ENG: William Blaine "Bill" Richardson III (born November 15, 1947) is an American politician, who served as the 30th Governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011. Before being elected governor, Richardson served in the Clinton administration as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Energy Secretary. Richardson has also served as a U.S. Congressman, chairman of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. On December 3, 2008, then-President-elect Barack Obama designated Richardson for appointment to the cabinet-level position of Commerce Secretary. On January 4, 2009, Richardson announced his decision to withdraw his nomination because of an investigation into improper business dealings in New Mexico. In August 2009, federal prosecutors dropped the pending investigation against the governor, and there has been speculation in the media about Richardson's career, as his second and final term as New Mexico governor has concluded.
Early political career
After college, Richardson worked for Republican Congressman F. Bradford Morse from Massachusetts. He was later a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Richardson worked on congressional relations for the Henry Kissinger State Department during the Nixon Administration.
In 1978, Richardson moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and ran for Congress in 1980 as a Democrat, losing narrowly to longtime 1st District congressman and future United States Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan (R). Two years later, Richardson was elected to New Mexico's newly-created third district, taking in most of the northern part of the state.
Richardson served as Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the 98th Congress (1983–1985) and as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Native American Affairs in the 103rd Congress (1993–1994).
He became a member of the Democratic leadership as a deputy majority whip, where he befriended Bill Clinton after they worked closely on several issues, including serving as the ranking House Democrat in favor of NAFTA's passage in 1993.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
In 1997, Clinton appointed Richardson as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. As ambassador, he represented the United States in UN proceedings regarding the Palestinian National Authority and the State of Israel, the completion of negotiations that strengthened the role and mandate of the United Nations Environment Programme regarding ecologically sustainable development, as well as other duties of an ambassador to the UN.
Richardson served there until 1998, when he was appointed U.S. Secretary of Energy, a post that he held for the remainder of the Clinton administration. According to his autobiography, Richardson was asked by the White House in 1997 to interview Monica Lewinsky for a job on his staff at the UN. Richardson did so, and offered her a position, which she declined.
Governor of New Mexico
Richardson was elected governor of New Mexico in November 2002, having defeated the Republican candidate, John Sanchez, 56–39%. During the campaign, he set a Guinness World Record for most handshakes in eight hours by a politician, breaking Theodore Roosevelt's record.
He succeeded a two-term Republican governor, Gary E. Johnson. He took office in January 2003 as the only Hispanic Governor in the United States, other than then-Governor Sila María Calderón of Puerto Rico.
In December 2006, Richardson announced that he would support a ban on cockfighting in New Mexico. On March 12, 2007, Richardson signed into law a bill that banned cockfighting in New Mexico. Puerto Rico, U.S.
During New Mexico's 2007 legislative session, Richardson signed a bill into law that made New Mexico the 12th state to legalize marijuana for medical reasons. When asked if this would hurt him in a Presidential election, he stated that it did not matter, as it was "the right thing to do."
Richardson's second term in office ended in 2011 and he was term-limited from further terms as governor.
Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are now the only parts of the United States where cockfighting is legal.
2008 presidential campaign
Richardson was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential election but dropped out on January 10, 2008 after lackluster showings in the first primary and caucus contests. Despite his long history with the Clinton family, Richardson endorsed Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination on March 21, 2008. Commentator and Clinton ally James Carville famously compared Richardson to Judas Iscariot for the move. Richardson responded in a Washington Post article, feeling "compelled to defend himself against character assassination and baseless allegations."
Richardson was a rumored Vice Presidential candidate for Senator and Democratic presumptive nominee Barack Obama and was fully vetted by the Obama campaign, before Obama chose Joe Biden on August 23, 2008.
On January 4, 2009, Richardson withdrew his name as Commerce Secretary nominee because of the federal grand jury investigation into pay-to-play dealings. The New York Times had reported in late December that the grand jury investigation issue would be raised at Richardson's confirmation hearings.