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 - Path To Governorship

mexico secretary energy july

In 1992 Richardson was under consideration for the Interior Secretary's position, but the job went to Bruce Babbitt after environmental groups voiced fears that Richardson would be too sympathetic to ranching interests. Four years later Clinton appointed Richardson as the new U.S. ambassador to the UN, replacing Madeleine Albright. Later, Richardson became embroiled in Clinton's Monica Lewinsky scandal after it was revealed that he had offered to create a job for the intern at the UN.

In 1999 Clinton convinced Richardson to accept an appointment as secretary of the Department of Energy. As energy secretary, Richardson came into the national spotlight when classified information turned up missing at the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory. Richardson and the administration did their best to blame security lapses on previous administrations, but when it was discovered in July of 2000 that two hard drives containing nuclear secrets mysteriously disappeared for a month, Richardson returned to the hot seat. Once widely rumored as Al Gore's probable choice as a running mate in the 2000, the upheaval in the Department of Energy pushed Richardson back down the list of vice-presidential hopefuls.

In 2000 Richardson resigned his position as secretary of the Department of Energy and returned to New Mexico. He spent 2001 teaching classes at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government as well as at the United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico. He also worked as a business consultant in Santa Fe and served on the boards of several organizations, including Freedom House (a private organization that promotes democracy worldwide), the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the United Way International. On January 12, 2002, he announced his candidacy for governor of New Mexico.

During the 2002 gubernatorial race, Richardson once again undertook a nonstop press to meet the people and get out the vote. He shattered the world handshaking record by glad-handing 13,392 in an eight-hour period. Running on the platform of improved education, tax cuts, higher wages, and a comprehensive statewide water plan, Richardson won the election by the largest margin of victory since 1964. He was inaugurated as the governor of New Mexico on January 1, 2003. According to Fox News, when asked if he would accept a nomination to be the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 2004 if asked, Richardson said no, responding, "I love being governor. I love being in New Mexico."



Contemporary Heroes and Heroines, Book IV, Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2000.

Ehrenhalt, Alan, ed. Politics in America, Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1983.


Economist, December 13, 1997.

Fortune, May 27, 1996.

Insight on the News, October 23, 1995.

National Review, August 30, 1999; July 3, 2000.

New Republican, November 27, 1997.

PR Newswire, July 25, 2000.


"Richardon: I Don't Want VP Slot," Fox News, www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,85341,00.html (June 19, 2003).

Office of the Governor, State of New Mexico, www.governor.state.nm.us (June 19, 2003).

—Kari Bethel

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