Bill Richardson

Spring 2011
Visiting Fellow

Bill Richardson completed his second term as Governor of New Mexico in 2010. He was first elected to office in 2002 and re-elected in 2006 with the support of 69 percent of voters, representing the largest margin of victory for any Governor in state history.

Bill Richardson's bold governing style moved New Mexico forward in several important areas, including:

Clean Energy – Made New Mexico the “Clean Energy State” by requiring that utilities meet 20% of New Mexico’s electrical demand from renewable sources; established a Renewable Energy Transmission Authority to deliver New Mexico’s world-class renewable resources to market; and created a Green Jobs Cabinet.
Commuter Rail – Created the Rail Runner Express – commuter rail service for thousands of New Mexicans -- as part of an overall investment in modern transportation. The $1.6 million transportation investment also paid for more than 40 highway projects in every corner of the state.
Education – Invested more than $1 billion in public schools, including professional salaries to recruit and retain quality teachers; shifting education money from administration to the classroom; and increased access to early-childhood education.
Tax cuts – Cut more than $1 billion in taxes to make New Mexico economically competitive, while providing tax relief for working families.
Public Safety -- Made New Mexico safer by getting tough on drunk drivers, domestic violence and sex crimes. DWI-related fatalities have decreased by 30 percent since 2003.
Spaceport – Spearheaded a new commercial space industry in New Mexico anchored by Spaceport America, which is partnering with private tenants like Virgin Galactic to launch tourists into space.
Film Industry – Invested in a new film industry that has resulted in more than 140 major film and television productions and an estimated economic impact of more than $3-billion. 
Environment -- Negotiated historic Fence-to-Fence Cleanup Order for Los Alamos National Laboratory, co-founded the Western Climate Initiative regional cap-and-trade effort, implemented a River Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, and issued an Environmental Justice Executive Order.  
Health Care -- Expanded access to quality health care by implementing several Insure New Mexico! initiatives that are affordable coverage solutions for New Mexico’s small employers, nonprofit agencies, individuals and options for every New Mexico child under the age of 12 years old. 

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.

Governor Richardson served for 15 years in northern New Mexico representing the 3rd Congressional District. Governor Richardson served in 1997 as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and in 1998, he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

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, Cuba and Sudan. Governor Richardson has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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 37 years. Richardson received a BA from Tufts in 1970 and a MA from Tuft's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1971.

Disclaimer: This information is accurate for the time period that this person was affiliated with the Institute of Politics.