Tuesday, April 23, 1991.
From California to Massachusetts, Alabama to Wisconsin, all of the messages were similar: Sadness, deep respect, liberal hero, politically influential environmentalist, and above all, a witty, humorous gentleman who was truly the consummate politician, rising above partisan politics by building coalitions with Members from both sides of the aisle. In fact, it was his ability to use this humor that led him to write, "Humor becomes one of the most formidable tools (one) can wield in pursuit of legislative goals. A savvy pol can use humor to disarm his enemies, to rally his allies, to inform, rebut, educate, console, and convince." Without question, these beliefs enabled Mo to disarm even the most hostile foes and allowed Mo Udall, time and time again, to shepherd through Congress even the most controversial pieces of legislation.
I have known Mo Udall just about all my life. Mo's father, Levi Udall, and my father served on the Arizona Supreme Court together. Mo eventually came to work with his brother, Stewart, in my father's law office, after graduating from the University of Arizona College of Law.
As a high school student in Tucson, I remember supporting one of Mo's first campaigns for county attorney, an office which I was proud to serve a few years later. Even then he was an impressive man -- a top-notch litigator. Although he certainly was someone who commanded respect, more importantly he was someone who really deserved it.
Mo Udall was first elected to represent
Arizona's Second Congressional District in 1961 in a special election to
fill the seat that his brother Stewart vacated in order to serve as Secretary
of the Interior for President Kennedy. Mo has since been reelected and
to Washington 16 times by this constituents. He came to Washington at a
time when Arizona was represented in Congress by influential politicians
such as Barry Goldwater, Carl Hayden, and John Rhodes. Following in this
tradition, Mo was able to use his position as chairman of the House Interior
and Insular Affairs Committee to protect and promote the interests of Arizona.
Conservation and environmental legislation were his specialties. His love,
admiration, and respect for the environment were so great he once said,
"a nation that does not love and respect its land does not respect itself."
What a profound credo.
With this credo, Mo worked tirelessly to pass landmark legislation such as the 1977 strip mining bill, the 1980 Alaska Lands Act, setting aside 100 million acres in Alaska as protected wilderness, and most recently, the Arizona Wilderness Act which now protects more than 2.4 million acres of Arizona desert wilderness. Mo's influence on water rights also went consistently unchallenged. He was able to help pass legislation creating the central Arizona project, the lifeblood of the future of central Arizona and southern Arizona, which will bring much needed Colorado River water to both Phoenix and Tucson.
Not all of Mo's many legislative accomplishments, however, were environmentally related. As a young Member of Congress, Mo directly challenged the archaic practices of the seniority system in Congress by making a symbolic run for Speaker of the House against John McCormick. Although he was soundly defeated, it brought to the forefront the stifling nature of the seniority system and later led to major reforms in the committee system. Mo was also one of the first Members of Congress to disclose his personal finances, long before it was required, an action which later laid the basis for his leadership in civil service reform and revolutionary campaign finance laws in the early seventies.
When I came to the Senate I learned from Mo to put in every year a complete financial statement far greater than is required by law. That was just one of several things that Mo Udall taught me.
I will remember Mo Udall for many
reasons, but most of all, I will remember his decency and his commitment
to providing his best effort to everything he undertook. Mo Udall was a
fighter. He never allowed any of his personal hardships or his battle with
Parkinson's disease to slow him down. Even as Parkinson's began to take
its toll, the old Udall charm and wit, for which he will be forever loved,
never faded. I think all of us here in Congress and many of us around the
country can say without hesitation that we are better for having witnessed
and experienced this man's diligent work. He has nobly served his constituents,
the State of Arizona, the U.S. Congress, and the people of this land. The
and will forever remember his visionary thinking. I am saddened with his
departure. I will miss his friendship, his counsel, his advice, and his
I will be introducing legislation soon which hopefully will help educate future generations of environmentalists. This legislation, the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Act, is a tribute to the man who has made a permanent imprint on this Nation's heritage of natural resources and encouraged America's youth to become involved in its protection and enjoyment. This bill will establish a foundation comprised of representatives from the Department of Education, the Department of the Interior, and appointments by the President, Senate leaders, House leaders, and a representative from the University of Arizona. The foundation will award scholarships, fellowships, and grants from a $25 million endowment fund for study in fields related to the environment. In addition, the foundation will provide assistance to the Morris K. Udall Archives which will include funding to maintain the current site of the repository for his papers and assures their availability to the public.
Finally, this legislation will also establish a center for environmental conflict resolution as well as work to develop resources to properly train professionals in environmental and environmentally related fields.
In closing, I would like to cite
a quotation that Mo Udall hung next to the desk in his office which I believe
best represents what this man was all about. The quote is from Will Rogers
and reads, "We are here for just a spell and then pass on. So get a few
laughs and do the best you can. Live your life so that whenever you lose,
you are ahead." There is no doubt in my mind, Morris K. Udall is way ahead.
Thursday, November 26, 1991.
Throughout his life he took advantage
of opportunities to make positive change. As a high school student, Mo
Udall participated and excelled in everything from editor of the high school
on the basketball team to serving as the student body president. Even after
graduating from the University of Arizona in 1949 with a bachelors of law
degree, he excelled by receiving the highest score on the State bar exam.
I understand that his years of practicing law in Arizona left an unmatched
legacy for future trial lawyers.
But it is the years Mo Udall spent in the House of Representatives striving for protection of the environment that has inspired my colleagues and I to continue our work toward this goal. Mo Udall's chairmanship of the Interior Committee and his membership on the Post Office and Civil Service Committee will long be remembered.
Mo's appreciation of the land and his attitude toward responsible management of our natural resources was reflected in several major bills that passed during his chairmanship, including legislation on strip mining in 1977, which marked the first time that the mining industry was given guidelines for restoring mined land. Another measure is the Alaska lands bill, which added large tracts of land to the national refuge system and the national wilderness system.
Mo Udall has a unique and special concern for Arizona and its vast wilderness, which was demonstrated by efforts to pass both the Arizona Wilderness Act of 1984, which protected more than 1 million acres of State land, and the Arizona Public Land Wilderness Act, which set aside 2 million acres of Arizona wilderness. This work on the Arizona Public Land Wilderness Act reflected his keen ability to get people with different goals to work together. Without this patience and leadership, the Arizona Public Land Wilderness Act could not have been passed.
Mo's outstanding contribution on environmental protection has set a standard for cooperation and reflects a special insight into our national land conservation needs. This unending determination, and organizational skills helped pass effective legislation to protect our scarce resources. I have for years admired these accomplishments and appreciated his helpfulness.
Mr. Speaker, his presence in the
House of Representatives and dedication to this institution is sorely missed.
All of us that had the privilege of serving with Chairman Mo Udall, however
are far richer for that experience.
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