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Stewart Udall

In office
January 21, 1961 – January 20, 1969
President John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Fred Andrew Seaton
Succeeded by Walter Joseph Hickel

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1955 – January 21, 1961
Preceded by Harold Patten
Succeeded by Mo Udall

Born January 31, 1920 (1920-01-31) (age 89)
St. Johns, Arizona
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Ermalee Webb Udall
Children Tom Udall
Alma mater University of Arizona
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Military service
Service/branch United States Army Air Corps
Unit Fifteenth Air Force
Battles/wars World War II

Stewart Lee Udall (born January 31, 1920) is a former American politician.


Early life and career

Born in St. Johns, Arizona, he is the son of Levi Stewart Udall. He was educated at the University of Arizona, and he saw combat as a gunner in the Army Air Corps during the Italian Campaign of World War II. Stewart Udall graduated from the University of Arizona Law School in 1948, and began his own law practice in Tucson shortly thereafter.

Udall became increasingly active in public service, being elected to the School Board of Amphitheater Public Schools (District 10) in Tucson in June 1951. He became the President of Amphitheater School Board in 1952. Udall also served as U.S. Representative from Arizona from 1955 to 1961

Secretary of the Interior

Udall served as Secretary of the Interior under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1969, when he described his nation's ecological attitudes as the "myth of superabundance".[1]

He lent his support and advice to one of the earliest efforts to save a complex natural resource, The Great Swamp of New Jersey. After a year-long legal battle that pitted local residents against the powerful New York Port Authority officials who wished to turn the Great Swamp into a major regional airport to replace Newark Airport with one that could accommodate large jet aircraft. The Jersey Jet Site Association was the first to form in opposition and it was followed closely by the North American Wildlife Foundation. Between the two organizations, enough property in the core of the swamp quickly was purchased, assembled, and donated to the federal government to qualify for perpetual protection as a park. The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was established by an Act of Congress on November 3, 1960. As the congressman from Arizona and later as the Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, championed the efforts of these residents, whom he described as having mounted the greatest effort ever made by residents in America to protect a natural habitat.

Later, the effort was mentioned frequently in his discussions of the environmental issues that needed to be resolved before irreplaceable resources were lost and the commitment of citizens to protect them. This federal refuge consists of 7,600 acres (31 km2) or almost 12 square miles (30.4 km²) of varied habitats in the center of a fifty-five square mile watershed. The Great Swamp is a migration-resting and feeding area or permanent habitat for more than 244 species of birds. The major routes of birds migrating along the eastern portion of the United States follow the corridor that includes the Great Swamp as a major stopping place for rest and nutrition. Many species of insects, animals, and birds reside permanently in the watershed area. Its role in draining the region and absorbing quick floods for gradual release can be critical during extreme weather conditions.

Udall was largely responsible for the enactment of environmental laws in Johnson's Great Society legislative agenda, including the Clear Air, Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts and Amendments, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, the Land and Water Conservation [Fund] Act of 1965, the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, the National Trail System Act of 1968, and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.

It was also during Udall's tenure as Secretary of the Interior when, in September 1962, he was summoned unexpectedly into a meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev during a tour of the Soviet Union. It was during this meeting that Khrushchev famously hinted at his secret deployment of nuclear missiles to Cuba by telling Udall that: "It's been a long time since you could spank us like a little boy. Now we can swat your ass." This was a prelude to the Cuban Missile Crisis. [2]

Energy Policy

In October 1972, Udall published a seminal article[3] in The Atlantic Monthly, called "Too many cars, too little oil. An argument for the proposition that 'less is more'" that foresaw problems with US transportation and energy policy and competition with emerging markets for scarce resources.[4]

In 1974, Udall, along with Charles Conconi and David Osterhout, wrote "The Energy Balloon", discussing the United States' energy policies.


He was the brother of U. S. Representative and 1976 presidential candidate Mo Udall; he served as Mo's campaign manager during the primary election, which Mo lost to Jimmy Carter. Stewart's son Tom Udall and nephew Mark Udall are both former Representatives in the U.S. House. In 2008, Tom and Mark were elected US Senators for New Mexico and Colorado, respectively.

Other information

See also


  1. ^ Vanity Fair, May 2007 issue 561, p. 163
  2. ^ Niall Ferguson, "The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West", New York: Penguin Books, 2006, pp. 600-601
  3. ^ Goodman, Robert (2008-11-16), "Have You Driven a Bus or a Train Lately?", New York Times: WK14,  
  4. ^ Udall, Stewart (October 1972), "Too many cars, too little oil. An argument for the proposition that "less is more"" (html), The Atlantic Monthly,, retrieved 2008-11-16  


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harold A. Patten
U.S. Representative, Arizona 2nd Congressional District
Succeeded by
Mo Udall
Political offices
Preceded by
Fred Seaton
United States Secretary of the Interior
Succeeded by
Walter Joseph Hickel


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