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Richardson, Bill 1947–

Richardson, Bill 1947–

(William B. Richardson, William Blaine Richardson)

PERSONAL: Born November 15, 1947, in Pasadena, CA; son of William (a banker) and Maria Luisa Zubiran (a secretary) Richardson; married Barbara Flavin, 1972. Education: Tufts University, B.A., 1970, M.A., 1971. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Roman Catholic.

ADDRESSES: Office—Office of the Governor, 490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Rm. 400, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

CAREER: Politician, governor, and writer. U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC, staff member, 1971–73, elected representative from New Mexico, 1982–96; U.S. State Department, Congressional Relations Office, Washington, DC, staff member, 1973–76; U.S. Senate, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, DC, staff member, 1976–78; New Mexico Democratic Committee, NM, executive, 1978–82; U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, 1997–99; U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC, secretary, 1999–2000; governor of New Mexico, 2003–. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, instructor at Kennedy School of Government, 2001–02; United World College, Montezuma, NM, instructor, 2001–02; business consultant, 2001–02. Also worked as a trade consultant and with Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Santa Fe; member of Bernalillo County Democratic Commission; executive director of New Mexico State Democratic Commission; member of Santa Fe Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce Council on Foreign Relations.

AWARDS, HONORS: Distinguished Public Service Medal, Center for the Study of the Presidency, 1997; Visionary Award, Institute of American Indian Arts Foundation, 1997; International Leadership Award, Institute of American Indian Arts Foundation, 1997; four Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

WRITINGS:

(With Chris Gore and Kate Murray) Strategic Decision-Making, Cassell (New York, NY), 1992.

(With Michael Ruby) Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life, G.P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Experienced in state, national, and international politics, Bill Richardson, who was elected governor of New Mexico in 2002, is one of the most influential Hispanic politicians in the United States and has been mentioned as a potential candidate on a future Democratic U.S. presidential ticket. In his memoir Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life, written with journalist Michael Ruby, Richardson reveals a childhood that, as the title indicates, straddled the white world of his father and the Hispanic world of his mother. As noted by a contributor to Contemporary Heroes and Heroines, "it was in Mexico City, Mexico, that Richardson and his sister, Vesta, grew up amid the comforts and privileges of high society." In his book, Richardson describes how he returned to the United States as a teenager to attend preparatory school and then went on to college at Tufts University, where he first became interested in politics and majored in political science. Much of his life story focuses on his career in politics, including his time in Washington, DC, where he served in a number of posts, including secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy under President Bill Clinton. He also outlines his experience in foreign-policy matters, some of it gained through his post as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the late 1990s.

Many reviewers regarded Between Worlds as a campaign tool as much as an autobiography. Nevertheless, writing in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer commented that the book "manages to provide a sense of his [Richardson's] most famous characteristics," which, the reviewer noted, includes his amiability. The reviewer went on to write that the book's best quality is Richardson's "straight talk about how he got the power he has, and how he likes to flex it." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the autobiography "good-natured … with useful lessons for budding office holders." Duncan Stewart, writing in the Library Journal, commented that the book is "revealing—to a fault" and went on to note that "Richardson does have strong foreign-policy credentials."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Contemporary Heroes and Heroines, Volume 4, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2000.

Contemporary Hispanic Biography, Volume 4, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2003.

Ehrenhalt, Alan, editor, Politics in America, CQ Press (Washington, DC), 1983.

Richardson, Bill, and Michael Ruby, Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life, G.P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2005.

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2005, review of Between Worlds, p. 1067.

Library Journal, October 15, 2005, Duncan Stewart, review of Between Worlds, p. 64.

Publishers Weekly, October 3, 2005, review of Between Worlds, p. 62.

Time, December 12, 2005, Karen Tumulty, "10 Questions for Bill Richardson."

ONLINE

Office of Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson Web site, http://www.governor.state.nm.us/ (January 21, 2005).

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