Bill Richardson, a two-term Democratic governor of New Mexico and an American ambassador to the United Nations who also worked for years to secure the release of Americans detained by foreign adversaries, has died. He was 75.
The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, which he founded and led, said in a statement Saturday that he died in his sleep at his home in Chatham, Massachusetts.
“He lived his entire life in the service of others — including both his time in government and his subsequent career helping to free people held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad,” said Mickey Bergman, the center's vice president. "There was no person that Gov. Richardson would not speak with if it held the promise of returning a person to freedom. The world has lost a champion for those held unjustly abroad and I have lost a mentor and a dear friend.”
Before his election in 2002 as governor, Richardson was the U.S. envoy to the United Nations and energy secretary under President Bill Clinton and served 14 years as a congressman representing northern New Mexico.
“I plead guilty to photo-ops and getting human beings rescued and improving the lives of human beings,” he once told reporters.
Richardson was the nation’s only Hispanic governor during his two terms. He described being governor as “the best job I ever had.”
“It’s the most fun. You can get the most done. You set the agenda,” Richardson said.
U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., called Richardson a “giant in public service and government.”
Read more on FRANCE 24 English
US journalist Fenster arrives in Qatar after release from Myanmar jail
US envoy to seek release of American jailed in Cuba
US governor Richardson to meet North Korean diplomats