For more than 30 years, Bill Richardson has led a distinguished public-service career as a U.S. Congressman (1982-1996), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1997-1998), U.S. Secretary of Energy (1998-2000), and Governor of New Mexico (2003-2011). In 2008, he sought the Democratic nomination for President.
As a diplomat and special envoy, Richardson has received four Nobel Peace Prize nominations, and has successfully won the release of hostages and American servicemen in North Korea, Cuba, Iraq and the Sudan.
Before being elected Governor of New Mexico, Richardson was Chairman of Freedom House, a private nonpartisan organization that promotes democracy and human rights worldwide, and served on the boards of the National Resource Defense Council and United Way International.
As Governor of New Mexico, Richardson’s bold governing style moved New Mexico forward in several important areas,including clean energy, education, transportation, healthcare, immigration, environmental protection and $1 billion in tax cuts to New Mexicans. He vastly improved the state’s job numbers and improved economic development by bringing the movie industry to New Mexico, which resulted in more than 140 major film and TV productions.
He also built a light-rail system from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, and partnered with Virgin Galactic to build a commercial spaceport. During his administration, more than $1 billion was invested in public schools, including professional salaries to recruit and retain quality teachers. He also shifted education money away from the administration and into the classroom, and increased access to early childhood education. In 2010, he was named the “best education Governor” by the National Education Administration. More recently, he was given the National Hispanic Hero Award by the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute.
His service extends far beyond elected or appointed office. He has been an adjunct professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. As Governor, he taught courses at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University.
Richardson also sits on several nonprofit boards, including the World Resources
Institute (WRI), Refugees International, and the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE). In addition, he serves on numerous for-profit boards, primarily in the renewable energy space, such as Abengoa International.
Richardson has also started two foundations: The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, focusing on conflict resolution and prisoner release, and the Foundation to Preserve New Mexico Wildlife with actor and conservationist Robert Redford, which has led the charge to protect wild horses and provide alternatives to horse slaughter. Recently, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement played an instrumental role in the successful release of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from prison in Tijuana, Mexico.
Richardson has been married to his high-school sweetheart, Barbara, for 43 years. He received a BA from Tufts in 1970 and an MA from Tuft’s Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy in 1971.