Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Dudley Randall Biography - A Poet from an Early Age to Ferrol Sams Jr Biography » Bill Richardson: 1947—: Politician Biography - Gave Up Baseball For Political Science, Began Career In Politics, Won Congressional Seat, Had Long Career In Congress

Bill Richardson: 1947—: Politician - Began Career In Politics

mexico staff democratic department


After receiving his master's degree in international affairs in 1971, Richardson moved to Washington, D.C., and secured a position as a staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives. During 1972 Richardson married Barbara Flavin, an antiques restorer he had known since his teenage years. In 1973 he took a job as a staffer in the Congressional Affairs Office of the U.S. State Department. Three years later he joined the staff of the foreign relations subcommittee of the U.S. Senate, which was under the leadership of Sen. Humphrey.

By 1978 Richardson was eyeing his own political future. His problem, however, was that, although he was born in the United States, he had been raised in Mexico and had no real home base from which to establish himself. To remedy this, Richardson moved to New Mexico in 1978, where he worked for a time as a trade consultant and quickly got involved in local Democratic politics. He became a member of the Bernalillo County Democratic Commission and, before long, was asked by the Arizona governor to assume the duties as executive director of the New Mexico State Democratic Commission.

At a Glance . . .


Born on November 15, 1947, in Pasadena, CA; son of William and Maria Luisa Zubiran Richardson; married Barbara Flavin, 1972. Education: Tufts University, BA, 1970; Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, MA, 1971. Religion: Roman Catholic. Politics: Democrat.


Career: U.S. House of Representatives, staff member, 1971-73; Congressional Relations Office, U.S. State Department, staff member, 1973-76; Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senate, staff member, 1976-78; New Mexico Democratic Committee, executive, 1978-82; U.S. House of Representatives, representative from New Mexico, 1982-96. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, 1997-99; secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, 1999-00; Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, instructor, 2001-02; United World College, Montezuma, New Mexico, instructor, 2001-02; business consultant, 2001-02; governor of New Mexico, 2003–.


Awards: Distinguished Public Service Medal, Center for the Study of the Presidency, 1997; Visionary Award, Institute of American Indian Arts Foundation, 1997; International Leadership Award, Institute of American Indian Arts Foundation, 1997.


Richardson's first foray into elective politics was his unsuccessful bid for the second congressional district seat in 1980. On the announcement of his candidacy, Richardson was pelted with charges of carpetbagging. However, he responded that his dual heritage made him a perfect fit for New Mexico's diverse culture, which includes large populations of Anglos, Hispanics, and Native Americans. Richardson won the primary, but faced stiff competition from Rep. Manuel Lujan, Jr., a well-established Republican incumbent, in the general election.

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