The Idaho Democratic Party is honored to welcome United States Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) as the Keynote Speaker of their flagship event, the Frank & Bethine Church Gala March 14th, 2014 at the Boise Centre in Boise, Idaho.
Tom Udall is the current senior Senator of New Mexico. 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.
Throughout his career, Tom has been a strong advocate for the hardworking families, 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 the special interests.
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 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.
Tom serves on five committees in the United State Senate: Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works (EPW), Indian Affairs, and Rules and Administration.
As a new member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, Tom has a voice in federal funding for departments, agencies and other programs. Like Idaho, New Mexico has a large federal presence with its labs, military bases, agriculture and public lands, and he understand the importance of the programs that support those industries. Tom is committed to working for a balanced fiscal policy that will address our nation’s debt and invest in long-term economic growth.
On 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. He opposed the Iraq War from the start and has been a leading proponent for an accelerated transition in the Afghanistan War to an Afghan-led effort.
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 has consistently pushed for filibuster and campaign finance reform.
Born to Stewart and Lee Udall in Tucson, Arizona, on May 18, 1948, Tom comes from a family known for its commitment to public service and fighting for western values. Tom has many family members that have served as in Congress, as judges, in legislatures and mayors all over the West. His father served in Congress and as the Secretary of the Interior and his cousin, Mark Udall is currently the U.S. Senator for Colorado. His father and his uncle, Mo Udall, both served in Congress with Senator Frank Church.
Tom is married to Jill Cooper and they have one grown daughter. In his spare time he enjoys tennis, fly-fishing, mountain climbing and staying involved in his community.
The 2014 Frank & Bethine Church Gala marks the 20th Anniversary of the event. The Gala kicks off the election season and a weekend full of workshops, other events and camaraderie of Idaho Democrats.