Bill Richardson (politician)

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Bill Richardson is currently the Governor of the state of New Mexico. He has previously served as a Congressman, Secretary of Energy, and Ambassador to the United Nations.

William Blaine "Bill" Richardson (born November 15, 1947) is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party. He has served as a Congressman, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and U.S. Secretary of Energy; he is presently the Governor of New Mexico. He was also chairman of the 2004 Democratic National Convention that nominated John Kerry for the presidency.


Early life and career

Richardson was born in Pasadena, California. His mother, Maria Luisa Lopez-Collada, was Mexican. His father was a native of Boston, who worked for Citibank as an executive in Mexico. He was raised in Mexico City, but as a teenager attended a Boston-area high school. Richardson played baseball in high school at Middlesex School and was a fine pitcher. He was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics but did not pursue baseball professionally. He went on to Tufts University, where he majored in French and Political Science and was a brother of Delta Tau Delta. He then added a master's degree from Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He met his wife, Barbara Flavin, in Boston.

After college, he worked on congressional relations for the State Department. He was later a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In 1978, he moved to Santa Fe and ran for Congress, losing to longtime 1st District congressman and former Department of Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan. Four years later, Richardson was elected to New Mexico's newly created third district taking in most of the northern part of the state.

Richardson spent a little more than 14 years in Congress, never facing a truly serious opponent in the heavily Democratic 3rd District. As a congressman, he kept his interest in foreign relations. He visited Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba, Peru, India, North Korea, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and the Sudan to represent U.S. interests. In 1995 he travelled to Baghdad with Peter Bourne and personally shook hands with Saddam Hussein. He became a member of the Democratic leadership where he worked closely with Bill Clinton on several issues.

In 1997, Clinton appointed him as U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He served there until 1998, when he was appointed as U.S. Secretary of Energy. He served there for the remainder of the Clinton administration, overseeing the mishandling of the Wen Ho Lee case.

Governor of New Mexico

Richardson was elected governor of New Mexico in November 2002, defeating the Republican candidate, John Sanchez by 17 percentage points (56%-39%). He succeeded a two-term Republican governor, Gary Johnson. He took office in January 2003. Richardson is the only Hispanic Governor in the United States. Early in his first term, it is said he has pressed energetically in a 100 directions at the same time. In his first year, Richardson proposed "tax cuts to promote growth and investment" and passed a broad personal income tax cut and won a statewide special election to transfer money from the state's Permanent Fund to meet current expenses and projects. In early 2005, Richardson made New Mexico the first state in the nation to provide $250,000 in life insurance coverage for New Mexico National Guardsmen who serve on active duty.

Working with the legislature, the governor formed Governor Richardson's Investment Partnership (GRIP) ( in 2003. The organization's purpose is planning and funding much-needed highway improvements throughout the state with $1.6 billion of funds, including the long overdue overhaul of the I-40/Coors interchange in Albuquerque.

Some local observers have criticized that, when the cameras weren't on him, he reverts to a somewhat imperial style, seeking to impose his vision rather than respectfully consult and patiently build consensus. He has also been criticized for expanding and perhaps enjoying too much the perks of the position. So far his national reputation, polished by smooth major media appearances, remains rather unaffected by some of this bad local press.

Even as governor, Richardson continues to be interested in foreign policy. During the summer of 2003, he met with a delegation from North Korea at their request to discuss concerns over that country's use of nuclear energy.

He was named Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and announced a desire to increase the role of Democratic governors in deciding the future of their party, including the naming of the next Democratic National Committee leader (or leaders).

Future political career

In February 2005, the Associated Press reported that Richardson has informed party leaders that he intends to run in the 2008 U.S. presidential election [1] (

The Albuquerque Journal reported on June 12 2005, that a New Mexico State Auditor concluded the Governor used Enron type accounting after his adminstration "circumvented the Legislature and proper accounting procedures when it opened the office in 2004 because it used money intended for the Taxation and Revenue Department ( to pay for the governor's Albuquerque digs." The Governor had opened an office in Albuquerque five minutes from the airport to meet with potential out of state donors for his 2008 Presidential campaign without inconveniencing them with the two hour round trip to Sante Fe.



  • Traveling Troubleshooter Is Ready to Settle Down, at the U.N.:THE SECOND TERM: The New Lineup William Blaine Richardson, James Brooke, New York Times, Dec 14, 1996. pg. 11, 1 pgs

External links

Preceded by:
Madeleine Albright
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.
Succeeded by:
Richard Holbrooke
Preceded by:
Federico Peņa
United States Secretary of Energy
Succeeded by:
Spencer Abraham
Preceded by:
Gary Johnson
Governor of New Mexico
Succeeded by:

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Template:Current U.S. governorsfr:Bill Richardson


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