Tom Udall picked as next ambassador to New Zealand

By Jennifer Yachnin | 07/16/2021 03:31 PM EST

President Biden is nominating former New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall (D) to serve as his ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File

President Biden today tapped former New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall to serve as the nation’s ambassador to New Zealand and the independent state of Samoa.

Udall, a Democrat, retired from Congress earlier this year following two Senate terms and 10 years in the House. He did not seek reelection in the 2020 cycle.

He had been widely viewed as a potential Interior secretary — possibly following in the footsteps of his father, the late Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, who served in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. But Deb Haaland, then serving as a House member from New Mexico, got the nod instead.

As he was leaving office, Tom Udall told E&E News that he planned to stay engaged in public service, even after he left Capitol Hill.

"I’m running through the tape: To me, when you hold an office it’s very important that you work to the very end to do the very best," Udall said (E&E Daily, Nov. 18, 2020).

The New Zealand ambassador job requires Senate confirmation.