MORRIS K. UDALL
Here are the political highlights of Representative Morris K. Udall, (D-AZ) who was born June 15, 1922, in St. Johns:
1950-52 -- Serves as Pima County's chief deputy attorney.
1953-54 -- Serves as Pima County attorney.
1956 -- Delegate for the first time to the Democratic National Convention.
May 2, 1961 -- Elected to Congress from the 2d District, filling a seat vacated by his brother, Stewart Udall, who resigned to join the Kennedy administration as secretary of the interior.
1962 -- Re-elected to a full term. Udall has been re-elected every 2 years since.
1967 -- Becomes the first major House Democrat to speak out against the Vietnam War.
1969 -- Loses bid to become House speaker.
1971 -- Loses bid to become House majority leader.
1973-74 -- Sponsors legislation that creates the Federal Election Commission and establishes public funding for presidential races.
1976 -- Finishes second to Jimmy Carter in the race for the Democratic nomination for president.
1977 -- Becomes chairman of the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee.
October 1979 -- Discloses that he has Parkinson's disease but says it will not affect his ability to serve in Congress.
1980 -- Wins passage of major wilderness legislation.
1984 -- Considers a second presidential run but decides against it.
1987 -- Supports construction of astronomical observatory on Mount Graham. Three years later, Udall will move for a probe of the controversial project.
1988 -- Democrats pay tribute to Udall at their party's national convention.
1989 -- Pushes new wilderness bill.
1990 -- Announces that his run for re-election will be his last.
UDALL WIT, WISDOM, HARD ROAD FOR ARIZONANS
Renowned for his story-telling genius and self-mocking humor, Representative Morris K. Udall once lamented that he, former Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt and former Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona all had lost bids for the presidency.
"Arizona," Udall said, "is the only state where mothers don't tell their children they can grow up to be president."
IT'S BETTER THAN NOTHING
"I am often accused of having a sense of humor," Udall once wrote.
"And I always say, 'It's better to have a sense of humor than no sense at all.'"
ENCOUNTER WITH A "VOTER"
At a political reception in Boston during the race for the Democrats' 1976 presidential nomination, Udall stuck out his hand to the nearest gentleman and said, "Hi, I'm Mo Udall, and I'd like your vote."
The man looked up, and Udall realized he was shaking hands with Birch Bayh, an Indiana senator who also was running for the Democratic nomination.
"You're my second choice," Bayh replied, according to Udall.
During the same campaign, Udall made a campaign flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles and on to Sacramento.
"But there was no crowd, no band, no press--hell, there wasn't even an advance man," Udall said.
"We had landed at the wrong airport, for God's sake, and there aren't that many airports in Sacramento.
"The indignity didn't stop there. We wound up at a hotel that night that told me I would be staying in the Gerald R. Ford Suite."
PLEASE TAKE A NUMBER
And there was the tale of another campaign stop in Sacramento.
"I got off the right plane at the right airport this time, and even found my staff and a small group of supporters," Udall said.
At the hotel, he told the clerk who he was.
"Yes," the clerk replied. "Now, if you wouldn't mind, just please take a number and join the rest of the candidates in the lounge."
"MO" UDALL, ANTI-CANDIDATE
When the party liberals urged Udall to challenge then-President Carter for the 1980 presidential nomination, he replied, "If nominated, I will run--for the Mexican border. If elected, I will fight extradition."
"PEOPLE HAVE LAST LAUGH"
Udall told of encountering a 70-year-old Wisconsin farmer during the 1976 campaign. "Where you from, son?" the farmer asked.
"Washington, DC," Udall replied.
"You've got some pretty smart fellas back there, ain't ya?" the farmer said.
"Yes, Sir, I guess we do."
"Got some that ain't so smart, too, ain't ya?"
"Well," Udall replied, "I guess that's true, too."
"Damn hard to tell the difference, ain't it?" the old-timer said with a chuckle.
Udall then concluded, "In a democracy,
you see, the people always have the last laugh."
UDALL'S COURAGE IN '67 EXAMPLE FOR STATE'S DELEGATION TODAY
(By Joel Nilsson)
Today Morris K. Udall officially takes his leave from a 30-year distinguished career in Congress.
We can all look back upon his many fine moments and accomplishments.
I would like to highlight one.
In his witty book "Too Funny To Be President," Mr. Udall referred to an appearance in 1967 in Tucson as "one of the most difficult speeches of my career."
He knew his words to 2,800 constituents wouldn't be greeted warmly on this Sunday evening in October.
There was campus dissent against the Vietnam War, but it was confined mainly to a small cadre of protesters.
The American people, by and large,
were supportive of President Johnson's policies. Representative Udall's
brother, Stewart, was in the Cabinet.
only to be a change of mind, but a break from prevailing public opinion,
from his party, from his president, from his brother and from his constituents.
His early support of the war was being supplanted by doubt and dismay, he told his audience. "Many of the wise old heads in Congress say privately that the best politics of this situation is to remain silent, to fuzz your views . . . to await developments . . .," Mr. Udall said.
"But I have come here tonight to say as plainly and simply as I can that I was wrong 2 years ago, and I firmly believe President Johnson's advisers are wrong today. I have listened to all the arguments of the administration, read all the reports available to me, attended all the briefings, heard all the predictions of an eventual end to hostilities, and I still conclude that we're on a mistaken and dangerous road."
Advocating the withdrawal of U.S. forces wasn't mainstream political rhetoric in 1967, yet that's what Mr. Udall did.
I ask you, when was the last time you heard a politician say he was wrong, or that he had had a change of heart?
If your memory is hazy it's probably because such public pronouncements are exceedingly rare.
There are reasons for this.
To fess up to the voters requires an uncommon inner strength, and these days courage isn't a trait that routinely crops up in conversations about the people we choose to represent our views.
To the contrary, great amounts of time and energy are taken to devise means to weasel and sidestep around difficult issues.
Supporters can become unnerved if somebody they've voted for suddenly reverses field. After all, it is far easier to stay the course, or worse, be totally silent.
Then, too, journalists--for the most part uncomfortable with Emerson's view of consistency being the hobgoblin of little minds--are particularly fond of pointing out these shifts in position, as if a reversal somehow isn't permissible.
It's as if circumstances and conditions do not change even though the clock ticks on. Mr. Udall saw the folly in so myopic a view, and he accepted the consequences of admitting he was wrong.
I only wish he had felt so predispose in the Phoenix Indian School controversy. Were he not ravaged by Parkinson's disease (and dependent upon staffs might such a change have been possible?
It's not too late for the rest of the delegation--Messrs. McCain, DeConcini, Kyl, Kolbe, Rhodes and Stump--to rectify so colossal a disgrace.
Why should Phoenicians have to pay the price -- a humongous development larger than all of downtown--so that thousands of acres of swampland can be added to the Everglades National Park in Florida?
"I never dreamed that our present delegation would cave in," former Senator Barry Goldwater wrote to a friend in May 1988, 6 months before the swap became law. "I just blew my stack" upon hearing of the deal, he said, calling the loss of the Indian School property "a crime."
About that same time Representative Bob Stump wrote to a friend that the swap was "a bad deal" concocted by Interior officials just so federal money wouldn't be spent to buy the swampland.
While the delegation sits idly on its thumbs, Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson fights the best he knows how.
Interior likely will accept the awful land-use plan put forth by a citizens' committee even though it's been rejected by the City Council. Mr. Johnson says the city plans to file suit to block the plan from taking effect, and well it should.
There is a better way. Scrap the law.
should admit its error. For the price of 45 Patriot missiles Congress can
buy the swampland.
What of the Indian School land?
It may be asking a lot to expect a gift. Don't get me wrong. I'm of the opinion Phoenicians would pay a fair price.
But an 88-acre park in tribute to Mo Udall's stewardship of public lands and his compassion for Indians would be hard to argue against.
It won't happen unless a member
of the delegation steps forward. Any takers?
DISORDER IN A CHANGING HOUSE
(By Janet Hook)
The recent death of former Representative Richard Bolling of Missouri and the resignation of Representative Morris Udall of Arizona mark the departure of two of the most influential architects of the contemporary House as an institution. But in their legacy is a certain irony.
They were towering figures in the group of liberal Democrats who radically restructured power in the House in the 1970s. More than 80 percent of the Democrats now in the House arrived since 1974, a watershed in the multi-year drive to undercut the seniority system.
Most Democrats, in short, have known no House but the one Bolling and Udall helped build.
But that very House and the political system that feeds it now produce and attract few legislators like Bolling and Udall. The dominant political forces at work today systematically devalue two traits that helped these men leave their mark: a willingness to take risks and a commitment to political institutions larger than themselves.
On the face of it, one could hardly find two politicians more different in style and temperament. Udall, with his renowned wit, was one of the House's most affable members. Bolling, with his biting intelligence, was one of its most abrasive. Udall was a national figure, a symbol of liberalism after his unsuccessful run for the presidency in 1976. Bolling was the consummate insider, barely known outside the House and his district.
Both had aspirations to join the House Democratic leadership. Both failed in two attempts. Yet, despite their disappointments, both still managed to wield immense power within the House.
Udall, when he challenged the reelection of John W. McCormack as House speaker in 1969, made one of the first bold forays in the liberal assault on seniority that created the House as we know it today. Bolling opened the floodgates for 1960s social legislation when he took on the Rules Committee's leadership in the landmark 1961 effort by liberals to expand the committee.
"What distinguished them from a lot of people today is they both were risk takers," says David R. Obey, (D-WI) who regards both men as mentors. "They both understood that political death is not when you lose an election; political death is when you have the power to do something and don't do it."
Their actions also bespeak a relationship with Congress that is far different from most members' today. At a time when Congress was almost as reviled by the public as it is now, Bolling and Udall tried to reform it.
To be sure, the post-1974 generation is not totally devoid of risk-takers and institutionalists, But all the incentives in current political arrangements promote cautious individualism.
|In a system
in which political parties are weak, institutional power is dispersed and
ideology means little, House members are on their own. They have become
skilled at and obsessive about securing their own political survival because
they assume, probably rightly, that no one else will do it for them.
Increased individualism in politics has certainly had its advantages. The House Democratic Caucus of yesteryear probably had fewer mid-level members as skilled in particular areas of policy as, say, Henry Waxman of California on health or Stephen Solarz of New York on foreign affairs. But the resulting conglomerate of individuals' legislative accomplishments has not added up to a cohesive Democratic Party or a smoothly run legislature.
At work, says political writer Alan Ehrenhalt, is a "paradox of talent" in Congress over the last generation, as it became increasingly dominated by political careerists: "The membership became more and more competent and the institution more and more inept."
Especially compared with imposing
figures such as Udall and Bolling, the post-1974 crowd starts to seem limited
by the political equivalent of yuppie materialism. Many are impressive
legislators, but most seem preoccupied with a public life devoted to individual
MORRIS K. UDALL, HOUSE SERVICE: 1961-91
IN WASHINGTON: Udall's physical health turned out to be the final and most uncompromising obstacle in a long career marked by unfailing grace, enormous creativity, unstinting humor and frequent and disappointing defeat.
Udall's career came to a melancholy close in early 1991 after a combination of Parkinson's disease and injuries he suffered from a fall in his home barred him from completing his final term. (He had already announced that he would retire at the end of the 102d Congress). In an April 19 letter to House Speaker Thomas S. Foley, Udall's wife announced that he would resign effective May 4.
Liberal reformer, presidential candidate, distinguished committee chairman, party raconteur: In his 30 years in Congress, Udall evolved from Young Turk to one of the House's most beloved elder statesmen. He used his assignment on the Interior Committee to make himself the chamber's most prolific author of environmental legislation, both before and after he became chairman in 1977.
Udall years ago gave up his House leadership ambitions, but if he had not suffered from Parkinson's disease, he might have become Speaker. No House Democrat could match Udall's combination of affection and respect among colleagues and sprightly wit; a healthy and ambitious Udall would have been the one credible rival to Jim Wright's 1986 accession as Speaker in the wake of the retirement of Thomas P. O'Neill Jr.
There was some irony in Udall's inability to claim the leadership role for which his long tenure in the House had prepared him. For most of his early career, he had the stamina and ambition to be a leader, but the House did not want to elect him.
In 1969, Udall was the Young Turk challenger to John W. McCormack for Speaker. While Udall never expected to oust McCormack, he did expect to become majority leader two years later, and most of his liberal allies expected it as well. But he lost badly to Hale Boggs of Louisiana, a man who had only recently recovered from the effects of a nervous collapse. Boggs offered no threat to the traditional power structure; Udall a critic of seniority, did.
That defeat marked the turning point in Udall's career. It ended his leadership hopes and drove him deeper into the legislative process, in which he had come to excel.
career was striking evidence that a member of Congress can find important
work to do anywhere in the committee system. For 20 years, Udall never
had anything resembling a major assignment--he joined Interior in 1961
to work on Arizona land and mining issues and also went on Post Office
at the leadership's request.
But his proficiency at enacting environmental legislation cloaked the difficulty and frustration that the process engendered. The House passed strip-mine control legislation three times, and twice failed to override President Ford's vetoes, before a bill reasonably close to what Udall wanted become law in 1977. It took 4 years for Congress to enact legislation dividing Alaska lands between development and wilderness. Two years of struggle ended in deadlock on the last day of the 95th Congress in 1978; a compromise Alaska bill finally passed in 1980.
The 98th Congress saw enactment, after years of bickering, of a bill designating more than 8 million acres of new federal wilderness in 20 states -- the first major addition to the wilderness system since 1964. The first wilderness bill to pass was for Arizona. In the 101st Congress. Udall ushered through bills designating more than 2 million acres in Arizona as wilderness.
Other major Udall ideas ran out of steam. His scheme to provide federal aid for local land-use planning as a solution to urban sprawl failed on the House floor amid charges that it smacked of socialism. As interest burgeoned in opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. Udall steered in a resolutely opposite direction, backing a bill to declare ANWR permanently off limits to development.
The 100th Congress dealt a blow to a key Udall accomplishment of the early 1980s. After a 3-year struggle, Congress in 1982 had approved legislation providing for orderly choice of nuclear-waste disposal sites based on safety and scientific criteria, not politics. That legislation was, in essence, reversed in 1987 when Congress voted to place the nuclear-waste dump in Nevada over the state's vociferous objections. Udall had sought unsuccessfully to delay the decision and to empower a high-level negotiator to find a willing state.
In his last few years as Interior chairman, Udall increasingly delegated responsibility for major bills to other senior members--particularly to his heir apparent, ranking Democrat George Miller of California. After Udall's fall, the Democratic Caucus elected Miller vice chairman of Interior, with all the powers of the chairman. When Udall resigned, Miller formally took the chairmanship.
Udall was never the kind of chairman who exacted retribution from members who crossed him. Indeed, he and Miller fought bitterly in 1988--with no apparent long-term effect on their relationship--over a bill of great interest to the Arizona Democrat. The measure made a controversial land swap that gave a developer some downtown Phoenix real estate in exchange for Florida lands needed for a wildlife refuge. Miller said the deal was a bad bargain for the taxpayer.
While working on these issues, Udall was doing what Arizona expected him to do on Interior--protecting the Central Arizona Project, the massive water system for which Udall struggled throughout his career.
Udall had what amounted to a second legislative front on the Post Office Committee. A resting place for many of the less ambitious House members, Post Office turned out to be a perfect vehicle for many of Udall's interests. In his first decade there he worked to revise the federal pay system, including the one for Congress, and to make the Postal Service a semi-private corporation. Much later, he won passage of President Carter's civil service reforms, to promote merit pay and more flexibility for managers.
Outside his committees, Udall spent more than 20 years pushing for changes in the political system, again with mixed results. He was chief sponsor of the 1971 bill that made the first real national rules for campaign finance, limiting expenditures
and providing for voluminous disclosure. But he failed repeatedly with
legislation to establish public financing of congressional campaigns.
Udall's own campaign for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination, as the leading liberal alternative to Jimmy Carter, left a curious record: He gained wide respect within his party and survived through to the convention in New York without ever winning anything.
Udall finished second in seven primaries and was declared the Wisconsin winner prematurely by two networks, but he never had a first-place finish. He would almost certainly have won in New Hampshire had former Senator Fred Harris not attracted liberal votes, but by the time Harris withdrew the next month, Carter was too strong to be headed off.
Udall eventually made his peace with Carter and was not one of the more outspoken critics during Carter's presidential term, but he endorsed Edward M. Kennedy's bid for the Democratic nomination in 1980. Eventually he receded into the elder statesman's role that allowed him to give the convention's keynote address. He thought about one more presidential campaign for himself in 1984, but gave the idea up to the realities of declining health.
Throughout his career, the lanky, soft-spoken Udall was distinguishable as one of the besthumored--and most humorous--figures in American politics. A favorite speaker at Democratic events, Udall wrote a book on political humor, published in 1988, titled "Too Funny to Be President."
"In the political arena," Udall has said, "laughter can be a tremendously powerful thing." He saw humor as a gentle way to disarm the opposition, gain a hearing for his own position and lighten up tense situations; he thought using sarcastic humor to devastate an opponent was a mistake.
"The best political humor, however sharp or pointed, has a little love behind it," he once said. "It's the spirit of the humor that counts.... Over the years it has served me when nothing else could."
AT HOME: Udall came to politics as a member of one of Arizona's best-known families. His father was a justice of the Arizona Supreme Court; his mother was a local Democratic activist.
A professional basketball player for the old Denver Nuggets despite the handicap of a glass eye, Udall entered law practice with his brother Stewart in 1949 and later was Pima County attorney while Stewart served in Congress. When Stewart Udall resigned from Congress in 1961 to become President Kennedy's interior secretary, Morris ran for the seat in a special election that drew attention as a test of Kennedy's first 100 days in office. Udall backed such Kennedy programs as federal aid to education and medical care for the aged. He won, but with only 51 percent. He was hurt by Stewart Udall's call for evacuation of farmers squatting on federal land along the Colorado River.
For years after that, Udall won easily. But in 1976 he drew less than 60 percent for the first time in a decade. His unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination that year had given high visibility to his liberal views. The presidential publicity generated expensive and bitterly fought House campaigns in 1978 and 1980, with Udall having to fight off heavy GOP spending--which he more than matched--and charges of "socialism" by his Republican challengers. In the 1980 campaign he admitted that he was suffering from Parkinson's disease, but still won by nearly 40,000 votes despite the Reagan presidential victory.
In 1982 Udall was faced with a difficult choice. Arizona's Republican Legislature divided his overpopulated 2d District in half, with part of his hometown of Tucson in each half. Udall had the option of running either in the redrawn 2d, which was safely Democratic but extended awkwardly all the way to Phoenix, where he had never run before; or in the 5th, which kept more of his familiar Tucson precincts but included a strong Republican vote.
his Tucson Democratic allies prepared to challenge the Legislature's district
map for unfairly splintering the Hispanic vote. The Legislature compromised
and placed more of Tucson in the 2d. Udall won there easily.
Udall's 1986 primary challenge had its roots in 1982 redistricting, which made the 2d District Arizona's most heavily Hispanic constituency. State Senator Luis Gonzales decided it was time the district had Hispanic representation.
But he underestimated Udall's political strength. The incumbent, drawing on the strong support of top Hispanic leaders, many of whom regarded Gonzales' attempt merely as an effort to build name recognition for a future campaign, won going away.
No Democrat filed to run against
Udall in 1988, and his perennial opponent, Joseph Sweeney, a former administrator
of an unaccredited law school in Tucson, did not dent his typically huge
general-election margin. Perhaps in deference to Udall's record and popularity,
challengers stayed away in 1990. In his campaign swan song, Udall again
A TALE OF Two CITIZENS
(By Bob Hulteen)
Most temporary residents of our nation's capital--in other words, elected representatives and their staff people--are eminently unmemorable. Personnel changes on Capitol Hill generally are merely cosmetic. But thus far in 1991, two dramatic changes have taken place, and they are worthy of note.
One of the great legislators and caretakers of the common good, Representative Morris Udall (D-AZ) retired on May 4 after more than 15 full terms in the House of Representatives. The Parkinson's disease that had plagued Udall for more than a decade and was exacerbated by a fall in his home finally took its toll. Udall could no longer fulfill his duties.
Few politicians have held the good of the country--all of it, especially its least protected elements--so close to their heart. Udall's integrity and wit combined to make him one of the most popular and effective members of Congress in memory.
On issues of water conservation, protection of federal lands, campaign finance reform, and the tribal rights of American Indians, Udall championed the well-being of the disempowered, the wilderness, and the future. This did not always bring him popularity in the Arizona district he had represented since 1961. Still, Udall's strong commitment to principle and integrity brought him the support of many who disagreed with his politics.
"He was willing to take risks that no one else would," said Patty Marks, an attorney with a Washington, DC law firm representing a number of Indian Nations. "And under his leadership on the Interior Committee, Indian issues were not used as leverage to pass anything else in the House. Virtually all of the positive legislation to come out of Congress since his arrival has had Udall's stamp."
Udall is from a humble background, which gave him an attitude toward the Indian community quite different from many of his colleagues, according to Marks. While many Western congressional representatives have run anti-Indian election campaigns in order to get elected, Udall did not. His sensitivity caused him to invite Indians in for early dialogue on any issue that might affect them. Udall valued public discourse.
Reverend Richard Austin, an organizer behind the ground-breaking 1970s legislation to limit strip mining, recalls that Udall "had a level of conscientiousness and
was consistently impressive. He took ordinary people seriously--people
who had rocks sliding into their backyards because of bad mining practices."
Udall was more interested in integrity in politics than in the limelight. After his barely unsuccessful run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976, Udall said, "Beware of the presidential candidate who has no friends his own age and confidants who can tell him to go to hell, who has no hobbies and outside interests. God help us from presidents who can't be a little bit gentle, and who don't have a sense of humor."
One longtime political analyst recently said of Udall, "I wish he was young and just getting started, because we could really use someone as capable and committed as him now."
The other change in the Capital City is the death of Republican National Committee Chair Lee Atwater. After a year of fighting inoperable brain tumors, Atwater, barely 40, died on March 29.
Life magazine printed Atwater's reflections on his life and work shortly before he died. The pain of his struggle was evident in the photos, which presented a barely recognizable Atwater suffering the effects of intensive treatment. Even cynical political minds were moved.
An influential force in conservative ideological circles, Atwater was especially known for his zeal for negative campaign tactics--the attempt to misrepresent and distort facts simply to exploit the vulnerability of an opponent. He provided a down-home face to this negative style. Whereas John Sununu, Roger Ailes, William Bennett, and the rest of the negative ad club could never have popularized this style--they look too mean--Atwater was a young, cleanshaven, home boy from South Carolina.
His image made it possible for him to say in a 1980 South Carolina campaign that the Democratic candidate, who had been treated for depression by electroshock therapy as a teen-ager, should not be trusted since he had been "hooked up to jumper cables." As George Bush's campaign manager in 1988, he said that before the campaign was over, he was going to make America think that Willie Horton was Michael Dukakis' running mate--racebaiting at its worst. As Bush talked about a kinder, gentler nation, Atwater's "wedge" politics created an uglier and more divided country.
Atwater pulled a page from Founding Father James Madison's blueprint for the nation. Madison had suggested to his peers (other landed, white men) that even in a democracy the elite can rule. If the "common people" can be divided enough, geographically and interest-wise, the privileged can protect their own interests.
Atwater lived by this divisive philosophy in politics. He argued that winning was easier than it seemed, since convincing the opponent's supporters to stay home was as good as convincing the undecided to vote for your candidate. Once "common people" are disempowered, the landed gentry extend their control. Negative advertising is at heart a strategy to undermine any vision for change.
Just before he died, Atwater wrote letters to a handful of people, mostly of his own class and race, apologizing for campaign attacks upon them. But letters to Dukakis and other "landed gentry" don't repair the damage done. Atwater owed apologies to people like Rodney King and other victims of racial, class, and gender violence. Lee Atwater may have been truly sorry for his behavior. But the consequence of divisive politics and policies is a society that is driven by fear and hatred of that which is different.
Of course, many people saw through the veneer and down-home style. When he was selected to be a member of the board of trustees of Howard University, the student body took over campus buildings demanding his ouster. Howard students didn't play the game with the man who tried to make Willie Horton every white person's nightmare.
|In his last
months, Atwater added the Bible to the list of his favorite books. He wrote
in his Life article that he wished that he had spent more time with his
children. The very human feelings that eluded him during his political
career emerged at the end of his life. But we, the survivors, are left
with his legacy.
Morris Udall spent decades encouraging
broader participation in the democratic process and ensuring the security
of the future. Atwater spent years trying to separate people from each
other and ensuring the consolidation of power into the hands of a few.
It is easier to tear down than to build up. If we desire values in our
politics, we can only hope that Mo Udall is the model for the next generation
The highly emotional meeting capped weeks of tension and speculation surrounding Udall's retirement, which ends a 30-year career of towering legislative achievements and devastating personal and political disappointment.
Udall's brother, Stewart, called the resignation "a very emotional experience."
"Mo" Udall took his brother's congressional seat after Stewart Udall was named President Kennedy's Interior secretary in 1961.
"Mo was such a vibrant person in his prime ... it hurts to watch the whole process, and now to have it end this way is painful," Stewart Udall said.
SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENTS
Confined to a nursing home at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Washington, Mo Udall, 68, is undergoing therapy for multiple injuries he suffered in a fall January 6 and for the worsening effects of Parkinson's disease, a debilitating nerve disorder.
While the decision for Udall to step down was made for him, family members said Udall is showing signs of improvement.
"The good news is that he seems to be comfortable, he doesn't seem to be in much pain. He seems to be peaceful," Udall's son, Mark, said in a telephone interview from Denver.
Mark Udall called Friday's resignation, announced in Washington and Tucson, a "bittersweet time for all of us."
"This is what had to happen," he said. "However, I think all of us wish that Dad had some more years to continue building on all that he's accomplished. At the same time he's very proud, the entire family is very proud, of his outstanding 30 years in public service.
"That's the most important piece of this--is that he go out on top and leave the Congress with his integrity and dignity intact," Mark Udall said.
TIMING OF RESIGNATION
"We don't feel any shame or embarrassment at all. Dad's like anybody who's had a bad fall. It's one of those things that happen in life. The family's charge was to act in what he would think would be the best way."
Mark Udall said family members will devote attention to providing his father long-term care.
"It now enables us to focus on Mo Udall as the person who's had a terrible fall as opposed to Mo Udall the public figure," he said. "It just lets us get on with the final years of my dad's life in a private setting as opposed to a public setting. That's very important to us."
Main | Contents | Illustrations | Book Cover | Title Page
Addresses and Special Orders Held in the U.S. House of Representatives
and the Senate, Presented in Honor of The Honorable Morris K. "Mo" Udall,
A Representative from Arizona, One Hundred Second Congress, First Session
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993