Obama selects Richardson as Commerce head
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson named during news conference.
CHICAGO (CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama selected New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson for the position of secretary of Commerce in a news conference Wednesday morning.
"With his breadth and depth of experience in public life, Gov. Richardson is uniquely suited for this role as a leading economic diplomat for America," Obama said.
Richardson, one of the best-known Hispanics in the Democratic Party, also served as energy secretary during the Clinton administration, as well as ambassador to the United Nations.
Referencing the country's deteriorating economic situation, Obama said that it is "time to not just address our immediate economic threats, but to start laying the groundwork for long-term economic prosperity."
"As governor of New Mexico, Bill showed how government can act as a partner to support our businesses, helping create 80,000 new jobs," Obama noted. "And under his leadership, New Mexico saw the lowest unemployment rate in decades.
Richardson, 61, is the third former presidential rival to join Obama's team. Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama's pick for secretary of state, also competed for the Democratic presidential nomination.