About Morris K. Udall

Visit the University of Arizona's Morris K. Udall Collection.

Morris King Udall was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1961. He served as chairman of what is now the Committee on Resources for over ten years. As well as serving in the House of Representatives for three decades, Udall ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976.

Although Udall lost his right eye in an accident at age 6, he became co-captain of his high school basketball team, quarterback for the football team, trumpet player in the school band, student body president and salutatorian. After earning a law degree at the University of Arizona, he obtained an airplane pilot license, played professional basketball for the Denver Nuggets and, after scoring highest on the state bar exam, was admitted to the Arizona Bar and began practicing law with his brother Stewart.

Udall was one of the most creative and productive legislators of the 20th Century. He championed the rights of Native Americans and Alaska Natives and used his leadership in Congress to strengthen tribal self-governance. His love of the environment resulted in numerous pieces of legislation moving through Congress. Chief among his accomplishments was the Alaska Lands Act of 1980, which doubled the size of the national park system, and tripled the size of the national wilderness system. He also authored important legislation on campaign reform and Congressional ethics.

Udall's sense of humor, civility and a strong bipartisan spirit led him to distinguish between political opponents and enemies. One of his closest longtime friends was the rock of Republican conservatism, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.

Significant legislation includes:

The Central Arizona Project
Postal Reorganization Act
Bill to Reform Congressional Franking Privileges
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
Indian Child Welfare Act
Civil Service Reforms
Archaeological Research Protection Act
Southern Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act
Nuclear Waste Management Policy Act
Arizona Wilderness Act
Amendment to the Price-Anderson provision of the Atomic Energy Act
Indian Gaming Act
Arizona Desert Wilderness Act
Tongass Timber Reform Act