Reflecting on Bill Richardson’s tenure as New Mexico governor

Former Governor Bill Richardson passed away at his second home in Massachusetts at age 75. Richardson was a two-term governor in New Mexico. We take a look back at his tenure as the state’s top elected official. Reflecting on role as governor & pay to play scandalGov. Bill Richardson reflects on his two terms as the governor of New Mexico, including allegations that he was involved in a pay-to-play scandal.Richardson had a successful political career that spanned decades before he took New Mexico’s top job. He served as an ambassador to the United Nations, the U.S. Energy Secretary and a congressman.Read more: Political leaders react to Richardson’s deathThe outgoing governor said he’s most proud of the “transformation of New Mexico.”” from a state that wasn’t doing much, that was behind other states, and now we’ve become a national player, a leader in many areas like renewable energy, movies, space, transportation, fewer DWIs, a better education system,” Richardson said.Richardson said deeply regrets missing an opportunity to join the Obama administration.”I did regret that I didn’t become secretary of commerce, but the result from that was good. I stayed being governor for another two years, which I’ve enjoyed thoroughly,” Richardson said.The governor also told Action 7 News that he regrets staying quiet while federal investigators looked into a possible pay-to-play scheme in 2008. The allegations surrounded lucrative contracts handed out by the state.Read more: The diplomacy of Bill Richardson”I couldn’t respond because there was an ongoing investigation, but the fact was, there was no pay-to-play. There was no political motivation behind those. It’s a regret that during the political campaign, I wasn’t able to respond,” Richardson said.His biggest frustration during his eight years in office was the economy.”Because of the national economy, the national recession, we weren’t able to do the last four years like we were the first four years when we were able to double what we spent on education. We started Pre-K, full day kindergarten, the Rail Runner and the spaceport. In the second term, we had to cut back and decrease services like Medicaid,” Richardson said.Through all of the ups and downs, Richardson said he deserves an A for his governorship.”I’m going to give myself an A because we did a lot. When you’re governor, you can do small things and make a difference, helping a kid, improving a water system,” Richardson said. “You know, once in awhile we drifted into the Bs, but overall I’d say a solid A.”Notable accomplishmentsThe New Mexico Legislature is where things have to go in order to create change in the state. It’s something Richardson said wasn’t so easy in his 8 years as governor. “The legislature has it’s prerogatives their constitutional responsibility and in the past legislatures haven’t been used to strong governors,” Richardson said. It’s a political dynamic that often led to disagreements between Democrats and Republicans. But, as any good politician knows, you can’t always get along about everything in the legislative process. However, that never upset Richardson who said the arguments were never frustrating, but exciting. Richardson touts many legislative accomplishments that he called business and education friendly. Accomplishments that he said aren’t easy at all levels of government. “Name one legislature, one U.S. Congress, and president that always get along. It never happens.” It happened enough at the roundhouse for 8 years, he said. To move New Mexico forward.Education Bill Richardson says reading, writing and arithmetic were all made better over his 8 year term as governor. At the time the former governor said they spent twice as much on education. The result of that were better test scores, preschool for children under 4, full day kindergarten and an increase in teacher salaries. At the time drop out rates among minorities were about 50%. Death PenaltyGovernor Bill Richardson also repealed the death penalty in New Mexico. Richardson signed the bill the repealed the death penalty on Mar. 18, 2009 after careful thought. Read More: New Mexico Legislature repeals death penalty”This has been the most difficult decision in my political life. But I was elected by the people of New Mexico to make just this type of decision,” Richardson said. Thousands weighed in on the issue on both sides of the spectrum. But, Richardson said it was the lack of trust in the criminal justice system that pushed him to repeal it. “The reality is the system is not perfect. Far from it. It’s defective. DNA has proven it. Innocent people have been put on death row all across the country.” At the time New Mexico joined 14 other states that abolished the death penalty. Failed presidential runGov. Bill Richardson said that his failed run for Democratic nomination for president was a big political learning experience.He announced his run in January 2007. “I didn’t realize at the time that our country is so different in so many areas. I had, I believe, the experience, the drive to win but it wasn’t my year,” Richardson said.Still, Richardson said that he doesn’t regret running for president.”I had a good experience, but I wasn’t connecting. Although I did respectively, I was four out of eight but that doesn’t get you very far,” Richardson said. “I think we represented the state well.”So he came back to Santa Fe to serve the state as governor. At the time he was very popular, but nationally he didn’t appeal to voters.”At the time, they wanted something I didn’t have,” Richardson said.What he didn’t have was speeches about inspiration and unity, Richardson said. Eventual winner Barack Obama was known for his ornate speeches and rhetoric during the campaign.Still, Richardson boasted one of the most impressive resumes in the field with experience at the state, national and international levels.”They like people who had actually governed in the state government, federal government, diplomacy, and I thought that would be a plus, but it didn’t happen,” Richardson said. “You’ve got to move on in life and that’s what I’m going to do too.”

Former Governor Bill Richardson passed away at his second home in Massachusetts at age 75.

Richardson was a two-term governor in New Mexico.

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We take a look back at his tenure as the state’s top elected official.

Reflecting on role as governor & pay to play scandal

Gov. Bill Richardson reflects on his two terms as the governor of New Mexico, including allegations that he was involved in a pay-to-play scandal.

Richardson had a successful political career that spanned decades before he took New Mexico’s top job. He served as an ambassador to the United Nations, the U.S. Energy Secretary and a congressman.

Read more: Political leaders react to Richardson’s death

The outgoing governor said he’s most proud of the “transformation of New Mexico.”

“[We went] from a state that wasn’t doing much, that was behind other states, and now we’ve become a national player, a leader in many areas like renewable energy, movies, space, transportation, fewer DWIs, a better education system,” Richardson said.

Richardson said deeply regrets missing an opportunity to join the Obama administration.

“I did regret that I didn’t become secretary of commerce, but the result from that was good. I stayed being governor for another two years, which I’ve enjoyed thoroughly,” Richardson said.

The governor also told Action 7 News that he regrets staying quiet while federal investigators looked into a possible pay-to-play scheme in 2008. The allegations surrounded lucrative contracts handed out by the state.

Read more: The diplomacy of Bill Richardson

“I couldn’t respond because there was an ongoing investigation, but the fact was, there was no pay-to-play. There was no political motivation behind those. It’s a regret that during the political campaign, I wasn’t able to respond,” Richardson said.

His biggest frustration during his eight years in office was the economy.

“Because of the national economy, the national recession, we weren’t able to do the last four years like we were the first four years when we were able to double what we spent on education. We started Pre-K, full day kindergarten, the Rail Runner and the spaceport. In the second term, we had to cut back and decrease services like Medicaid,” Richardson said.

Through all of the ups and downs, Richardson said he deserves an A for his governorship.

“I’m going to give myself an A because we did a lot. When you’re governor, you can do small things and make a difference, helping a kid, improving a water system,” Richardson said. “You know, once in awhile we drifted into the Bs, but overall I’d say a solid A.”

Notable accomplishments

The New Mexico Legislature is where things have to go in order to create change in the state. It’s something Richardson said wasn’t so easy in his 8 years as governor.

“The legislature has it’s prerogatives their constitutional responsibility and in the past legislatures haven’t been used to strong governors,” Richardson said.

It’s a political dynamic that often led to disagreements between Democrats and Republicans. But, as any good politician knows, you can’t always get along about everything in the legislative process. However, that never upset Richardson who said the arguments were never frustrating, but exciting.

Richardson touts many legislative accomplishments that he called business and education friendly. Accomplishments that he said aren’t easy at all levels of government.

“Name one legislature, one U.S. Congress, and president that always get along. It never happens.”

It happened enough at the roundhouse for 8 years, he said. To move New Mexico forward.

Education

Bill Richardson says reading, writing and arithmetic were all made better over his 8 year term as governor.

At the time the former governor said they spent twice as much on education. The result of that were better test scores, preschool for children under 4, full day kindergarten and an increase in teacher salaries.

At the time drop out rates among minorities were about 50%.

Death Penalty

Governor Bill Richardson also repealed the death penalty in New Mexico.

Richardson signed the bill the repealed the death penalty on Mar. 18, 2009 after careful thought.

Read More: New Mexico Legislature repeals death penalty

“This has been the most difficult decision in my political life. But I was elected by the people of New Mexico to make just this type of decision,” Richardson said.

Thousands weighed in on the issue on both sides of the spectrum. But, Richardson said it was the lack of trust in the criminal justice system that pushed him to repeal it.

“The reality is the system is not perfect. Far from it. It’s defective. DNA has proven it. Innocent people have been put on death row all across the country.”

At the time New Mexico joined 14 other states that abolished the death penalty.

Failed presidential run

Gov. Bill Richardson said that his failed run for Democratic nomination for president was a big political learning experience.

He announced his run in January 2007.

“I didn’t realize at the time that our country is so different in so many areas. I had, I believe, the experience, the drive to win but it wasn’t my year,” Richardson said.

Still, Richardson said that he doesn’t regret running for president.

“I had a good experience, but I wasn’t connecting. Although I did respectively, I was four out of eight but that doesn’t get you very far,” Richardson said. “I think we represented the state well.”

So he came back to Santa Fe to serve the state as governor. At the time he was very popular, but nationally he didn’t appeal to voters.

“At the time, they wanted something I didn’t have,” Richardson said.

What he didn’t have was speeches about inspiration and unity, Richardson said. Eventual winner Barack Obama was known for his ornate speeches and rhetoric during the campaign.

Still, Richardson boasted one of the most impressive resumes in the field with experience at the state, national and international levels.

“They like people who had actually governed in the state government, federal government, diplomacy, and I thought that would be a plus, but it didn’t happen,” Richardson said. “You’ve got to move on in life and that’s what I’m going to do too.”

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