Bill Richardson was a longtime political figure in the United States as a member of the Democratic Party. During Richardson's political career, he took on several interests. He would be closely tied to the immensely polarizing North American Free Trade Agreement.

Diplomacy was a particular focus of Richardson's. He was including, as touched upon by the Los Alamos Daily Post, hostage negotiation. Something that he continued to do even after he left public office. At times, to the chagrin of others. Earlier this year, he was part of negotiations that led to the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner from Russia.

But Richardson is back in the headlines now for a very different reason.

Passed away on September 1, 2023

Bill Richardson has died at 75. At the time, he was at his summer home in Chatham in southeastern Massachusetts. A funeral is expected to occur at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, New Mexico, followed by a reception at the State Capitol building.

An official cause of death was not released to the public. But Richardson was evidently in his sleep when he died.

Early in his career, Richardson was a staffer for Republican Massachusetts U.S. Representative F. Bradford Morse, followed by joining the administration of Republican U.S. President Richard Nixon with the State Department.

Eventually, he became an aide for the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Richardson first ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1980. The race was in the 1st District of New Mexico. He lost to Republican incumbent Manuel Lujan Jr. Lujan later became the United States Secretary of the Interior.

His cousin, Michelle Lujan Grisham, is the current Democratic governor of New Mexico.

Would run for president

Bill Richardson ran again in 1982, this time in the state's newly created 3rd District. He would be re-elected an ensuing seven times. Along the way, he became a subcommittee chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

In 1997, Richardson resigned from the House to begin a brief tenure as United States ambassador to the United Nations. The following year, he became the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

His tenure as secretary would be largely marked by controversy, including the potential leaking of nuclear secrets to the Chinese government, resulting in many calls for his resignation.

In 2002, Richardson was handily elected governor of New Mexico in a three-way race. It was prevailing over Republican State Representative John Sanchez and Green Party nominee David Bacon.

Richardson was re-elected by a wide margin in 2006 over the Republican John Dendahl. Dendahl had been the state's economic development and tourism secretary.

In earlier years, Dendahl was a national champion skier with the University of Colorado Boulder and later an Olympic athlete.

Richardson ran for the Democratic U.S. presidential nomination in 2008 but would drop out of the race. He would be considered as a potential vice president afterward. Richardson was also later nominated to become U.S. commerce secretary. But he withdrew his name from consideration amid legal turmoil. Richardson was never indicted on the matter of alleged corruption.

Was a noted baseball player

Bill Richardson was born in Pasadena, California, in the Los Angeles region. He was believed to be a descendant of Mayflower passenger William Brewster. Richardson spent much of his childhood in Mexico.

Eventually, he attended Middlesex School near Boston in Concord, Massachusetts.

Richardson graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor's degree. He majored in political science and in French. Later, he followed that with an international affairs master's degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Richardson was also a member of the school's baseball team.

Richardson played for two seasons in the Cape Cod Baseball League. First, with the Cotuit Kettleers. Second, with the Harwich Mariners. He reportedly drew interest from some Major League teams. Some outlets would report that he was an MLB Draft selection, but that was not the case.