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Bill Richardson on Technology

Democratic Governor (NM); Secretary of Commerce-Designee


Launched Spaceport America; signed Virgin Galactic as tenant

Today, our economy is no longer dependent on one or two industries. It is broader and more diverse than ever, and for that reason we are weathering this financial crisis better than most.

We made a great step forward when we initiated the state supercomputing center. Now companies and universities are using the supercomputer to create alternative fuels, develop solar energy projects, and attract millions of dollars in venture capital.

Source: 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 20, 2009

Doesn’t believe in UFOs, but wants more info on Roswell

Q: Dennis Kucinich got a lot of attention at the last debate when he said that he had seen a UFO at Shirley MacLaine’s home. She says: “If they had asked Governor Bill Richardson, he would have [said he saw a UFO], too, because he is the governor of UFOs in New Mexico.” In a 2004 book, you said the government should disclose everything it knows about the 1947 crash in Roswell, New Mexico. What don’t the American people know about the crash in Roswell?

A: Well, first of all, I don’t believe in UFOs. Secondly, I don’t think there were any potential sightings. But the problem here is that the federal government, instead of releasing all the information when they had it, never did it. So it causes enormous suspicion. Now, look. Roswell has a UFO museum. They have a tradition there. You know, admittedly, sometimes I pump it up for tourism reasons because that’s my job as the governor. I have to promote jobs and tourism.

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 “Choosing the President” interviews , Nov 11, 2007

Nurture & invest in science and technology

[As one of my goals of my “2020 Vision” energy & climate policy, we should] nurture & invest in science and technology. Picture a world in which America is the main engine of global innovation and ingenuity. We have the world’s best-trained intellectual and academic base. At America’s colleges, at its national laboratories, and among its most vigorous entrepreneurial and investment communities, there is a vital new enthusiasm and commitment to meeting our energy and climate challenges.

Actually, that is a picture of the world in 2007. Luckily we ramped up investment in research & technology and kept our leadership position, which seemed threatened by the politics of energy & climate change during the dark days of the early 2000s.

  1. Make a one-time investment in a new Energy & Climate Investment Trust Fund
  2. Fund ongoing energy & climate research at universities and agencies.
Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p.228 , Oct 26, 2007

Subsidize inter-city rail--it works in New Mexico

I have instituted commuter train in the central Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico, connecting cities north and south of Albuquerque and now headed toward a connection between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

The New Mexico Railrunner, which runs on conventional tracks that we bought from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, has been a success. It is subsidized, as all forms of public transportation must be, but it is attracting transit-oriented development nearby as well as a large number of passengers who welcome the opportunity to commute by rail instead of by individual car. My investment in “park-n-ride” busses between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, while we work on an efficient rail connection, has been standing-room only. People who have said westerners won’t use public transportation are nuts.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p. 98 , Oct 26, 2007

Partner on rail & smart growth; no privatized toll roads

Q: There is a push to sell toll roads to private companies. Can we really outsource it?

A: No, privatization is not the answer. Here’s one way that I believe we can finance our infrastructure. I would start out by the Congress eliminating the $23 billion they put forth for congressional earmarks. I would also ensure that corporate welfare--$73 billion worth--is eliminated as a way to reduce the debt. But we have to invest in our power grid. We have to invest in our bridges, in our highways. I was able to do that as governor of New Mexico--$1.5 billion worth of highway construction to repair our bridges, to repair our highways, to bring commuter rail--we have to start thinking about new infrastructure in America. We have to start thinking about making sure we have strong land use policies, smart growth. The government should be a partner with the states and localities in building commuter rail, light rail, new forms of transportation besides repairing our highways and our bridges.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum , Aug 7, 2007

250 science & math academies to limit technical outsourcing

Q: A lot of Americans are concerned with outsourcing of US jobs. What’s your solution?

RICHARDSON: Outsourcing is a problem. Most outsourcing jobs are technical. We need to upgrade our science and math standards in our school. It’s education. And I would create 250 science and math academies to deal with that gap. I would have an industrial policy where we invest in high-growth industries, in health industries, in high-tech, in renewable energy, to keep those jobs here.

Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University , Jun 28, 2007

Pushed R&D tax credit--3 year tax holiday for high tech

In 2003, we were eager to attract high-tech business. The state had suffered one classic missed opportunity. In 1975, a couple of guys named Gates and Allen developed a language for the first personal computer, which happened to have been invented by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems of Albuquerque. By 1978, Albuquerque-based Microsoft had 13 employees and sales of more than $1 million. Then it was gone. Whatever the reason, Microsoft decamped and became the catalytic agent that helped transform the entire Seattle area. I wanted to do everything I could to make sure that a future big fish did not slip through our nets.

That is why I pushed for and got through the legislature in 2005 a research-and-development tax credit. It is a three-year tax holiday for new technology companies. They are laying capital on the line, and we want to invest in their success. If they qualify, they can also take advantage of the tax credit we instituted for companies that provide high-wage jobs.

Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p.306-307 , Nov 3, 2005

Allocate capital to education and water projects

Let’s replace the current political formula with a new formula that we develop together, a strategic approach that maximizes our capital spending to ensure that critical projects get built, with fully one-half to public schools, higher education and water projects. The other half should go to local projects and state-owned facilities, with some ground rules so projects actually get built. I propose to use funds from non-recurring general fund sources for the smaller projects.
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the New Mexico Legislature , Jan 20, 2004

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Page last updated: Mar 09, 2014