Link to Rose Garden Ceremony remarks
The President today announced his intent to nominate Ambassador Bill Richardson as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Ambassador Bill Richardson, of New Mexico, is currently the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a member of the President's Cabinet and of the National Security Council. He has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Ambassador Richardson has worked to free hostages and prisoners from Croatia, Burma, Cuba, Iraq, North Korea and Sudan, and negotiated the peaceful transfer of power in the former Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Prior to his work at the United Nations, Ambassador Richardson served New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District for eight terms. As a member of the U.S. Congress, he held one of the highest ranking posts in the House Democratic Leadership serving as Chief Deputy Whip. As a member of the Commerce Committee, he took a leadership role in the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. Ambassador Richardson also was a member of the Resources Committee, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Helsinki Commission on Human Rights. He also chaired the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Ambassador Richardson received a B.A. from Tufts University and an M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. In addition, he has received a number of honorary degrees and has been presented with many honors and awards during his career, such as Mexico's highest honor given to non-citizens, the Aztec Golden Eagle award.
As Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, Ambassador Richardson will direct and supervise the Department's administration, decide major policy issues, act as the principal energy advisor to the President, and serve as the principal spokesman for the Department.
Bill Richardson was nominated by President Clinton to be the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations on December 13, 1996. He is a member of the President's Cabinet and is also a member of the National Security Council. Ambassador Richardson was sworn in to office on February 13, 1997 by Vice President Gore.
Prior to becoming the U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Bill Richardson served New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District - one of the largest and most ethnically diverse in the country - and was elected eight times. As a member of the United States Congress, Richardson held one of the highest ranking posts in the House Democratic Leadership. He was a member of the Resources Committee, the Commerce Committee, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Helsinki Commission on Human Rights.
During the 103rd Congress, he chaired the Subcommittee on Native American Affairs. He has been described as one of the most "prolific legislators in the House," with numerous bills and amendments enacted in the environment, energy, Indian, health, foreign policy and defense areas.
Admired for is work as President Clinton's special envoy on many sensitive diplomatic missions, Ambassador Richardson was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize a second time in January 1997. As a diplomatic "trouble shooter" he has worked to free hostages in several countries including Bangladesh, Burma, Iraq, and North Korea.
Most recently Ambassador Richardson successfully secured the release of three Red Cross workers taken hostage in the Sudan. In 1996 he held a historic meeting with Cuba's Fidel Castro during which he successfully negotiated the release of three political prisoners and visas for their families. Ambassador Richardson has also chaired U.S. observer teams for elections in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and East Germany.
Ambassador Richardson received a B.A. (1970) from Tufts University and an M.A. (1971) from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Ambassador Richardson is fluent in Spanish, with good speaking and reading abilities in French.
Ambassador Richardson currently resides in New York with his wife Barbara.