Bill Richardson attended Tufts University, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science and French in 1970 and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy the following year. After working for a time in Washington, he relocated to New Mexico, where he became active in Democratic politics. Richardson went on to win election to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving the 3rd Congressional District of New Mexico for 15 years.
He served as Ambassador to the United Nations in 1997 and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1998 as secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. He was elected Governor of New Mexico in 2002 and was reelected to a second term in 2006. During his gubernatorial tenure, Richardson fought to improve education, cut taxes, build a high-wage economy, expand health care access, invest in renewable energy, and make New Mexico safer.
Richardson entered the 2008 presidential race but dropped out after losing the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Following the election, Barack Obama tapped him to become Secretary of Commerce but he asked that his name be withdrawn.
Richardson has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.