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Bill Richardson on Government Reform

Democratic Governor (NM); Secretary of Commerce-Designee


Whistleblower protections, & ban corporate donations

If we as elected officials want the public trust, then we must trust our people. I believe we need an independent, bi-partisan, citizen-led ethics commission. This commission must be able to investigate, discipline, fine, or censure, not just public officials or state employees, but also contractors and lobbyists. 41 other states have such a commission. New Mexico needs one too.
Source: New Mexico 2010 State of the State Address , Jan 19, 2010

Focus on Iraq, energy reform, and restoring the Constitution

First year I’d end the war, all troops out within a year, no residual forces, a specific plan. I’d make a major effort to pass the first year universal health care. It’ll take two or three years to implement. I’d announce an energy revolution because I think this is one of the most urgent domestic and national security priorities, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I would simply say to the American people, I’m going to follow the constitution of the US. That means bringing back habeas corpus, not using torture as a tool in our foreign policy, rejoining the Geneva conventions, not eavesdropping on our own citizens, restoring ourselves as a nation that is going to respect the balance between the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branch, that we’re going to be the conscience of the world, not the world’s policemen.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate , Dec 13, 2007

Use regulated free market for food, drugs, land, & energy

As a market-oriented policy maker, I believe that the best approach is for government to set conditions and let the private sector compete for business. However, when common interests, such as the clean water or public lands, are at stake, there must be rules and standards.

This is how we operate our economy across many levels. For example, the Federal Reserve regulates the money supply. Similarly, we regulate what foods and medicines are allowed in the US marketplace through the FDA.

We might have the greatest “free market” in the world, but we are increasingly sensible and practical about the basic rules we apply in that free market. It’s time for us to learn how to use and improve existing energy markets. Why?

  1. Because our individual interests in energy use have misserved the national interest in energy independence.
  2. We need to “intervene” in the energy markets because the types of energy we have become most reliant on are also the most damaging to the atmosphere.
Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p.176-178 , Oct 26, 2007

Same-day registration to increase voter participation

Q: Don’t you think that standardizing our voting practices will increase legitimacy, and possibly even voter turnout in our elections?

A: I, as president, I would push the whole country to verified paper trails. There are close to 10 states that do this. A year ago, my state was one of those states, along with Florida and Ohio, that, because of touch-screens, there was uncertainty about the election. We have close to 50% of Americans eligible to vote voting. That is inexcusable, compared to many other nations. We need to have same-day registration. We need to have an effort to get the Republican Party to stop suppressing minority voters. We need to find ways also to depoliticize the Justice Department that tried to find those voters that were legitimately voting. And lastly, a verifiable paper trail with optical scanners is going to improve turnout, democracy, and it’s going to get a lot of young voters in the polls.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

FactCheck: 28 states have verified paper trails, not just 10

Richardson had some catching up to do. He greatly understated the number of states that have voter-verified paper trails connected to their voting machines. Richardson said, “I, as president, I would push the whole country to verified paper trails. There are close to 10 states that do this.”

There are 28 states with regulations requiring a paper record of every vote, which is viewable by the voter before the ballot is cast; 13 of those states even require mandatory manual audits of the machines.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate , Jul 23, 2007

When all minorities can vote, Democrats win

Q: What would you do to ensure that all Americans are able to cast a free and unfettered vote and that that vote be counted?

A: You know, I’m going to get very political here. When all of us can vote, Democrats win. So the other side tries to suppress the vote of minorities. They’ve done that around this country. And we have to make sure that the Voting Rights Act, that we ensure universal voting opportunities for all our people.

Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum , Jul 12, 2007

Delayed call for Gonzales to resign until failed testimony

Q: You were one of the last people on this stage to call for the resignation of Attorney General Gonzales. When asked why you were taking so long to make up your mind about this, you replied, “It’s because he’s Hispanic. I’m honest.” Is that the right way to make personnel decisions?

A: That’s how I felt. Now, what I said, too, was that I wanted to await Alberto Gonzales’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He hadn’t had a chance to fully explain 1) why he’d politicized the Justice Department; 2) why he indiscriminately fired US attorneys; and 3) why he did not act as the lawyer for the American people rather than as the lawyer to the White House. Did it affect me that he was Hispanic? Yeah, it did, and I said so. I think the American people want candor. They don’t want blow-dried candidates with perfection. I did call for his resignation. Maybe I was last, but I wanted to give him a chance to explain his position. He didn’t do it, and I called for his resignation.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

Instituted all-paper ballots for all N.M. elections

For our democracy to function, our elections must be fair, our officials must be held accountable, & our citizens must have faith in our government. In 2002, electronic voting machines lost thousands of votes. Untold numbers of New Mexican citizens were disenfranchised by the click of a button. Concerned citizens, the disabled community, and the legislature teamed up with Gov. Richardson to move New Mexico to an all-paper ballot voting system. From now on, every New Mexican voter will put pen to paper.
Source: 2006 Gubernatorial website, billrichardson2006.com, “Issues” , Nov 7, 2006

Focus on eliminating waste and fraud from public spending

I promised to examine the fiscal responsibility of every corner of state government, and the result is millions of dollars in taxpayer money saved. We’ve collected more than $30 million in back taxes to date. We’re also saving by eliminating or modifying bad state contracts, finding savings in telecommunications services and seeking out inefficiencies and bad fiscal management. We’ll never abandon our focus on eliminating waste and fraud from public spending, and governing with true fiscal accountability
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the New Mexico Legislature , Jan 20, 2004

Prohibit PAC contributions; restrict campaign spending

Source: 1996 Congressional National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1996

Supports line-item veto

Q: Should the President be allowed to veto certain items of legislation while signing spending or tax bills into law?

A: Yes.

Source: 1996 Congressional National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1996

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Government Reform.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Bill Richardson.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Bill Richardson.
Other candidates on Government Reform: Bill Richardson on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)

Former Contenders:
V.P.Al Gore
Pat Buchanan
V.P.Dick Cheney
Sen.Bob Dole
Ralph Nader
Gov.Sarah Palin

Political Thinkers:
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Milton Friedman
Arianna Huffington
Rush Limbaugh
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Ayn Rand
Secy.Robert Reich
Donald Trump
Gov.Jesse Ventura
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Page last updated: Oct 08, 2013