Washington DC – Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who served in Congress and served as Secretary of Energy in the Clinton administration, has died, according to the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, an organization Richardson founded to promote international peace and dialogue. He is 75 years old.
Richardson died at his summer home in Chatham, Massachusetts, the group said.
“Governor Richardson passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. A life of service to others, including his time in government and his subsequent career helping to free those taken hostage or wrongfully detained abroad,” the vice president Mickey Bergman said. Richardson Center said in a statement Saturday.
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Richardson began his career as a congressional staffer before moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico and running unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1982, he was elected to New Mexico’s newly formed Third Congressional District. Richardson served in the House of Representatives until 1997 when he was appointed US Ambassador to the United Nations by President Bill Clinton. From 1998 to 2000, he served as Minister of Energy.
In 2002, he was elected governor of New Mexico. His accomplishments as governor included improving the state’s job numbers and boosting the economy by bringing the film industry to New Mexico, resulting in more than 140 major film and television productions, according to the Richardson Center. He also built a light rail system from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and partnered with Virgin Galactic to build a commercial spaceport.
In 2008, he sought the Democratic nomination for president but withdrew after Iowa and New Hampshire.
After leaving office, he founded the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, which focuses on conflict resolution and prisoner release. The Richardson Center said it was instrumental in the release of several hostages and imprisoned U.S. service members around the world, including the successful release of a Marine Corps sergeant. Andrew Tahmooressi released from prison in Tijuana, Mexico, in 2014.
For his work in diplomacy, Richardson was nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Richardson was born in Pasadena, California, and grew up in Mexico City and Concord, Massachusetts. Both his parents are of Mexican descent. He received his BA from Tufts University in 1970 and his MA from the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1971.
Richardson is survived by his wife, Barbara.
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