his long resume of public service that stretches from the United Nations to North
Korea to the Clinton Cabinet, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's Jan. 21, 2007,
announcement that he would form a presidential exploratory committee made an already
crowded field for the Democrats even more complex.
It is this mix of international,
national and state experience that supporters hope will pave the way for Richardson
to be the first Latino president.
"All the public policy solutions
these days are coming from Governors and state government -- on the environment,
jobs and the economy, health care -- it's coming from the states. And that's because
we can't be partisan or we won't get our jobs done," Richardson says on his
Born to an American father and a Mexican mother, Richardson spent
the first 13 years of his life in Mexico City before moving to Massachusetts to
attend boarding school.
Richardson moved to New Mexico in 1978 and was elected
to Congress representing New Mexico's 3rd District in 1982. He held that seat
for 14 years, until President Clinton appointed him U.S. ambassador to the United
Nations in 1997, and then secretary of energy in 1998.
In 2002, Richardson
won the race for governor of New Mexico, and he was easily re-elected in 2006.
While in Congress, he helped negotiate the release of American hostages
and political prisoners in North Korea, Iraq and Cuba, and he has continued to
be involved in diplomatic negotiations during his tenure as governor.