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Richardson To Chair 2004 Convention

Richardson To Chair 2004 ConventionNewMexico Governor and Tufts graduate Bill Richardson will becomethe first Hispanic to hold the top post at a Democratic NationalConvention.Boston

Boston [07.29.03] No stranger to Boston, New Mexico GovernorBill Richardsonwill return to the city where he spent five years as a studentto preside over the 2004Democratic National Convention next July. Richardson, whoearned two degrees from Tufts in the 1970s, will be the firstHispanic to hold the chairman’s position at the nationalconvention.

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“Ithink it’s recognition that Hispanics are major playersin the presidential race,” Richardson – who earnedan undergraduate and a graduate degree from Tufts – saidin an interview with the Associated Press following Monday’sannouncement.

It’salso an indication of Richardson’s rising position in theDemocratic Party.

The formerEnergy Secretary and United States Ambassador to the United Nations,Richardson is viewed as a strong running mate for the party’spresidential nominee. During the 2000 elections, the former Clintoncabinet member was believed to be on a similar short list of possiblenominees for vice president.

NewMexicoGovernorandTuftsgraduateBillRichardsonwillchairthe2004DemocraticNationalConvention“Whetherits 2008 or 2012 or further down the road, you have a limitednumber of national Democratic figures who you can imagine as seriouscontenders for presidential nomination or just simply as majornational spokesmen,” Norman Ornstein, an expert on politicsand the presidency, told the Associated Press. “[Richardson]clearly fits into those categories.”

As conventionchairman, the Tufts graduate will control the agenda, run thedaily sessions and will likely deliver a major speech.

“Formillions of Americans, Bill Richardson will be the face of theDemocratic Party – a young, Hispanic governor and formernational official,” Fred Harris, a former chairman of theDemocratic National Committee, told the Associated Press.

As Democratsgear up for another tight battle for the White House, many expertsand party leaders agree that Hispanic voters will play a key role.During the 2000 elections, George W. Bush received more than 35percent of the Hispanic vote, the first Republican presidentialcandidate in recent years to break the 25 percent mark.

“We’llbe trying to keep Hispanics in the Democratic column,” Richardsontold the Associated Press. “There’s beensome erosion.”


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