HELENA, Mont. -- Former governor Thomas L. Judge, who in two terms in the 1970s oversaw creation of many of Montana's environmental laws, died Friday, his family said. He was 71.
Mr. Judge, who suffered from pulmonary fibrosis, died at Chandler Regional Hospital in Chandler, Ariz., said his sons Thomas and Patrick.
Mr. Judge, a Democrat, was the 38-year-old lieutenant governor when voters in 1972 made him the youngest man ever elected governor in Montana.
Voters simultaneously approved a new state Constitution that included a provision that residents have a right to a ``clean and healthful environment."
With that mandate, Mr. Judge oversaw creation of laws governing such areas as strip mine reclamation, air and water pollution controls, and a coal severance tax that finances a state trust fund.
Mr. Judge said one of his proudest achievements was that he ``brought government to the people" with 150 public forums around the state. His inaugural ball was the first that was open to all Montanans.
His lost the Democratic primary in 1980 when he sought a third term. Mr. Judge tried again in 1988 and won the nomination, but lost the election.