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Bill Richardson, Former New Mexico Governor Dies At 75

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Former Democratic New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, who later served as the country’s ambassador to the UN, passed away. He was 75.

The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, a nonprofit organization founded by the former governor, confirmed Richardson’s death in his sleep on Saturday at his vacation residence in Chatham, Massachusetts.

Richardson represented northern New Mexico in congress for 14 years before to his 2002 election as governor. He then ran an unsuccessful campaign to become the first Latino to be nominated for president of the United States. He worked as the secretary of energy and U.N. ambassador for President Bill Clinton.

His actions as a volunteer to secure the release of Americans held abroad solidified his reputation as an unofficial ambassador after his tenure in government.

“He lived his entire life in the service of others,” Mickey Bergman, vice president of the Richardson Center, said in a statement. “The world has lost a champion for those held unjustly abroad and I have lost a mentor and a dear friend.”

Richardson ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008 but withdrew after finishing fourth in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. After that, he supported Obama, who later nominated Richardson to be his secretary of commerce. In the midst of a federal investigation into an alleged pay-to-play scheme involving campaign payments in exchange for a state contract, Richardson withdrew as a candidate for the position. Richardson and his former aides were not charged as a result of the investigation.

He gained notoriety as a public servant and a skilled handshaker. Richardson broke a Guinness World Record for shaking 13,392 hands in eight hours while campaigning for governor in 2002. This record is still in effect today.

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