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Outgoing governor envisions new role

as 'citizen diplomat'

By Steve Terrell

The New Mexican New Mexico Abbr. NM or N.M. or N.Mex.

A state of the southwest United States on the Mexican border. It was admitted as the 47th state in 1912.

Gov. Bill Richardson This article or section contains information about one or more candidates in an upcoming or ongoing election.
Content may change as the election approaches.
 says he looks forward "to becoming a normal person."

"I want to stay (in Santa Fe), and I'm very comfortable with becoming anonymous and insignificant," Richardson said in an interview in his office last week. When a reporter quipped, "I'll believe that when I see it," Richardson laughed. "Well, I can't do anything about the anonymous part."

But this "normal life" he spoke of is going to include giving speeches on energy and foreign policy, sitting on yet-to-be-named corporate boards, and being a "citizen diplomat" heading a center he wants to establish in Santa Fe that will specialize in negotiating with hostile nations.

Democrat Richardson will leave office at the end of the day Friday. Republican Susana Martinez will be sworn in Saturday.

Looking weary after his return from North Korea the day before, Richardson, 63, last week spoke longingly about spending more time with his wife and learning better horsemanship horsemanship: see equestrianism.

Art of training, riding, and handling horses. Good horsemanship requires that a rider control the animal's direction, gait, and speed with maximum effectiveness and minimum effort.
. He talked about touring major-league baseball stadiums and catching spring training in Arizona next week.

"I'm going to have to learn how to drive again," he said half-jokingly, noting he's done little driving in the past eight years. "I look forward to becoming a normal person. I'm not going to get involved in New Mexico New Mexico, state in the SW United States. At its northwestern corner are the so-called Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet at right angles; New Mexico is also bordered by Oklahoma (NE), Texas (E, S), and Mexico (S).  politics, the Legislature, the governor. And not going to comment on anything. I will do international and national politics. I will stay engaged in that. But you're not going to see me around the Roundhouse lobbying for anything. ... I will not do any lobbying of any kind."

Richardson said part of his income will come from giving paid speeches. "I've got several lined up," Richardson said, and he's already rented an office on Washington Avenue in downtown Santa Fe.

The most novel of his post-gubernatorial activities is what he calls the "Richardson Center for Dialogue."

Says the governor, "It's going to focus on two things. One, hostage rescues, and secondly, it's going to focus on peacemaking Peacemaking
See also Antimilitarism.

Agrippa, Menenius

Coriolanus’s witty friend; reasons with rioting mob. [Br. Lit.: Coriolanus]


percipiently urges peace with Greeks. [Gk. Lit.
 with regimes. ... we have difficulty talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
lecture, speech

rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to
, like Cuba, like North Korea, like Iran.

"It'll be here in Santa Fe," he said. "I'm going to raise private money for it -- foundation money. There will be a separate office from my personal office. We envision hiring some people. It'll take me a little time to get it started. ... There'll be a public board. I'll start right in January, hopefully break ground in February.

"I think here in Santa Fe, there's a lot of talent in foreign policy and mediation that I'll use," he said. "I've always felt Santa Fe should be a center of conflict resolution." He said the center probably will employ no more than five people.

Richardson said he foresees the center taking part in actual hostage rescues -- which is the high-profile activity that first brought Richardson to national attention in the 1990s.

"I still get calls. I'm involved in rescue operations in Cuba with this Alan Gross guy," he said, referring to an American contractor from Maryland who has been detained by the Cuban government for more than a year. He also said he's tried to help Laurie Berenson, an American has been in prison in Peru for 15 years. "And I've been trying to help the hikers in Iran," he said. "But I need a platform and some resources to do it right."

Looking back: Good times, bad times

Reflecting on his time in office, Richardson said, "My best day was my State of the State after my first year. My first year was my best year. We got so much done."

He then launched into a campaign-style laundry list laundry list A popular term for a long list of Sx, diseases, or etiologies that share something in common–eg, differential diagnosis of acute abdomen  of his legislative accomplishments: "A tax cut and collective bargaining collective bargaining, in labor relations, procedure whereby an employer or employers agree to discuss the conditions of work by bargaining with representatives of the employees, usually a labor union. , renewable-energy incentives, movie incentives. We got some great health care stuff done. We got the Rail Runner. We got the spaceport space¬∑port ¬†
An installation for sheltering, testing, maintaining, and launching spacecraft.

Richardson said at that point in his career, anything seemed possible. "The Legislature and the people were so starved for leadership, there was gridlock Gridlock

A government, business or institution's inability to function at a normal level due either to complex or conflicting procedures within the administrative framework or to impending change in the business.
. It was like an explosion of legislation and bold ideas."

But in January 2009, just weeks after President Barack Obama nominated him to become secretary of commerce, Richardson withdrew the nomination. This was because of a grand jury investigating CDR (1) See CD-R and extension.

(2) (Call Detail Reporting) See call accounting.

(3) (Common Data Rate) A standard sampling rate for digital video for 480i and 576i systems. The rate is 13.5 MHz. See ITU-R BT.
, a California firm that made about $1.5 million for handling state-transportation bonds about the same time it donated $110,000 to Richardson's political-action committees.

"My biggest regret was not becoming secretary of commerce," he said. "I withdrew, knowing that these pay-to-play allegations were baseless."

The Department of Justice decided not to prosecute anyone for the CDR investigation. But U.S. Attorney Greg Fouratt said that decision "is not to be interpreted as an exoneration The removal of a burden, charge, responsibility, duty, or blame imposed by law. The right of a party who is secondarily liable for a debt, such as a surety, to be reimbursed by the party with primary liability for payment of an obligation that should have been paid by the first party.  of any party's conduct."

As Richardson leaves office, there still are federal investigations dealing with state investments. Among the activities reportedly being investigated is the fact that Marc Correra, the son of a friend of both Richardson and former state Investment Officer Gary Bland, made millions off state investments in the form of finder's fees or "third-party marketing" fees.

Asked whether he wishes he'd kept a better watch over the investments, Richardson said, "You know I can't get into that because of the pending investigations. But just in general, I wish I had exercised more oversight over many things. We were just doing too much. I was maybe too trusting. And I'm not referring to Bland. Just in general, I appointed so many people. You know, by nature, I'm a trusting person. And, you know, maybe I should have exercised more oversight. But, you know, I'm human. I was doing so many things. You know, you trust people."

He said he hasn't spoken with Marc Correra's father, Anthony Correra, since the news broke about Marc Correra's third-party marketing fees.

Richardson added, "But we'd done nothing wrong. You know, some mistakes of oversight, but you know, it's frustrating when your image is tarnished by baseless and politically motivated allegations."

Richardson said he also was frustrated during the last election, when he became a "punching bag" for Gov.-elect Martinez and other Republicans.

"Our accomplishments weren't defended. And we had so many. So I took it, and I was frustrated. But that comes with the territory. That and some of the pay-to-play (allegations) lowered my poll numbers ... that plus a national recession.

"But I recognize that the New Mexico public wants change," he said. "They want Bill Richardson out of public life for awhile, and I accept that and I'm fine with it. I want to get out of public life, but I'm not saying I won't get back in it again."

A few hours after those words, there was a report on Fox News as well as a Korean news report that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might retire next year and Richardson would be the likely replacement.

There was no official attribution to the reports and no other media has repeated it. Added a Richardson spokesman Monday, "The governor has no plans to leave New Mexico. He is looking forward to becoming a private citizen."

Contact Steve Terrell at 986-3037 or Read his political blog at
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Publication:The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM)
Geographic Code:1U8NM
Date:Dec 28, 2010

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