

Mark Udall Biography from

Biography of Senator Mark Udall

The people of Colorado elected Mark Udall to the U.S. Senate in 2008. Prior to that, he represented the state’s 2nd Congressional District for five terms (from 1999-08). He also served one term in the Colorado State Legislature as a member of the General Assembly (1997-99), representing the 13th District, which encompassed the community of Longmont and parts of southern Boulder County.

In the U.S. Senate, Mark serves on four committees: Armed Services, Energy and Natural Resources, the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Special Committee on Aging. Reinforcing his priority of protecting our Western lands, Mark chairs the National Parks Subcommittee of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Mark’s committee assignments give him a platform to address many issues important to Colorado, including national security, energy, the economy, clean energy jobs, and natural resources.

Mark is known for reaching across party lines to solve problems and for his willingness to work with people, including those with whom he has philosophical differences. In 2011, he drew national attention for calling on his colleagues to bridge the partisan divide by sitting together – rather than separated by party – at the President’s State of the Union address. Mark’s inclusive and bipartisan approach has also led to a number of legislative achievements, including bills to reduce wildfire risk and bark-beetle infestation; and legislation promoting the development of Colorado’s aerospace industry, and the clean energy and high technology sectors. Mark led efforts to successfully create the James Peak Wilderness and to pass legislation transforming the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons facility into a wildlife refuge. He’s also championed health care for workers and retirees from the nation’s nuclear weapons complex and consumer protections against abusive and predatory credit card companies.

Mark doesn’t shy away from making difficult decisions in order to put our country’s fiscal house in order. He is an active proponent of smart budgeting tools like pay-as-you-go rules, a presidential line-item veto, a balanced budget amendment, and a ban on earmarks. Mark was one of a small group of senators who pushed for the creation of the president’s commission on reducing the national debt, and he now is helping lead the effort to hold an up-or-down vote on the commission’s recommendations.

Regarded as a national leader on renewable energy, Mark worked to put Colorado at the forefront of sustainable energy development. In 2004, he successfully co-chaired the Amendment 37 campaign to pass Colorado’s first Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), which requires power companies to use more alternative energy sources. In 2007, the House of Representatives twice passed a national renewable electricity standard championed by Mark. He continues his work in the Senate to enact a national RES.

Finally, Mark is also known for his efforts to develop a tough and smart national security strategy. He has led legislative action to strengthen the U.S military, improve national security and protect our service members by reducing the military’s reliance on fossil fuels. Moreover, he has consistently fought for programs to benefit our nation’s veterans, including extending TRICARE benefits to military children and fighting to improve access to health care in rural Colorado.

Mark has received numerous accolades in the media. The Denver Post notes that he has a proven track record of bipartisan accomplishments. The Pueblo Chieftain expresses its appreciation for Mark’s stand for fiscal responsibility, writing, “At last, one Democrat in Congress is standing up for his country rather than his party’s liberal base.” Similarly, The Colorado Springs Gazette notes that in these difficult economic times, “It is comforting to know that Colorado, at least, has a senator who is willing to avoid the partisan game playing that usually defines Washington.” The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel calls him “conscientious,” “highly capable” and “energetic.” Al Lewis of the Dow Jones Newswires applauds Mark and his willingness to tackle America’s most difficult challenges alongside members of both parties.

Mark was born on July 18, 1950, in Tucson, Arizona, but has spent his entire adult life in Colorado. After graduating from Williams College in 1972, he moved to Colorado’s Western Slope and began a long and successful career with the Colorado Outward Bound School as a course director and educator from 1975-85 and as the organization’s executive director from 1985-95. Mark is an avid mountaineer and has climbed or attempted some of the world’s most challenging peaks, including Mt. Everest.

Mark’s family is no stranger to public service. His father, Morris “Mo” Udall, served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years and ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 1976. His uncle, Stewart, was widely revered for his accomplishments while serving as Secretary of the Interior under U.S. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. In 2008, Mark’s cousin, Tom Udall, was elected to the Senate from New Mexico.

Mark and his wife, prominent attorney and conservationist Maggie Fox, have two children: a son Jed and a daughter Tess. They live near Eldorado Springs in Boulder County.


Mark is known for his willingness to elevate the policy debate above partisan politics in order to find workable solutions to difficult political issues. Most recently, he worked across party lines to pass legislation to reduce wildfire risk and bark-beetle infestation in Colorado, and to pass legislation to protect the natural beauty of the Roan Plateau while still allowing some access to the area’s mineral wealth.

Mark is also known for taking leadership in difficult political environments. He voted against the rush to war with Iraq in 2002 and against the PATRIOT Act, despite immense political pressure to support both bills in the wake of September 11. As co-chair of the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, Mark championed efforts to provide government support for the development of sustainable and renewable energy resources before energy resource diversity was widely recognized as an essential component to a sound energy policy.

Throughout his time in public office, Mark has worked hard to promote issues important to Coloradans. He is a member of the Armed Services Committee and has co-authored legislation to strengthen our military and to develop new strategies for combating terrorism. As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, he led efforts to expand and promote Colorado’s place as one of the nation’s leaders in aerospace jobs and technology. Mark has also served on the House Natural Resources Committee, House Small Business Committee, and House Agriculture Committee. He has successfully passed legislation promoting energy conservation, developing bio-mass fuels and protecting Colorado’s wilderness from the effects of climate change. He also is responsible for sparking the clean-up of Rocky Flats—turning the closed nuclear trigger facility into a wildlife refuge.

Mark believes that public service requires a commitment to helping Coloradans make their government work for them. He has a strong record in responding to constituent concerns, and providing assistance to citizens working with government agencies.

Mark lives in Eldorado Springs, Colorado. His wife, Maggie Fox, is a prominent environmental attorney. He has two children, Jed who is a freshman in college, and Tess who is a senior in high school. He is an experienced outdoorsman and mountain climber. He has climbed many of the toughest mountains in the world-including all of Colorado’s “Fourteeners.”

Mark’s family has lived in the West for five generations, and the Udall name has become synonymous with quality public service for 150 years. Mark’s father, Morris “Mo” Udall, played for the Denver Nuggets before serving 30 years in Congress. In 1976, he sought the Democratic nomination for President. Mark’s mother, Patricia “Sam” Udall was a native Coloradan. She was an avid outdoorswoman who instilled in Mark his great sense of adventure and love for the wilderness. In 1977, she won a cross-country women’s flying competition known as the “Powderpuff Derby.” Her father, Roe Emery, was a cowboy-turned-entrepreneur who eventually came to own the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park and was the first concessionaire in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Mark’s uncle, Stewart Udall was a Congressman and served as the Secretary of the Interior under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Stewart’s son, Tom Udall, is New Mexico’s newly-elected U.S. Senator. In southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, the campaign slogan for both Mark and Tom is, “Vote for the Udall nearest you!”

Do you know where you still on the political spectrum? See “Political Beliefs, Where Are You” to find out where you stand.

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