President Clinton nominated United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson to succeed Energy Federico Peña on June 18, 1998. As ambassador, Richardson extended his role as international negotiator, working with Congress to hammer out legislation to pay the United States debt to the U.N. A member of the National Security Council, he also helped construct American policy on Iraq's refusal to comply with U.N. resolutions. Richardson is particularly interested in the nuclear issues the Energy Department oversees, as his native New Mexico is home to nuclear research facilities. That involvement will no doubt come in handy if he decides to run for the New Mexico governorship.
Nominated: June 18, 1998
Confirmed: July 31, 1998
Succeeded: Federico Peña
Previous occupation: U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, 1997-98; U.S. Representative (N.M.-3), 1982-1996; president, Richardson Trade Group, 1978-82; executive director, New Mexico Democratic party, 1978; staff, Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, 1975-78; congressional relations U.S. Department of State, 1973-75.
Education: Tufts University, 1970 (B.A.); Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1971.
Hometown: Santa Fe, N.M.
Of note: Richardson acted as an unofficial diplomatic negotiator during his tenure in Congress, working to secure the release of prisoners and hostages in Cuba, Iraq, Bangladesh, North Korea and Sudan. He also traveled to Haiti for peace negotiations in 1994, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twice. He is fluent in Spanish, with good speaking and reading abilities in French.
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