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Democrat's Hat in N.M. Ring

January 13, 2002|From Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. — Former Clinton administration Energy Secretary Bill Richardson entered the gubernatorial race Saturday, pledging to end political gridlock caused by eight years of conflict between a Republican governor and Democrat-led Legislature.

Richardson, 54, kicked off his campaign for the Democratic nomination in Santa Fe, his political base when he was in Congress from 1983 to 1997.

"All too often the answer from Santa Fe has been gridlock, bickering and no to initiatives that help people. That way has failed," Richardson said in the state capital.

New Mexico has the nation's highest rates of poverty and uninsured residents, and is near the bottom in state rankings of per capita earnings and average teacher salaries.

Richardson said education would be his priority, including raising teacher salaries and lowering class sizes.

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