D. Michael Rappoport, Udall Foundation Trustee
I have had the good fortune to know Mo Udall during most of the years he served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Our initial relationship was not particularly positive since I represented California interests opposed to the Central Arizona Project (CAP) in the 1960's, a critical Arizona initiative championed by Mo and Stewart.
Also, in the early 1970's, I was involved in efforts to defeat a strip mine bill that later became one of Mo's signature achievements. In fact, my introduction to Mo's classic sense of humor were comments he made following President Ford's first veto of the legislation: “King coal has won fair and square...the bastard.”
Our friendship began to firm up after my family moved to Phoenix in 1973, especially during the statewide campaign to resurrect the CAP when President Carter put it on the “hit list” of reclamation projects to be defunded. Mo led the Arizona congressional delegation in cobbling together a diverse coalition of agriculture, business, community, environment, government and utility interests that eventually resulted in advancing the CAP to completion.
Through the years, I had many occasions to observe Mo in political, policy and personal situations. Working with him on coal leasing, reclamation reform, dam safety, wilderness, wild and scenic rivers and Indian water rights legislation, I came to admire his constant and consistent commitment to civility, integrity and consensus, the hallmark of the Udall Foundation. But I think the singular attribute that marked Mo for me was his ability to encourage others to understand and appreciate the importance of public service.
Looking back over the past 20 years, I am struck by the confidence of Presidents and Congress in funding the Udall Foundation, and by our people and programs that further the understanding and appreciation of public service. I realize, too, that I have had the added good fortune to be part of that unique experience and applaud all associated with the Udall Foundation past, present and in the future.
D. Michael Rappoport, a retired Salt River Project executive, has served as a Trustee since 1994.