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Richardson Reflects On A Life 'Between Worlds'

Richardson Reflects On A Life 'Between Worlds'While rumors fly about whether or not New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will run for president in 2008, the Tufts graduate remains focused on the short-term, which includes the release of his new autobiography and getting re-elected next year.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [12.08.05] In political circles across the country, there is a growing buzz about what New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will do in 2008, when many expect that he will launch his campaign to become president of the United States. Though Richardson, a Democrat, has confirmed that he’ll run for re-election in New Mexico next year, the Tufts graduate is keeping quiet about his future aspirations. Instead, he’s giving people a glimpse into his past through his new book, which details the events that have shaped his life.

BetweenWorlds“The reason I wrote the book is to show how a Hispanic in America can do reasonably well in this wonderful country. It’s a nation of opportunity,” Richardson said on CNN’s “American Morning” about his book, Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life. “Bicultural experiences in America are very common. And America is a country that not just allows that, but fosters that.”

Richardson, who earned an undergraduate degreefrom Tufts in 1970 and a master’s from The Fletcher School in 1971, is “a charismatic politician with a standout resume,” according to Publishers Weekly. In his political career, Richardson has served as a U.S. congressman, United Nations ambassador and head of the Department of Energy. He is also known as an outstanding negotiator who has faced off against dictators, like Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro.

But another important piece of his past, according to Richardson, is the fact that, with a Mexican mother and American father, he lived in Mexico City until he moved to the United States at age 12.

“I have had those immigrant roots,” Richardson explained on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” “I’m a governor of a Hispanic state, close to 42 percent, 11 percent native American. I feel like I’m part of a community that is going to be the future of America.”

Richardson explained to Newsweek that, as it grows, the Hispanic community will have an increasingly important role in American politics.

“It’s a growing power, and it’s a power that is healthy, that is becoming part of the American mainstream,” he told the magazine, pointing out that “Hispanics have attained political power in the Congress and major cities.”

The next step for minority political figures, he said, could be the oval office.

“I think America is very tolerant. I believe a minority or a woman could be elected [president]. It’s just got to be the right message. You’ve got to appeal to the American mainstream,” Richardson said to Newsweek. “You can’t run as a woman or a Hispanic. You run as an American, a healer. And I believe such a candidate, regardless of their ethnicity, could be elected.”

So, does Richardson believe that he is that kind of candidate? He’s not quite saying. But he did admit to Newsweek that he counts his ability to bring people together as one of his strengths.

“I consider myself as somebody who can unite people,” Richardson told Newsweek. “My book talks about bridging cultures and living between two worlds as I have. I haven’t made a decision [about 2008]. I’ve made a decision to run for re-election [as governor of New Mexico in 2006], and then I’m going to take a look at it and see what happens after this re-election.”



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