Bill Richardson

Monday, January 7th 2008, 4:17 pm
By: News 9

Bill Richardson was born on November 15, 1947 in Pasadena, California to William Richardson and Maria Luisa Lopez-Collada. William Richardson was a banker who had been working in Mexico City for decades and he settled his family there shortly after Bill's birth.

Growing up in Mexico City, Bill Richardson experienced a unique blend of American and Mexican cultures. William and Maria expected great things from Bill and his younger sister Vesta. Governor Richardson attributes his work ethic and striving nature to the lessons his parents taught him.

In 1961 a young Bill Richardson left his family in Mexico City to attend high school in Massachusetts. It was tough for teenage Bill to be the new different looking kid at his school; he was the only Hispanic student there. But with the help of a coveted slot on the Varsity baseball team, and a few good friends, he began to bridge the divide between these two worlds.

While a congressman, Richardson served as a special envoy on many sensitive international missions. He successfully won the release of hostages, American servicemen, and prisoners in North Korea, Iraq, and Cuba. He also secured the release of an Albuquerque resident who was kept hostage in Sudan.

Bill spent fourteen years in Congress and also sat on the Interior Committee and the House Select Committee on Intelligence; he was also Chair of the Hispanic Caucus and was later picked as Chief Deputy Whip.

In 1997, Richardson was nominated to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. At the U.N., Richardson addressed many difficult international negotiating challenges and crises all over the world. He served as an advocate for the realization of universal human rights and fair and democratic governance worldwide. He worked to increase security by fighting international terrorism and the creation and proliferation of biological weapons. He fought to increase awareness of the status of women in places like Afghanistan and Africa. He promoted economic development through both private and public means, and always stood for international fair labor standards. Richardson ensured that issues such as global warming, and public health crises were not overlooked.

In 1998, Richardson was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate as Secretary of Energy -- a department with deep roots in New Mexico. Upon nominating Richardson to the energy post, the president remarked, "If there's one word that comes to mind when I think of Bill Richardson, it really is energy."

While in the House, Richardson sponsored bills such as the Indian Tribal Justice Act, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments, the American Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act, the American Indian Agricultural Resource Management Act, the Indian Dams Safety Act, the Tribal Self-Governance Act, the Indian Tribal Jurisdiction Bill (commonly known as the "Duro Fix") and the Jicarilla Apache Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act.

He was an adjunct professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a lecturer at the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West. In 2000, Bill Richardson was awarded a United States Institute of Peace Senior Fellowship. He spent the next year researching and writing on the negotiations with North Korea and the energy dimensions of U.S. relations with same.

His major issues are:

Boosting the Economy
Civil Liberties
Financial opportunity
First responders
Foreign Policy
Health care

Sources: and Governor.State.NM.US