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Las Cruces Mayor weighs in on the legacy of Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson (left) and Ken Miyagishima (right) in 2010. The caption on the photo reads, "To Ken Miyagishima, a great mayor and old friend, Bill Richardson"
Courtesy of Ken Miyagishima
Bill Richardson (left) and Ken Miyagishima (right) in 2010. The caption on the photo reads, "To Ken Miyagishima, a great mayor and old friend, Bill Richardson"

After the Richardson Center for Global Engagement announced his passing, the former governor of New Mexico received widespread tributes, including a statement from President Joe Biden.

Mayor of Las Cruces Ken Miyagishima said that Richardson’s influence went far beyond the state.

“It’s a tough loss for New Mexico, for our country, for the world, really. He was an amazing man,” he said. “When he saw an injustice, he tried to fix it.”

Richardson, who also served as a U.S. Congressman and Ambassador to the United Nations, was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by U.S. Senators for New Mexico Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján for his work to free political prisoners abroad.

Miyagishima said that Richardson’s legacy will continue to be felt by New Mexicans for many years to come.

“The Governor was instrumental in removing gross receipts tax from groceries and medicine. [His administration] also started the Rail Runner. His vision was to have that Rail Runner run from Dever all the way to Chihuahua, Mexico,” he said. “And, you know, the spaceport was huge. He took a big risk, big gamble on that. And it’s slowly paying off, which is good. He just was a very good, decent person.”

Beyond the political influence, Miyagishima says that he will remember Richardson as an ally and a friend.

Jonny Coker is a Multimedia Journalist for KRWG Public Media. He has lived in Southern New Mexico for most of his life, growing up in the small Village of Cloudcroft, and earning a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at New Mexico State University.
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