GOVERNOR BILL RICHARDSON Bill Richardson is serving his second term as Governor of New Mexico. He was re-elected in 2006 with the support of 69 percent of voters, representing the largest margin of victory for any Governor in state history. He was supported by Democrats, Republicans and Independents, winning in both urban and rural counties New Mexicans overwhelmingly endorsed Governor Richardson's aggressive efforts to improve education, cut taxes, build a high-wage economy, expand health care access, invest in renewable energy and make New Mexico safer. Bill Richardson's fiscally responsible governing style has allowed New Mexico to tackle important priorities, shifting education money from administration to the classroom, cutting taxes for working families and raising the minimum wage, while maintaining a balanced budget and the highest reserves in state history. He cut $230 million in bureaucratic waste, invested in new opportunities for New Mexico's children and returned more than $1 billion dollars in taxes to working families. New Mexico continues to be a national leader in job growth and economic momentum – with more than 80,000 more New Mexicans working since Governor Richardson took office, and an unemployment rate that is the lowest in state history. During his first term as Governor, Richardson made good on his campaign promises to improve education, cut taxes, build a high-wage economy, develop a statewide water plan and make New Mexico safer by getting tough on DWI, domestic violence and sex crimes. In addition to his duties as Governor, Richardson has taught a course at New Mexico State University, where he provided students with unique perspectives on the inner workings of state government, the importance of public service and taught them about the realities of today’s political environment. Richardson previously taught at the University of New Mexico, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the United World College in Montezuma, NM. As Chairman of the Democratic Governor's Association, Governor Richardson raised more than $28 million for gubernatorial candidates and helped elect the first Democratic majority of governors since 1994. Governor Richardson also served as Chair of the Western Governors Association, Border Governor's Conference and the 2004 Democratic National Convention. During the 2002 campaign for Governor, Bill Richardson broke a world record. He shook 13,392 hands in an 8-hour period – shattering the record that former president Theodore Roosevelt set on inauguration day in 1907. Prior to being elected governor, Bill Richardson enjoyed a very successful and fulfilling career in public service, academia and the private sector - few can match his wide-ranging experience and his level of dedication to protecting the rights and improving the quality of life of people in New Mexico, the United States and around the world. Richardson has met face-to-face with some of the world's most intimidating leaders. He negotiated the release of prisoners from Saddam Hussein, convinced corrupt foreign heads of state to step down, and oversaw and reformed one of the most challenging and unmanageable agencies in government, the Department of Energy. In recognition of his concern for human rights abuses and his diplomatic work throughout the world, Richardson was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Bill Richardson served for fifteen years in northern New Mexico representing the 3rd Congressional District, one of the most ethnically diverse in the country. He won every election with more than 60% of the vote, revealing a real mandate for his vision for New Mexico and his ability to effectively represent and serve his constituents. He held 2,700 town hall meetings, an average of about 180 per year. Bill Richardson quickly rose to leadership in Congress, creating the opportunity for him to serve as a serious advocate for New Mexicans. He sponsored and passed a bill to retain and improve health care for rural New Mexicans and also, a bill to increase the amount of nurses in the state. He traveled to Missouri and convinced milk producers to open a dairy factory in eastern New Mexico, creating jobs and bringing economic development to the state. He also worked to bring high-tech parks to the state bringing business and cutting-edge technology to New Mexico. He consistently supported a balanced budget amendment, underscoring his belief that government should live within its means. Bill Richardson ensured that our natural beauty was preserved by creating the Jemez National Recreation area and protecting the Rio Grande River and San Juan Basin. As a ‘prolific legislator’ and involved committee member, Bill Richardson always made sure that New Mexico had a voice on issues important to the state. 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. 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." Richardson won praise for his can-do, hands-on management style. He tackled tough problems from gas prices to security lapses at nuclear weapons laboratories - and offered a host of new initiatives and achieved many successes, including several projects based here in New Mexico. He championed environmental responsibility, clean and renewable technologies, and oil and gas technologies that reduced our dependence on foreign resources. Richardson was the first Energy Secretary to ask Congress to provide compensation for current and former Energy Department workers who had become ill as a result of their work at nuclear facilities. Additionally, Richardson cut waste and created further accountability at the Department of Energy. He required projects be completed within budget, on time, and fought to end wasteful congressional pork at the agency. Two-thirds of his appointments went to women and minorities. Richardson made it a priority to create a better working environment by pushing for more childcare, fitness centers and regular meetings for DOE workers. In 2001, Richardson assumed the chairmanship of Freedom House, a private, non-partisan organization that promotes democracy worldwide. He also worked as a business consultant in Santa Fe and served on several boards including the Natural Resource Defense Council and United Way International. Bill Richardson has been married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara, for 35 years. Richardson received a BA from Tufts in 1970 and a MA from Tuft's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1971.
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