Randy Udall, 61, is a respected renewable energy expert who lives in Carbondale, Colo., and regularly gives speeches about how to tackle climate change. He was expected to return from his trip last Wednesday.
Sublette County Sheriff spokesman Steve Smith told The Denver Post that authorities learned Friday that he was unaccounted for. Tip Top Search and Rescue of Pinedale, Wyo., coordinated a search that day that included ground teams and aerial sweeps with helicopters. Teams continued looking over the weekend, with help from the U.S. Forest Service.
“Mark is concerned about his brother’s whereabouts, and he continues to closely monitor the situation,” said James Owens, a spokesman for the senator. “He and his family hope for the best.”
In the din over the recent National Security Agency leaks, Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado has emerged as one of the leading voices against government surveillance.
Udall will sit down to talk about the NSA scandal today on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Last week, the first-term Senate Democrat made the media rounds on political talk shows, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley and ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
Udall has been consistent in his position on security, but in this case, his stance could pit him against the Obama administration. Some political analysts believe that his re-election in 2014 might depend on distancing himself from Obama.
But Udall has long held concerns about the NSA’s metadata program and privacy issues within the Patriot Act. In October 2001, as a U.S. House representative, Udall voted against the Patriot Act. The vote in the House was largely split along party lines, with 62 Democrats and three Republicans voting against it.
Udall was the only Colorado representative to vote against the bill, although he agreed with some clauses, such as the wiretapping clause. The bill had allowed for expanded email and Internet monitoring of suspected terrorists, according to a 2001 article in the Colorado Daily.