Former New Mexico Gov Bill Richardson dies at 75

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson dies at 75 – CNN


Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a longtime fixture of Democratic politics who alternately served as energy secretary and U.N. ambassador under the Clinton administration, died Friday, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement said in a statement. He was 75.

Richardson died in his sleep at his summer home in Massachusetts.

“He has spent his entire life serving others – both in his reign and in his subsequent career, in which he fought for the release of hostages or people unjustly imprisoned abroad. “There was not a person that Governor Richardson would not talk to if there was a promise to restore freedom to one person,” said Mickey Bergman, vice president of the Richardson Center, in a statement.

“The world has lost a champion for those unjustly detained abroad, and I have lost a mentor and a dear friend.”

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Richardson in a joint statement as “a dedicated public servant and experienced diplomat.”

“Whether in an official or unofficial capacity, he was a masterful and tenacious negotiator who helped make our world safer and secured the release of many people unjustly detained abroad,” they said.

President Joe Biden also praised Richardson as “a patriot and a true original.”

“Over the years, I have seen firsthand his passion for politics, his love for America and his unwavering belief that with respect and good faith people can transcend any difference, no matter how great,” Biden said in a statement.

Richardson began his political career in earnest as an aide to then-Massachusetts Rep. Frank Bradford Morse before joining the U.S. State Department and Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff in the 1970s.

He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1983, representing New Mexico’s Third District. Richardson later served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and secretary of energy before being elected governor of New Mexico in 2002. He served two terms before leaving office in 2011.

After an unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2008, Richardson founded the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, a nonprofit organization promoting international peace, in 2011.

Richardson and his eponymous center had worked privately with families of hostages and prisoners abroad. He traveled to Moscow last year and held meetings with Russian leaders to discuss the release of basketball star Brittney Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday that Richardson “dedicated his life to public service.”

“Whether inside or outside of government, he was driven by a firm belief in the power of diplomacy,” the top U.S. diplomat said in a statement. “He demonstrated the value of commitment and provided an inspiring path for future generations of public servants.”

The US President’s special envoy for hostage affairs, Roger Carstens, also expressed his condolences on Saturday in a post on Xformerly known as Twitter.

“My sincerest condolences go out to Gov. Bill Richardson’s family as well as Mickey Bergman and the team at the Richardson Center for Global Engagement,” Carstens said, posting a photo of the two alongside his statement.

Carstens and Richardson worked together on hostage relief operations, including in connection with the detention of Griner and Whelan.

“On behalf of the countless families helped by Gov. Richardson and his center, I want to express our deep sense of loss at his death,” Neda Sharghi, chair of the Bring Our Families Home campaign, said in a statement Saturday. “Governor Richardson was a passionate advocate for human rights and efforts to bring home people unjustly detained abroad.”

Matthew Heath, an American wrongly imprisoned in Venezuela, remarked, “Even though I had never met [Richardson]He worked tirelessly, selflessly and tirelessly for my liberation.”

“He appealed for my freedom and the freedom of other Americans. His center provided hundreds and hundreds of hours of support to my family while I was in custody,” Heath told CNN on Saturday. “Knowing that a force of nature like Governor Richardson has served at the highest levels of both governments was a beacon of hope for me during my incarceration. The death of Governor Richardson is like a light disappearing from this world.”

Richardson was born in Pasadena, California in 1947. He grew up in Mexico City, Mexico and left the country in 1960 to attend boarding school in Massachusetts.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and French from Tufts University in 1970 and a master’s degree from Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1971.

He married Barbara Richardson in 1972 and had one daughter.

This story has been updated with additional information.