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 three committees: Armed Services, Energy and Natural Resources, and the Select Committee on Intelligence. Reinforcing his priority of protecting our Western lands, Mark chairs the National Parks Subcommittee of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He is also proud to serve as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. In that role, Mark has oversight responsibility for all U.S. military space, intelligence and cyberdefense efforts, and our ballistic missile defense and nuclear weapons programs. 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.


Support Third Way

Third Way is a non-profit organization. Our policy innovations, rigorous research, and issue campaigns are made possible by the sustained engagement and generous contributions of our supporters. For more information on how to support the work of Third Way, please contact:

Emily Sternfeld
Director of Development and External Affairs
(202) 384 1700


Get updates whenever new content is added. We’ll never share your email with anyone.