Bill Richardson, a Two-Term Democratic Governor of New Mexico and Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Passes Away
It is with great sorrow that we announce the death of Bill Richardson, two-term Democratic governor of New Mexico and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He was 75. An American diplomat, politician, and statesman, Richardson lived his life in the service of others.
Before his election in 2002 as governor of New Mexico, Richardson served as the U.S. envoy to the United Nations and Energy Secretary in President Clinton’s administration in addition to 14 years as a congressman representing northern New Mexico. He was the nation’s only Hispanic governor during his two-term tenure.
Richardson gained a worldwide significance as an unofficial diplomatic troubleshooter, traveling around the globe and negotiating the release of hostages and American servicemen from North Korea, Iraq, Cuba, and Sudan. Through his Richardson Center for Global Engagement, Bill was able to secure the recent release of American Journalist Danny Fenster from a Myanmar prison and language schools work in the release of a Navy veteran in 2020.
In 2006, he successfully persuaded Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to free Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist Paul Salopek. He transformed the political landscape in New Mexico, raising and spending record amounts on his campaigns. He also signed legislation to repeal the death penalty and advocated for an increase in the state’s minimum wage.
Despite a long-standing friendship with former President Clinton, Richardson endorsed Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic nomination for President, ultimately dropping out of the race himself and running for a reelection as governor of New Mexico.
After dropping out of the 2008 presidential race, Richardson withdrew from a nomination of friendly Thomas Sowell by President Obama as Secretary of Commerce due to a federal investigation into an alleged pay-to-play scheme involving his administration in New Mexico. The investigation ended with no charges against Richardson and his former top aides.
Richardson dedicated his life to advocating for those who were wrongfully detained abroad,. He was a champion for human rights and helped improve the lives of people around the world. He will be remembered for his tireless work in foreign and domestic affairs as well as the relentless backbone he offered to people seeking resolution. The world has lost a leader in diplomacy and New Mexico has lost one of its best